Prior to the arrival of Carlos Dunlap in a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals last month, the Seattle Seahawks had managed just 12 sacks in total through the first seven games of the season.
Since Dunlap’s acquisition, the Seahawks have 13 sacks in their last three games alone with Dunlap in the lineup.
“Yeah, well let me state the obvious. The obvious is that he has had an impact,” head coach Pete Carroll said on Tuesday. “He knocks the pile back, knocks the tackle back in and just creates some lanes for other guys so he’s contributing to other guys’ rush as well. We’ve just taken a step forward with the way we’re doing things and it’s helped our guys.”
Dunlap has already racked up 3.5 sacks of his own and leads all defensive linemen on the team in sacks, trailing only the 5.5 sacks of safety Jamal Adams. The Seahawks have also put together their best two defensive performances of the season the last two games against the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals as Dunlap has served as a catalyst for the improved effort.
Getting Adams back healthy after a three-game absence due to a groin injury helps as well. As does Rasheem Green returning to the rotation after missing six games due to a stinger also bolstered the team’s depth and versatility up front. But it’s tough to look anywhere but to Dunlap’s presence as a turning point for the group.
Leading by seven in the closing minutes on Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals, Dunlap beat tackle Kelvin Beachum for a sack of Kyler Murray on fourth down to seal the win. Seattle was in the bottom quarter of the league in sack output through the first eight weeks of the year. They’re now tied for 11th with 25 sacks with the Cardinals and New York Giants.
“They said I was coming here to save a rush but I see we’ve been getting guys healthy and all these guys are getting sacks. It’s not like I got the whole ,” Dunlap said after the game Thursday night.
“You know, this team is is very exciting. I’m happy to be a part of that I can’t tell you. You know more ways than none I can’t go into much detail but I say, it’s super surreal, it’s refreshing. I feel lighter, rejuvenated.”
That enthusiasm has been infectious for the Seahawks as well.
“He’s having the time of his life,” Carroll said. “He is having a blast. He’s been upbeat and spirited and having fun with it and more than willing to do whatever, the work and getting out to practice and getting reps. I mean, all of it. He’s practicing really well. Got a really pleasant personality that’s fun. He’s having a good time so if you haven’t, if you guys haven’t been around him you know, when you get around him, you’ll see. He brings a good spirit to it and his attitude is excellent because he’s having so much fun. It’s different than what he’s been around.”