EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Safety Kam Chancellor doesn’t dress or talk like an enforcer. He spoke softly after Sunday’s game and neatly wrapped a pink tie around his neck.
His appearance, though, didn’t reflect his ruthless play in Seattle’s 23-0 domination of the New York Giants.
You might not have noticed. Not with three other Seattle defensive backs collecting interceptions, and the defensive line terrorizing Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
But the Giants certainly did.
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“One of their guys — I’m not going to say who — but he was like, ‘That’s a grown man out there,’ ” cornerback Byron Maxwell said. “And I was like, ‘Yes, he is.’ He’s a man among boys.”
Chancellor’s greatest impact wasn’t in statistics, although he finished tied for second on the Seahawks with five tackles. More important was his role as an enforcer, a word used by multiple teammates to describe Chancellor’s smash-mouth style.
To that end, he set the tone early. On the Giants’ second play, Chancellor bulled past a receiver trying to block him and made a tackle for no gain.
He delivered thumping hits the rest of the game, including one in which he crushed fellow safety Earl Thomas.
“He was everywhere,” Thomas said. “He even hurt me. He was just on everything. Those hits, man? You could hear them. It sounded like somebody running through a big car crash or something.”
Said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner: “I don’t know what he ate for breakfast, but he was hitting our team, their team, everybody.”
Thomas called it Chancellor’s best game of the season. Chancellor agreed.
“I’ve just got to make the offense feel me and let them know that I’m going to be here in the box or wherever I may be on the field,” he said. “I’m out there to be the enforcer.”
Everyone else in the secondary, it seemed, had their big moment: Thomas, Maxwell and Richard Sherman combined for five interceptions, the most ever thrown by Manning.
But it was Chancellor’s play at the line of scrimmage that helped make that possible. One of Chancellor’s biggest responsibilities is stopping the run, and the Giants averaged just 1.8 yards per carry.
On New York’s second drive, Chancellor tackled running back Andre Brown for no gain on the first play. Three plays later, receiver Victor Cruz dropped a pass across the middle just before Chancellor collided with him.
“I always say before every game that I want to set the tone,” Chancellor said. “It’s not just an all-about-me thing, but I feel like if I bring the energy, if I bring the hits, those guys feed off that.”
In other words, he did his job.