Leonard Williams Blows Through Line, Avoids Penalty for 1st Seahawks Sack [VIDEO]

Seahawks DT Leonrad Williams who got his first sack with the team in Week 10 against the Commanders.

Getty Seahawks DT Leonard Williams

When the Seattle Seahawks traded for defensive tackle Leonard Williams, they surely envisioned him dominating offensive linemen and getting in opposing quarterbacks’ faces. In the Seahawks Week 10 showdown with the Washington Commanders, that is exactly what he did to pick up his first sack in a Seattle jersey.

Leonard Williams Sacked Sam Howell in the Seahawks Week 10 Game

The Seattle defense, including NFL trade deadline acquisition Leonard Williams, didn’t do much in Week 9 during a 37-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. So, Williams came into the Seahawks Week 10 tilt with the Commanders looking to make his first mark on his new team’s 2023 season.

With 8:30 left in the second quarter and the Commanders up 9-6, Washington and quarterback Sam Howell had a big 3rd-down on their own 30. When the QB dropped back to pass, though, he soon saw a 6-foot-5, 300-pound freight train coming up the middle.

On the play, broadcast on FOX and shared by X user @newera_72, Williams lined up on the outside shoulder of left guard Chris Paul in a three-man front and rushed across his face, up the middle. As the big DT blew past Paul, Williams careened into center Tyler Larsen, knocking him on his behind.

Williams then wrapped up Howell and, in a smart football move, avoided a roughing the passer penalty by letting up at the end of the play instead of throwing the QB to the ground.

This was an excellent play in a big spot by Williams, which showed just what Pete Carroll and John Schneider were thinking when they brought him in. Washington had to punt following the Williams sack, and the game stayed within a field goal.

Williams can add a pass-rushing dynamic to the Seahawks defense

Seattle brought Williams in to help bolster the run defense. Heading into the Seahawks’ Week 10 game against the Commanders, the team had allowed the 16th-most rushing yards in the league (976) and ranked 21st in the PFF run defense grades with a 63.3 mark.

The reputation that preceded Williams is that of a run-stuffer, and that reputation is well-deserved.

With the New York Jets and New York Giants, he’s been a top-25 run defender in PFF’s defensive line grades in five of his eight full NFL seasons and in the top 13 three times. In 2020, he was the fifth-highest-graded run defender in the entire league with an 82.6.

At times, though, he’s been an excellent pass rusher as well.

In his Pro Bowl season of 2020, Williams racked up 11.5 sacks, good for seventh in the NFL and second among DTs to Aaron Donald. He also has seasons of 7.0, 5.0, and 6.5 sacks. Williams also has four seasons of double-digit QB knockdowns and six seasons of double-digit QB sacks.

Getting pressure up the middle for the Seahawks down the home stretch this season would be huge. As Seattle fans are well aware, the team doesn’t have a dominant pass rusher on the outside. Ahead of the Seahawks Week 10 Commanders game, outside linebacker Boye Mafe (6.0 sacks) is the closest thing to that, but Carroll is getting sacks from all over the defense, just not from defensive tackles. Myles Adams is the only DT with a QB takedown this season.

If Williams can find his somewhat dormant pass-rushing chops after picking up his first sack in a Seattle jersey, the defense has a chance to take a leap to the next level as the team fights for a playoff spot in the back half of the season.

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