Through three quarters of the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Seattle Seahawks were trailing, down 17-14 at home, and looking at the prospect of dropping a game in which they were heavily favored. Fans at the stadium were already starting to boo the offense, as an offensive holding call on the last play of the third quarter would force the Hawks to start the final quarter facing first and twenty.
Even fans were getting restless, as the team had thrown exactly zero passes in the direction of double covered Tyler Lockett. However, to open the fourth the Hawks went Lockett’s way, and then handed responsibility off to Quinton Jefferson, who happily took responsibility.
QJeff had already had a quality game. Over the course of the first three quarters he recorded a sack,
teamed up with Mychal Kendricks for one tackle behind the line of scrimmage,
and then teamed up with Bobby Wagner for a second stop for a loss.
That led to the highlight pass from Russell Wilson to Lockett that has been shown all over, but since it’s hard to get too much Tyler Lockett, here it is again. This catch put the Seahawks ahead, and then the point after ended up being the margin of difference in the game.
Once Seattle had the lead, they kicked the ball back to the Bengals, who came out throwing, looking to march down the field like they had for much of the first three quarters. QJeff stepped right in and showed that the Bengals plans didn’t matter, because he had other ideas about how the rest of the game would go.
After that Cincinnati apparently decided that blocking Jefferson might be appropriate, but even that didn’t phase him. At one point prior to being drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Jefferson was out of football and working at a Best Buy warehouse, so if there’s anyone on the roster who appreciates the opportunity that they have, it’s likely him. That said, having worked in a warehouse, Jefferson probably doesn’t see getting blocked as all that big a deal, because that wont’ necessarily stop him from breaking up passes.
That second batted pass was huge, as it put the Bengals into a fourth down situation in their own territory with just minutes remaining, a situation which led them to choose to punt. Once Seattle had the ball back, they ran almost all of the time off the clock, and all but closed out the game.
In the process, Jefferson showed that while he might be sharing snaps with Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah on the defensive line over the course of the 2019 season, just like them he’s a free agent after the season. Thus, with defensive linemen who can rush the passer being paid handsomely around the NFL, if Jefferson continues to play at a level similar to how he played on Sunday, he might be one of those free agents who lands a surprisingly large deal for those who are unfamiliar with his work.