How Cliff Avril made quick work of Rams o-line to set new career-high in sacks

After being quite quiet for the last three weeks, Cliff Avril sacked Jared Goff 1.5 times in the Seattle Seahawks’ 24-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday. Avril now has 11.5 sacks on the season, which puts him just past his personal record of 11 sacks which he set in 2011 with the Detroit Lions. In this game, both of Avril’s sacks came against Rams right tackle (79) Rob Havenstein where he used his speed rush to get into the backfield.

For his first half-sack that he split with Frank Clark, Avril exploded off the line of scrimmage before Havenstein even reacted to the snap. The right tackle could not set deep enough which allows Avril to rip right past him using his inside arm. Avril then turns the corner and finishes Goff in the backfield bringing up fourth down and a crucial stop halfway through the second quarter.

His second sack was very similar to his first with a slight variation. This time Havenstein and Avril were even to start, but Avril again used his speed to burst past right past. Havenstein attempts to extend his arms to wash Avril outside of his intended path, but Avril doesn’t get flustered and then resets his inside arm underneath the right tackle. To finish the sack, Avril slaps the ball out of Jared Goff’s hands with precision almost creating a turnover for his team.

Earlier this week, I looked at how Goff performed versus the Atlanta Falcons and laid out the “Guide to beating the Rams.” There were plenty of parallels between these two games as both defenses used on the defensive line and mainly rushed with four-man rush to generate pressure on Goff. Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley even used the same speed rush that Cliff used to defeat Havenstein.

Cliff Avril has never been the Pro Bowl even though he has been an excellent edge rusher his entire career. Let’s hope he makes it this year with his latest excellent season.

For the Seahawks, this was a great front-seven performance overall. They were stout in run defense limiting Todd Gurley to just 38 yards (2.7 ypc), while the rest of the defensive line collected another 3.5 sacks totaling five on the night.

With a win tonight, Seattle clinched the NFC West and will play the Arizona Cardinals next Saturday. The Detroit Lions play the New York Giants this weekend and if they lose, the Seahawks will regain the 2-seed, taking the lead back of the coveted bye week in the NFC playoffs with two games left to go.

Samuel Gold

<p>Sam founded NFL Breakdowns after working his way through the journalist farm system and is enjoying life in the big league. Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., Sam didn’t choose the Redskins, the Redskins chose him. Out of a love for the game and an insatiable curiosity to determine why his beloved team was underperforming, Sam turned to studying film in NFL Breakdowns.</p>