Nobody knew what to expect from Jadeveon Clowney on Monday night. Heck, I’m not sure Clowney himself was certain how he’d fare against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Seahawks star pass rusher is battling through a core injury that Pete Carroll described as “sports hernia-related.” He did so admirably in Seattle’s primetime, 37-30, win over the Vikings, playing 43 snaps (78%) with three tackles, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit, two pressures and a forced fumble.
Clowney’s 80.6 Pro Football Focus grade was the second-best of any Seahawks defender.
“You feel it, but you try not to pay no attention (to it),” he said of the injury. “You just keep playing through the pain. You let the crowd carry you and your teammates (keep you up).”
His signature play was chasing Dalvin Cook 15 yards downfield on a screen pass to make the tackle and force a fumble. Seattle didn’t recover the loose ball, but it was an incredible hustle play nonetheless.
The biggest question now is that if Clowney’s core injury worsened or remained at the status quo.
“I’ll be able to tell you tomorrow,” he said, referring to the unknown of how he’d feel waking up Tuesday morning. “Injuries are a part of the game. Sometimes you can play through them, sometimes you can’t. Right now I’m trying to give my team all I’ve got and everything I’ve got dealing with that.”
Clowney added that he hadn’t practiced in essentially three weeks and indicated that he felt some rust against the Vikings. He’ll have to get used to not practicing during the week as he manages his core injury for the rest of the season and playoffs.
“I guess that’s the norm now,” Clowney said. “I was really just trying to get back in the groove out there today. It’s been a while, and it showed today. But we got the win.”
Next up for Clowney and the Seahawks is another primetime matchup in Week 14, on the road against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football. It will be an opportunity for Seattle to clinch a playoff spot and continue its pursuit at a first-round bye.
“I’m looking forward to a big game against the next opponent we’ve got,” he said.
Clowney is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and Seattle isn’t even allowed to have contract talks with him until after the regular season. It’s hard to imagine Clowney re-signing without at least testing the free agent waters, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that the Seahawks need to do everything they can to keep him in the Pacific Northwest long-term.