Officially, Chancellor was credited with no tackles and one assist. But that doesn’t begin to tell the story of what his presence meant to the Seahawks after a 54-day holdout.
It began with Kam Chancellor sprinting out of the tunnel to a huge roar, a tangible indicator that his holdout officially is in the past tense.
“The whole stadium was just electrified,’’ linebacker K.J. Wright said.
It ended with first-year defensive coordinator Kris Richard getting a Gatorade bath from his players, symbolizing the Seahawks’ first shutout since Week 15 of the 2013 season, 23 games ago.
Defense by the numbers
2013 The previous time the Seahawks shut out an opponent, a 23-0 victory over the Giants.
2012 The previous time the Seahawks shut out a team at home, a 58-0 win over the Cardinals.
10 Punts by the Bears on Sunday. The Seahawks had forced six total punts in the first two games of the season.
146 Total net yards allowed by Seahawks on Sunday.
“That was awesome,’’ defensive end Cliff Avril said. “Shutouts are so hard to do in the NFL.”
BEARS AT SEAHAWKS »
Yeah, yeah, it was against a depleted Bears team that ran an offense so conservative, it was Tea Party approved. Yeah, it was against a backup quarterback, Jimmy Clausen — you can’t say his name without hearing the word “loss” — who is now 1-11 as a starter.
In other words, don’t get too carried away with the Seahawks’ 26-0 win, in which the Bears ventured into Seattle territory only one time —and that foray went a mere 5 yards early in the second quarter. The Bears got to the Seahawks’ 45-yard line before retreating back to their own side of the field, never to leave again.
But with Chancellor back in the fold after a 54-day holdout, the Seahawks could feel the difference, and felt their play reflected his return just as much as a lackluster opponent,
“You could just see,’’ coach Pete Carroll said. “He made us whole again.”
Or, as Michael Bennett put it, as only he can: “That’s the defense you know and love.”
Officially, Chancellor was credited with no tackles and one assist. But that doesn’t begin to tell the story of what his presence meant to the Seahawks.
“People respect him around the league,’’ Avril said. “Sometimes people will cringe if they know he’s around. It’s big having him out there.”
Chancellor said he felt “normal,” which is elevating with deceptively faint praise. Because Chancellor’s normal is hugely beneficial to the Seahawks. When Richard Sherman said Chancellor “did a great job of doing his job,” that spoke volumes.
Related video: Matt Calkins finds fans responsible for Super Bowl lossSeattle Times sports columnist Matt Calkins knows superstitions are vital and therefore looks for the fans responsible for the Seahawks' Super Bowl loss. (Katie G. Cotterill / The Seattle Times)
Chancellor doing his job means helping call defensive signals and getting the secondary positioned correctly. It means putting himself in the proper place to do maximum damage. And it means putting in the opponents’ heads that he’s there, waiting, if they should venture into his territory
“To have Bam Bam Kam back and have the Legion of Boom full, it’s pretty cool,’’ quarterback Russell Wilson said.
Chancellor calls it playing with a “calm rage” — an oxymoron whose absence for the first two games, both Seahawks losses, was glaring.
“It’s a dark place,’’ Chancellor explained. “On the inside, there’s a lot going on, but I want to show you. That’s calm rage.”
The only downside for Chancellor might have come when he was held out for the fourth series of the game, a nod to his supposed need to ease back in slowly. Except Chancellor wasn’t necessarily on board with the plan to give him a breather.
“It wasn’t my plan,’’ he said. “It came out of nowhere. They came up and said, ‘We’re going to sit you one series.’ I said, ‘Why?’ They just said they want to take you out for a series. I guess so I wouldn’t have as much of a load on myself for the first game.”
Chancellor wound up missing just 10 plays out of the 46 the Bears ran. It sounded like he felt that was about, oh, 10 too many.
“I felt good,’’ he said. “I could have played another one (game).”
The next one the Seahawks play will come against the Lions, who figure to offer more of an offensive challenge than the Bears. The Seahawks thus were trying to find the proper balance between savoring a shutout and realizing it really doesn’t prove much.
“We have to keep working,’’ Wright said. “We can’t just think we’ve arrived, and we’re the best defense in the NFL. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. The Lions are coming in. They’re a high-powered offense. We’ll have our hands full.’’
Yet a shutout still is a notable achievement, which is why the Seahawks saluted Richard, their popular coordinator. He has the unenviable task of following two coordinators, Gus Bradley and Dan Quinn, who guided league-leading defenses and parlayed that success into head-coach jobs.
“This is the NFL. There’s no guarantee of anything,’’ Sherman said. “And shutouts, of course, are never guaranteed. Some people go a long time and never get a shutout as a coordinator. This is his first year and he got one, so we were just excited for him.”
Richard made some savvy adjustments after Bears running back Matt Forte carved up some big yardage early in the game. Forte had just 10 yards on five carries in the second half.
“They ran plays we’ve never seen,’’ Wright said. “They came out and ran stuff we haven’t seen on film at all. We had to adjust on the fly. We got on the sideline and adjusted. We handled it pretty well. Got on the chalkboard and figured it out.”
As the game progressed, maintaining the shutout became the Seahawks’ goal, fulfilled with relative ease against a team with minimal offensive capability.
“It was big,’’ Chancellor said. “You want to not let a team score. You want to suffocate a team. I think it’s big for our defensive staff, for the players, for everybody, because it sends a statement.”
A statement that was heard, loud and clear.