Chris Clemons impresses in return from ACL surgery
Seattle defensive end shows plenty of the burst that made him a dangerous pass rusher last season.
Seattle Times staff reporters
Defensive end Chris Clemons said he didn’t feel any rust in his first game Sunday after returning from ACL surgery in January. And he also didn’t show any.
Playing primarily on third down and in passing situations, Clemons had one hit on Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne and also had one play where he forced Henne to get rid of the ball quickly for an incompletion.
“That was the biggest thing, just getting into the groove of it,” Clemons said.
Clemons’ return comes just one week after fellow defensive end Cliff Avril made his season debut against the 49ers. Seattle’s pass rush, the area coach Pete Carroll most wanted to upgrade in the offseason, is nearing full strength.
Linebacker Bruce Irvin, who will be used in pass-rush situations, will serve the final game of a four-game suspension Sunday against Houston.
For his part, Clemons showed much of the burst off the edge that made him a dangerous pass-rusher a season ago, when he led Seattle with 11.5 sacks. On one play, he sped around Jacksonville tight end Allen Reisner almost untouched and delivered a hit on Henne from behind.
Clemons said he isn’t sure if his role would be expanded next week against Houston.
Wagner perfects the tip drill
Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner turned in the most spectacular defensive play of the day when he dived to intercept a Henne pass that had initially bounced off the head of Jaguars center Brad Meester.
Wagner tipped the ball himself before catching it and said he was trying to tip the ball out of the hands of Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew, as well as to himself.
“But I over-tipped it and just dove for it,” he said. “... I dropped one last week so I had to make up for it.”
Jackson back in comfort zone
Seattle’s big, early lead allowed the Seahawks to turn their offense over for much of the second half to a familiar face — Tarvaris Jackson. The team’s starting quarterback in 2011, Jackson got on the field in a regular-season game for the first time since his last game with the Seahawks that season — he did not play while spending last year with Buffalo.
Jackson looked as sharp as ever, completing 7 of 8 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown while also running 5 yards for another score.
“That was an obvious demonstration that he’s a big asset for us,” Carroll said.
Jackson said he was just glad to get back on the field again.
“I feel like everything that I went through as far as my career and moving back and forth as far as here and Buffalo last year, I feel like I’ve figured things out a little bit as far as my mindset and just having fun,” he said. “That was my mindset — to just have fun, because you never know what might happen. Work hard, study hard and let things fall where they may.”
Wilson spins them around
Russell Wilson’s second touchdown pass of the day, a 4-yard pass to tight end Zach Miller in the second quarter, came on a play in which Wilson initially looked to his left, then did a 360-degree spin away from a defender to throw to Miller in the right corner of the end zone.
As might be expected, Wilson said the play wasn’t by design, saying “stuff happens.” He said he had a thought to throw the ball to Marshawn Lynch, but Lynch was covered “so I was just trying to find a way to make a play and just slow that guy (the oncoming rusher) down because I knew that was really the only place I could go. So I just kind of pumped it and spun out of it, and Zach was wide open.”
Seattle suffered two injuries of note in the game, as receiver Jermaine Kearse left with a sprained ankle, and defensive end Red Bryant left with back spasms.
Carroll said Bryant’s back spasms came “just out of nowhere. It just kind of popped up and I don’t know what that means, but he’s pretty uncomfortable right now.”
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta.