Monday, January 17, 2022
Jan. 17, 2022

Linkedin Pinterest

Micah Rice: Seahawks safety is Newton’s kryptonite

Commentary: Micah Rice

By , Columbian Sports Editor

SEATTLE — The game began cloaked in Pacific Northwest mist.

It ended shrouded in dust. Kam Chancellor was a human wrecking ball who turned CenturyLink Field into a demolition site during Seattle’s 31-17 win over Carolina on Saturday.

Twice, the Seattle Seahawks’ jackhammer jumped over field goal formations like he was jacked up on a six-shot espresso.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton fancies himself as Superman. But Chancellor, Seattle’s strong safety, used his superpowers to hurl his 6-foot-3, 232 pound frame into the path of a Newton pass in the fourth quarter.

Ninety yards later, Chancellor had the longest scoring play in Seahawks postseason history. Richard Sherman dubbed it the Bam Quake.

“They can have their Superman,” Chancellor said. “They call me Batman. The Dark Knight.”

Chancellor, of course, credited his sidekicks.

“I credit the defensive line,” Chancellor said. “I looked back and saw Cam under pressure. He threw the ball right to me. … All I saw was green. And green means go.”

25 Photos
Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mike Morgan (57) leads teammates out of the tunnel before an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Carolina Panthers in Seattle, Saturday, Jan.
Photo gallery: Panthers at Seahawks, NFC divisional playoffs Photo Gallery

It was fitting that Chancellor’s touchdown bested a postseason record held by Percy Harvin, who was flashy, volatile and ultimately destructive.

Like a superhero, you trust Chancellor and Seattle’s defense to be steady and solid when times are tense.

Saturday, Chancellor and the Seahawks defense were the heroes. And the game followed the same script that has been repeating on a loop during Seattle’s seven-game win streak.

Seattle made a few early mistakes. The opponent mounted a few first-half drives. It was close at halftime.

But the second half was all Seahawks. And you never felt like Saturday’s game was in doubt. Not with this defense.

“It’s not unusual or uncommon for us,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Seattle’s second-half dominance. “We do the things that we’re doing in the first half to get information. Then we respond with that information and usually do better.”

Seattle simply doesn’t allow points in the fourth quarter. Before Kelvin Benjamin’s late touchdown catch Saturday, the last time an opponent scored in the final 15 minutes was the last time the Seahawks lost — Nov. 16 at Kansas City.

It means Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense do not have to take risks.

And that’s huge in the playoffs, when mistakes are magnified. Just ask Carolina, which had three turnovers to none for Seattle.

All season the Seahawks have maintained a mantra – one game at a time. Each week is a championship opportunity. We only worry about us, not the opponent.

Those are easy to dismiss as hollow sports clichés, except the Seahawks live by them.

And when they do, there is no doubt. There is no drama. And that’s why it’s so easy to trust this Seahawks team as the tension rises.