JAKE AND STACY

Heaps: What went into Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap’s 3-sack game

Dec 22, 2021, 3:16 PM
Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap...
Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams is sacked by Carlos Dunlap of the Seattle Seahawks. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

For the third year in a row, the Seahawks have had extended issues when it comes to sacking opposing quarterbacks.

Pete Carroll Show: Why Seahawks QB Russell Wilson isn’t running as much

The team finished second-to-last in sacks in 2019, and while the Hawks finished seventh in 2020, they had arguably the worst pass rush in the league in the first half of the season. A big reason that turned around, however, was a midseason trade for veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap.

Dunlap tallied five sacks in just eight games for the Seahawks in 2020, and the pass rush and defense as a whole came alive in the second half of the year. Dunlap was initially cut by the Seahawks this offseason due to a high cap hit, but he re-signed with the team on a two-year deal.

This season has been a different story for Dunlap, however. Entering Tuesday’s game against the Rams, Dunlap had just 1.5 sacks and was only playing 37% of Seattle’s defensive snaps.

Dunlap still didn’t play a ton of snaps against the Rams in Seattle’s 20-10 loss, but he did make a massive impact, taking down Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford three times for sacks to raise his season total to 4.5 through 14 games.

Why did Dunlap have that kind of breakout game? Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps shared his thoughts Wednesday.

“Just simply more opportunities. I mean, this was something I talked about last week going into this matchup,” Heaps told his 710 ESPN Seattle Jake and Stacy co-host Stacy Rost. “You knew that the Rams were going to be more of a pass-heavy attack, that they were going to be very comfortable with just dropping back and let Matthew Stafford just throw it all over the yard. And that requires you to take advantage of that and put your best pass rushers on the field.”

Last week: Heaps says it’s time for Seahawks to use Carlos Dunlap more

Stafford had 29 passing attempts, was sacked four times and rushed on scrambles three times Tuesday night.

So why did Dunlap get used more in this game than in previous weeks this season?

“Injuries may have played a factor, the COVID list (for both teams) may have played a factor in terms of Carlos Dunlap getting more opportunities,” Heaps said. “He didn’t play over 50%, he only played 21 snaps … but (he had) more opportunities and (Seattle) actually let him rush the passer rather than dropping back in coverage, and he took advantage of it.”

Heaps also noted that the Rams were without starting right tackle Rob Havenstein, who was on the reserve/COVID list, allowing Dunlap a matchup advantage.

Regardless, Heaps thinks Dunlap needs to play more after his breakout performance.

“That’s what Carlos Dunlap is more than capable of doing, so it was great to see him have that success, great to see him have the three sacks, and it just goes to point that I think Carlos Dunlap deserves more opportunity and deserves more run,” Heaps later added. “It has been frustrating to watch as the season has progressed to not have him play his role in which he was brought here to do one season ago. That was always something that was perplexing to me.”

Listen to the conversation from the second hour of Wednesday’s edition of Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

Rost: It’s been that kind of year — Seahawks loss sees many of same issues

Jake & Stacy Show

Jake and Stacy

Seahawks Mario Addison...
Brandon Gustafson

Seahawks Free Agency: Heaps on OLs, DLs who could help in 2022

If the Seahawks are still looking to boost the trenches, Jake Heaps says there are a few free agents who could be worth adding.
1 day ago
Mariners George Kirby...
Stacy Rost

Mariners RHP George Kirby breaks down offseason focus, pitcher he wants to be

Mariners rookie starter George Kirby joined Jake & Stacy and broke down what he worked on this offseason and what his goal on the mound is.
1 day ago
Seahawks Drew Lock...
Brent Stecker

Next phase of Seahawks offseason most important for QB Drew Lock

"Drew Lock needs this time more than any other Seahawk," Jake Heaps says of Phase 3 of OTAs for the new Seahawks quarterback.
2 days ago
Seahawks Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll...
Brandon Gustafson

Do Seahawks, Carroll have Week 1 edge against Broncos, Wilson?

Does the Seahawks head coach have the competitive advantage over his former quarterback when they meet as opponents for the first time?
3 days ago
Seahawks Garnder Minshew...
Stacy Rost

Jake & Stacy: Who’s behind Door No. 3 at quarterback for Seahawks?

If the Seahawks don't enter 2022 with Drew Lock or Geno Smith starting at QB, who could it be? Jake & Stacy break down the potential options.
4 days ago
Seahawks Boye Mafe...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: How the Seahawks should use Boye Mafe in his rookie season

The Seahawks have a promising young pass rusher in second-round pick Boye Mafe and Jake Heaps has an idea for how he should be utilized.
5 days ago
Heaps: What went into Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap’s 3-sack game