On Wednesday, the Seattle Seahawks traded defensive end Michael Bennett and a 2018 seventh-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a 2018 fifth-rounder and wide receiver Marcus Johnson.
Bennett was signed by Seattle as an undrafted free agent back in 2009, made the 53-man roster, but was cut early in the season to make room for offensive lineman Kyle Williams. After four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bennett reunited with the Seahawks as a free agent in 2013, as Seattle looked to bolster its pass rush after it let them down in critical late-game situations throughout 2012. Five memorable seasons later, it’s come to an end.
Bennett was an integral member of Seattle’s historically dominant Super Bowl-winning defense, and to see him (and likely several others) part this team is something that may be necessary from a business standpoint, but still hurts to see as a fan. As Bennett heads east to the current Super Bowl champs, let’s look back on some of the plays that made #72 an absolute treat to watch.
#5 - The first sack
The speed and power of Bennett proved to be too much for San Francisco 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis to handle. Colin Kaepernick didn’t even get the chance to scramble left and escape from the pocket, as Bennett dove for Kaep’s ankles and brought him down. This was the first of Bennett’s 42.5 career sacks (playoffs included) in Seattle.
#4 - Time to gyrate
Seattle’s 23-0 shutout of the New York Giants was best known for Eli Manning throwing five interceptions, giving him eight in just two games against the Legion of Boom, but the pass rush also sacked Eli thrice. Bennett had one of those sacks, utterly humiliating Justin Pugh before stripping Manning of the ball. The Giants would recover the fumble, one of the few things that went right for them.
And it was on December 15th, 2013 that Michael Bennett Sexy Time was born.
#3 - He’s broken him in half!
Let’s take a detour away from his sacks and highlight one of his finest moments in run defense. If he’s in the backfield and within arm’s reach of a running back, then the play is as good as over. Todd Gurley found out the hard way in 2016, as Bennett rocked his world. The tackle -- which injured Bennett but not seriously enough for him to miss the next game — may have been violent, but check out how he discards Tyler Higbee right into the Puget Sound.
#2 - The Cliff and Moses Show
When Michael Bennett strip-sacked Colin Kaepernick in the 2013 NFC Championship Game, not only did the 49ers recover, Kaepernick threw an outrageous touchdown to Anquan Boldin on the very next play.
Cliff Avril got his chance to jar the ball loose from Kaep, and this time it was Bennett who was ready for the scoop. Unfortunately, not only did he not score, the Seahawks offense totally melted down and managed 0 points out of this. It’s still one of those moments that demonstrated awesomeness of watching Avril and Bennett in tandem. Speaking of which...
#1 - Mosesquake
December 2nd, 2013. It’s the 10-1 Seahawks and the 9-2 New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. On paper, it was one of the highest quality matchups in terms of W-L record in the history of MNF. The actual game was a laugher, and still stands to date as one of the most outstanding team performances the Seahawks have ever managed.
While the Avril strip-sack —-> Bennett touchdown failed to materialize on that unforgettable night against the 49ers, Drew Brees wouldn’t be so fortunate. With the help of great downfield blocking by Jeremy Lane, Bennett stormed his way into the end zone to make it 10-0 Seahawks in the opening quarter, and the shellshocked Saints never even got close to getting themselves back into the contest.
This remains the only touchdown of Bennett’s career, and it caused a minor earthquake at CenturyLink Field, so instead of Beastquake, we got Mosesquake.
Thanks for everything, Michael Bennett. It’s been a tremendous ride.