Before the regular season started, everyone was talking up rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. After dominating every exhibition appearance, it was safe to say Wilson was headed to Canton and the Seahawks were Super Bowl-bound. Okay, not really, but that's what it felt like after the public got a taste of Russell-Mania.
Even I was googly-eyed after watching the rookie out of Wisconsin. The offensive line looked strong, he was rarely under pressure and he made plenty of plays with his legs. However, there is a reason that the preseason doesn't count. Once the regular season starts, no one cares what happened last week or even the week before.
Darnell Dockett and the rest of Arizona's defense didn't seem to care, as they had their way with Seattle's offensive line. By game's end on Sunday, Dockett had registered three quarterback hits and seven hurries. Not to mention he absolutely destroyed J.R. Sweezy in the run game.
I've seen Dockett put together some fine performances in the past. One in particular that stands out is his game against the New York Giants last season. But I feel this was his most complete and dominant game as a pro. Even if Sweezy was making his first career start, that's beside the point because he did everything you could ask of a 3-4 defensive end.
Let's take a look at how he used his strength and leverage to dominate the Seahawks' run game.
Watch in the clip above as Dockett has his way with Giacomini. Instead of Giacomini dictating where the play is going, Dockett pushes his way down the line of scrimmage and single-handedly stops the play in its track. There was no resistance as he worked his way down the line, not to mention he never even had to move off his path to the ball-carrier.
Just as he does in the first play, Dockett gets the flow of the play heading downhill. By heading downhill, he eventually sheds both offensive linemen and makes the tackle from the left end spot. It's hard to stop a dominant player who is consistently beating one-on-one matchups, let alone double-teams.
As you can see above, Dockett is lined up at left end in their three-man line. Seemingly, Seattle ran to the left side of the formation on 14 of their 27 designed run plays.
I bet you're glad I didn't take the time to break down every play he dominated. That would be exhausting for both you and me. Dockett is a staple to the Arizona Cardinals defensive line—it's not hard to argue that he and Calais Campbell are the top 3-4 ends in the league. They dictate and direct traffic up front. If they can get some help from the secondary, they will easily finish the year as a top 10 defense.