Rubin played one of his best games in Sunday’s playoff win over the Vikings. Coach Pete Carroll said he didn’t realize how well Rubin played until he watched the film.
RENTON — Pete Carroll The Clairvoyant appeared in August while discussing his new defensive tackle, Ahtyba Rubin.
“He has a knack, if you guys keep watching him, he chases the football,” Carroll said. “He will go, and that’s a big body rumbling to make a hit. Sometimes he’s going to make a big play for us on the perimeter that will surprise people.”
Five months later, Ahtyba Rubin, the 325-pound man they call Tuba, did indeed rumble and make a big play on the perimeter. Except it was a fumble recovery, not a hit, and it led to the Seahawks’ go-ahead points in a 10-9 playoff win against the Vikings.
In the fourth quarter, the Vikings completed a pass to running back Adrian Peterson in the flat, but safety Kam Chancellor forced a fumble. Peterson was 10 yards down field, along the sideline, but Rubin never stopped running. And with the ball on the ground, Rubin was in position to fall on it.
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It was exactly the effort Carroll had predicted would pay off months before, and it drew unanimous praise from Rubin’s teammates.
“He’s a warrior down there,” Chancellor said. “That’s one thing about Rube: He’ll run. No matter where the ball is at, he’s running to it.”
“It’s not normal for 325-pound linemen to be all the way down the field, but that’s the type of guys we’ve got here,” linebacker Bruce Irvin said. “That’s the type of system that we believe in.”
“It was so incredible for me to see it,” safety Earl Thomas said. “All I could do was help him up, but trust me I was his No. 1 cheerleader.”
What’s interesting is that Carroll made a big deal of that kind of effort all season. In December, after the Seahawks blew out the Browns, someone mentioned a play in which defensive tackle Brandon Mebane had run 22 yards to make a tackle.
“On the play you’re talking about, watch Rubin,” Carroll said at the time. “He flies on that same play. Both those guys were highlighting that play, just to do exactly what you’re showing. That is what we’re after. We’re always after complete effort, total effort.
“That’s not a natural thing. That’s something that people have to learn and acquire the mentality for. Some guys are better than others, but human nature takes you the easy way out.
“It’s a constant endeavor for coaches to try and find ways to play with complete effort. I’ve been committed to that for a long time, and it’s every day. You never have it. It’s always very fleeting. It can leave you in a moment. The guys that really have that high motor, we champion those guys.”
Rubin played one of his best games against the Vikings. Pro Football Focus graded Rubin as particularly effective against the run, and Carroll said he didn’t realize how well Rubin played until he watched the film.
But it was his effort in recovering the fumble that stood out, and Carroll said Rubin’s defensive teammates cheered him for it while watching film on Monday.
“I was hustling in that direction, just like I normally do,” Rubin said, which is exactly the point.