By Brady Henderson
Kam Chancellor laughed and smiled from ear to ear as he answered questions about the win that punched the Seahawks’ ticket to the Super Bowl.
Then he suddenly turned serious.
“When you’re running at me like that and I’m running at you, it’s going to be a nasty scene,” he said when asked about the crushing hit he laid on San Francisco’s Vernon Davis. “A nasty scene.”
The Pro Bowl strong safety and resident enforcer made his presence felt throughout Sunday’s NFC Championship Game – from his latest shot on Davis and the effect it had later to his interception that helped the Seahawks preserve their 23-17 win.
“Kam’s play was great today,” coach Pete Carroll said.
Chancellor’s interception was the result him reading and reacting to something he had seen the last time these teams met, a play that resulted in a completion to Anquan Boldin. The result was an interception by Chancellor this time thanks to his intuition.
The Seahawks were clinging to a three-point lead in the fourth quarter, having just turned ball over on downs deep in San Francisco’s territory when Chancellor noticed something familiar. The 49ers lined up with two receivers to the right then sent Boldin in motion to the left, and the way Boldin released off the ball was the final clue Chancellor needed to know he was running an out route.
More coverage of the Seahawks’ win over the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Interviews | Pete Carroll Show||• O’Neil: What we learned from the Seahawks’ win||• O’Neil: Seahawks’ win validates Carroll’s approach||• Henderson: Carroll revels in Super Bowl berth||• Henderson: Sherman pops off after game-saving play||• Moore: Seahawks’ maligned receivers come up big||• Stecker: No redemption for Kaepernick | Notebook|
“I hesitated the fist time and he completed that throw,” Chancellor said, referring to a play from that Week-14 game in San Francisco. “And this time I didn’t hesitate. I just ran, kept running, looked back the ball was right there.”
That interception set up a Seahawks field goal that put them up 23-17, and on the ensuing possession, as the 49ers were driving for what they hoped would be the game-winning touchdown, one play showed the fear factor that has become a product of Chancellor’s game. At least it looked that way when Michael Crabtree ran over the middle and ducked as a pass – and Chancellor – approached him.
“I’ve seen a lot of dudes do that when Kam comes around,” linebacker Bruce Irvin said.
Hard to blame Crabtree after seeing what Chancellor did to Davis earlier in the game. It wasn’t quite as violent as that memorable hit he put on the 49ers’ tight end late last season, which was one of the indelible images of Seattle’s blowout win. It was just as effective, though, forcing Davis to drop the ball.
“It felt awesome,” Chancellor said of the hit. “It felt awesome.”
According to Chancellor, Davis had publicly called him out recently.
“Just heard that he said that the previous games he had me beat and I can’t cover him, things like that,” Chancellor said. “It’s water off a duck’s back.”
Davis made two receptions for 16 yards Sunday. Chancellor, meanwhile, finished with six tackles, the interception and ticket to New York for Super Bowl XLVIII.
“We can’t wait for this challenge,” he said.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.