If you read anything about Bruce Irvin on this site or anywhere else throughout the first three games of the NFL Preseason, you would know that Seattle’s first-round pick had failed to appear in the box score for any game. No tackles. No sacks. No impact plays. He did hit Peyton Manning once.
Fans were already calling him a bust.
What those fans didn’t see in those three games, and what culminated in last night’s win over Oakland, was Irvin improved in each game. In the opener against Tennessee, he was overshadowed by Darius Reynaud’s coming out party and looked ineffective. Couldn’t get off his blocks and couldn’t apply any sort of pressure.
Week 2 against Denver was a little better. Irvin started to show a new bull-rush – the move he used to get to Manning. In Week 3, he was able to apply consistent pressure against the Chiefs. Again, no stats to show for it, but he improved from one game to the next.
“I just feel like I’m comfortable now. Those first couple of games, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “Those were my first NFL games — it was different. But I settled in the past two weeks and I just kept busting my butt and it paid off for me.”
Last night against the Raiders, Irvin forced a fumble during the first quarter on a Oakland punt return as a gunner on the play. His first entry in to the stat sheet. Later, he recorded another tackle.
Then the second half came, and Irvin wreaked havoc from both sides of the line. He used an inside move on Raiders right tackle Kevin Halsam to bring down Terrelle Pryor splitting credit on the play with cornerback Byron Maxwell. Irvin compared the sack to a life-changing moment.
“It felt like I had a newborn baby, man, I swear,” he said. “It felt good.”
A few plays later, Irvin beat Haslam again, but couldn’t bring down Pryor. Then Irvin lined up on the left side and hit Pryor as he was throwing to force an incompletion.
In the fourth quarter, with Oakland backed up near their own end-zone, Pryor rolled out to pass, but Irvin chased him down for his first clean sack at the 5-yard line.
Irvin finished the game with 4 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 3 QB hits. Not a bad way to for Irvin and the Seahawks to end an undefeated Preseason.