RENTON, Wash. – For a week, Seattle defensive end Raheem Brock was looking for payback.
Brock felt his hand was missing a second Super Bowl ring, taken away in the final minutes last year by the New Orleans Saints in winning their first championship with a victory over Indianapolis.
So Brock was one of the more hyped Seahawks last week, getting a shot at the defending champs in the opening round of the NFC playoffs.
“If you all watch the game the last time we played them I was playing a little (angry) against them,” Brock said last week about the first meeting with the Saints in the regular season. “It will be fun, it will be nice to take them out of the playoffs.”
Brock was right. Seattle upset the Saints 41-36 last Saturday, knocking the defending champs from the postseason. Brock actually had a hand in dismissing the Saints. The veteran finished with four total tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.
“I definitely wanted to get them back. I wanted to get them back during the season. To take them out of the playoffs, that was a great feeling,” Brock said earlier this week. “I know I was talking about it on Twitter a lot. … The whole game was great just how we won that game, us being underdogs, everybody is against us. It was great.”
This playoff run is quite a bit different from what Brock experienced in the past. This season, he’s on the first division champs in league history with a losing record. They are 10-point underdogs for the second straight week heading into the NFC divisional playoff at Chicago on Sunday.
But just being in the postseason, that’s all too familiar to Brock who has yet to miss the playoffs in his career.
That would be 9 for 9 for Brock, who will play his 18th postseason game on Sunday against the Bears.
Brock is coming off one of the best regular seasons of his career after leaving Indianapolis after last season and being cut by Tennessee at the end of training camp.
Officially, he didn’t start a single game this season – the first time in his career – but has become an invaluable pass rusher for the Seahawks opposite emerging defensive end Chris Clemons.
“Both of those guys bring an intensity that if you’re not right getting off the ball on the line of scrimmage, they’re going to get you,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “Particularly by design we wanted speed on the edge. … They’ve had a very good year.”
When Brock arrived in Seattle it proved a difficult transition. He was on the opposite side of the country from his family, playing away from the East Coast for the first time in his career.
“I had to go out and prove myself all over again, so it was kind of like my rookie year in Indianapolis all over again,” Brock said. “I don’t mind a challenge, I just had to go out there and prove myself and work my way up to get more reps, and now I’m getting a lot of reps.”
Brock’s closing charge to a successful season began in Week 12 against Carolina as he finished with six sacks in Seattle’s final five regular season games. He had 21/2 sacks and a forced fumble in Seattle’s season finale win over St. Louis that wrapped up the division title, then followed up with another strong effort against the Saints.
Combined with Clemons, the duo finished third in the league during the regular season for sacks by defensive end tandems with a combined 20. Brock is doing it playing defensive end almost exclusively for the first time in his career after playing some end, but mostly tackle, in Indianapolis.
“One of the reasons why I left Indy was to get the opportunity like I have now, to get after the quarterback like I have been playing at the end,” Brock said. “I’m just happy to be able to take advantage of that.”
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