The Seattle Seahawks went on the road to defeat the Houston Texans 33-13 on Sunday, December 12, to put the team at 5-8 on the season. This turned out to be a game to remember for the offensive line and offensive tackle Jake Curhan, who made his first career NFL start in Week 14.
With starter Brandon Shell out, Curhan drew the start at offensive tackle. He most recently played 60 significant snaps against the San Francisco 49ers on December 5, however, he played at the left guard position in place of the injured Kyle Fuller.
“It’s harder for [Curhan] to play guard, he’s a tackle,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said in his Week 13 postgame press conference.
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One week later, Carroll openly ackowledged during his December 13 press conference that, “A move back to tackle helped him play better. Jake has been really impressive throughout because he really kind of gets the game. He’s just a good, savvy football player.”
The offensive line is an area that needs improvement during the 2021 campaign for the Seahawks. According to Team Rankings, Russell Wilson is tied as the 13th-most sacked quarterback in the league, despite missing three contests due to injury.
Through Week 14, Wilson also holds the third-lowest Pro Football Focus offensive grade (78.3) of his career after being at 90.5 in 2020. Now in his 10th season, Wilson has always had a below-average offensive line, however this year it seems to be affecting the 33-year-old more than in the past.
From Undrafted Free Agent to Starting Offensive Tackle
Jake Curhan attended the University of California in 2016 to play right tackle, where he redshirted his first year.
During his first season, he started in all 12 games on offense. In his sophomore and junior seasons, he started in all 13 games for the Golden Bears. In 2019, he earned an All-Pac-12 selection and was named the school’s Most Valuable Offensive Lineman. After a shortened 2020 season, Curhan declared for the NFL draft but later went undrafted.
The 6-foot-6, 316-pound Curhan signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent on May 13, 2021. On August 31, he made the initial 53-man roster.
“I felt a whole lot more relaxed,” Curhan told reporters after receiving the news.
“When I first got here, they started me out at guard, which is a position I haven’t played a lot of and I think I was improving a lot really rapidly.”
This assessment came full circle since Curhan was inserted at guard during Seattle’s Week 13 matchup against the 49ers.
Improvement on the Homefront(line)
Curhan stepped up for the Seahawks in Week 14 against the Houston Texans, playing a career-high 61 total snaps.
“There were a couple players in there that he didn’t control real well, but overall he played really well,” Carroll said in his postgame press conference on December 12. “We ran his way a lot and Jake’s a good prospect. I was really proud of what he did, he pulled it off today.”
The new-look offensive line with Curhan at tackle protected their quarterback, not allowing a sack for the entire game against the Texans, as well as only five tackles for loss, according to ESPN.
There’s no word yet on the availability of Shell, so it should be Curhan stepping up once again in the Seahawks tilt against the Los Angeles Rams on December 19. According to Pro Football Focus, the Rams boast the NFL’s number one ranked defense, so they will be giving this new offensive line a true test of their strength.