RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks will go forward in the postseason without pass-rushing defensive end Chris Clemons, who suffered a torn ACL and torn meniscus in his left knee in Sunday's 24-14 win at Washington.
Clemons was hurt when it appeared his cleat got stuck in the messy, dirty turf at FedEx Field early in the third quarter. Seattle was immediately concerned the injury could be serious and Monday's MRI confirmed it.
"It's a big loss for us in a lot of ways," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Chris has been a great football player and just a symbol of consistency in the years that we've had him, but he's been a great leader for us too and a tough dude and a guy we've become very comfortable playing with and we'll miss the heck out of him."
The loss of Clemons and uncertainty about the availability of kicker Steven Hauschka, who suffered a calf strain, overshadowed what should have been a day of celebration after Seattle won its first road playoff game since beating Miami on Dec. 31, 1983.
Clemons was the most consistent pass rusher for the Seahawks since arriving in a trade from Philadelphia before the 2010 season. Clemons had 11 sacks in both 2010 and '11 and followed up a new contract over the summer with 11½ sacks this season.
Rookie first-round pick Bruce Irvin, drafted to be a pass-rushing complement to Clemons, will get the first shot to start. Irvin set a franchise rookie record with eight sacks, but the real challenge will be whether he can hold up in the run game, an area where Clemons did well.
"This is Bruce's opportunity. This is what we drafted him to play and we'll see how he does," Carroll said. "We expect him to do really well as he steps up."
Players were not available at the Seahawks facility after arriving back in Seattle in the early hours of Monday morning. Clemons tweeted, "I want to thank everyone for ... prayers. I will be ready for next season. We still got a Super Bowl to win!"
Carroll said both offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley are focused on the game at Atlanta even as both are courted by other teams for possible head coaching jobs. Seattle has granted permission for Bradley to speak with Philadelphia and Bevell with Chicago. ... Carroll said the team would have kickers in on Tuesday to try out because of the uncertainty about Hauschka's calf. ... The Seahawks may also look at linebackers Mike Morgan and K.J. Wright as pass-rush options with Clemons out and Irvin filling his role.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.