During the 2018 season, defensive end Frank Clark was the unquestioned leader of the pass rush for the Seattle Seahawks, recording 13 sacks and 27 quarterback hits on his way to earning a franchise tag designation. That franchise tag designation led to the contract stalemate the eventually ended with Clark being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for draft picks, while Seattle was left with a lot of question marks in the pass rush department.
The team used a first round pick on defensive end L.J. Collier, but he was known more as a run stopper and less likely to be a pass rushing force coming out of TCU. That is proving to be the case, as he has yet to record a sack, quarterback hit or even a pressure on the 94 defensive snaps he has played so far as a rookie. In addition to Collier, during the offseason the team also added former Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who was coming off significant shoulder surgery, and whose play early in the season showed a player who was not yet back up to speed and back to full strength.
It was a month ago Thursday that I looked at Ansah’s performance after the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and pointed out that fans may want to stop hoping for a revival from Ansah. Then came a key matchup against the then division leading San Francisco 49ers in which Ansah lost snaps to Shaquem Griffin, who had barely played any defensive snaps since the Week 1 2018 debacle in Denver and the bye week.
Now, I’m not sure what Ansah had to eat during the bye week, but whatever it is, I want him to share it with the rest of the defensive line. After a very lackluster first ten games of the season, Ziggy has been a quarterback destruction device against the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings the past two games.
Through Week 10, Ziggy Ansah had 3 QB hits on 218 snaps.— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) December 5, 2019
In the last two games Ansah has 5 QB hits on 63 defensive snaps.
Whether that torrid pace of getting after the quarterback will continue, the simple fact is that Ziggy’s shown there’s at least still something in the tank. Interestingly, the pressure he put on Carson Wentz against in Week 12 when facing the Eagles came while facing off against the second oldest offensive lineman in the NFL, Jason Peters, and coincidentally, in Week 14 he’ll be lining up across from Andrew Whitworth, the oldest offensive lineman in the NFL, while going after Jared Goff.
Hopefully Ansah is back to full speed and ready to continue to rush the passer over the remaining four regular season games and into the postseason. With Jadeveon Clowney playing through injury, and Quinton Jefferson having recently returned from an oblique strain, the Hawks pass rush is as good as it has been all season. Which means that if Ziggy is a fraction of the force he has been over the past two games, the pass rush could be coming together as Quandre Diggs helps put things on lockdown in the secondary.