How wise does the Seahawks' decision to sit Kam Chancellor for two games in November, home wins over the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders that the team felt it could get even with their Pro Bowl strong safety resting for this playoff run, look right now?
It made him, not self-proclaimed "Superman" Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, look like a Superhero last night. Click here to see all that Chancellor did.
"He can have his Superman. They call me 'Batman,'" Chancellor said. "Dark Knight."
Richard Sherman had another description for Chancellor.
"He's a freakin' monster," Sherman said. "He damages people's souls.
“'Bam Bam’ goes into dark places. You don’t bring your flashlights, you’ll get lost.”
It was a Dark September and October for Chancellor until that two-week vacation in November.
Chancellor had hip surgery last spring. He is still playing with bone spurs in both ankles. His groin was bothering him. He was basically dragging himself through the first two months of this regular season, and didn't look nor wasn't playing like his usual, thumping, premier self.
"It was a time to get my hip better. ... I was still having kinks in there," he said last night of his two-game hiatus to rest up for the wondrous performance (11 tackles, team-record 90-yard interception return for the touchdown that sealed the win in the fourth quarter) he gave last night in Seattle's 31-17 victory over Carolina in the NFC divisional playoffs. "It helped it out. I feel better. I feel stronger. I feel faster."
He said his interception with 5:55 left, Seattle leading 24-10 and Carolina 10 yards from it becoming a one-score game again came because he read Newton was going to come back to the right to tight end Ed Dickson in the short flat. He knew from film study that Dickson was Newton's safety valve in that formation and situation, and sure enough Newton threw that way after looking left. Chancellor baited Newton by staying a few yards behind Dickson -- then bolted on the ball in flight and ran 90 yards the other way.
Watch at the 2:00 mark of this to see how it happened.
It sent seismic waves through CenturyLink Field.
And check out his hit of Carolina fullback Mike Tolbert, at the :45 mark of this clip. He plain rearranged Tolbert, sending his 2 yards the other way and denying him of a first down.
And go to the :53 mark of that clip. There was as much talk after the game after his two leaps clear over the Panthers' field-goal snapper on consecutive snaps at the end of the first half. A penalty had the Panthers re-try the kick. Chancellor got in so quickly that second time Graham Gano yanked the kick far left. Chancellor bumped Gano, resulting in a running-into-the-kicker foul on him that gave Gano a third chance that he finally converted to trim Seattle's lead to 14-10 at halftime.
Even though Sherman and teammate Jeremy Lane lobbied referee Terry McAulay that Chancellor had tipped the ball and therefore the foul should have by rule been waved off, Chancellor said that second kick never hit him, that he so spooked Gano that the kicked "shanked" the try so badly.
Chancellor said last night he tried jump-over-the-field-goal-snapper trick once in game a year or two ago, "but I failed. I fell over the center. I hit his back."
Chancellor brags some on his leaping ability in the video at the top of this post.
Here is the audio of Chancellor at his locker last night. I was being boxed out by 6-foot-7-or-so Art Thiel of SportsPress Northwest and about 10 others -- Chancellor, always reluctant to shine in the spotlight after games declined to go the podium -- so sorry if the audio wavers a bit: