By Brady Henderson
The Seahawks’ starting safeties are both in their second NFL season. Kam Chancellor is 23 years old. Earl Thomas is 13 months younger.
So much for growing pains, at least on Sunday when Thomas and Chancellor turned in some of the more notable plays in the Seahawks’ 13-10 win over the Cardinals.
Earl Thomas’ interception in the first quarter was negated by a penalty, but Kam Chancellor’s block on the return was a motivator for the Seahawks, coach Pete Carroll said. (AP)
Thomas showed incredible body control when he made an acrobatic catch for an interception in the first quarter.
“That was really something,” Pete Carroll said Monday during his weekly appearance on “Brock and Salk”.
The interception was negated by an illegal contact penalty, but what happened during Thomas’ return had a profound impact on the game, Carroll said.
Chancellor threw a crushing block on Todd Heap, momentarily knocking the Cardinals’ tight end out of the game. The hit drew an unnecessary roughness penalty, which was declined, and a few shoves from some ticked off Cardinals.
“The next couple plays, you watched our guys respond,” Carroll said. “They elevated. Maybe they felt the response from Arizona. We matched it and went over.”
Carroll called it a “phenomenal hit” and said “there’s no way” it should have been a penalty.
On a third-and-9 play in the second quarter, Thomas shot through the line on a blitz and jumped to knock down Kevin Kolb’s pass, forcing a field goal attempt that was no good.
The speed Thomas showed is one reason he’s beginning to draw comparisons to Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu, a player Carroll coached at USC.
“I think they’re very, very similar,” Carroll said. “They’re both about the same size, they’re both the same speed — they both ran in the 4.3s for pro scouts — and they show it on the field. That’s what separates Troy from so many other guys; you see him just flash with his speed. Well, you see Earl doing that too.”
With the Seahawks clinging to a 13-10 lead late in the fourth quarter, Chancellor’s interception killed Arizona’s drive and helped the Seahawks secure the win.
“Kam and Earl will take over this group in time, in the years to come,” Carroll said. … They’re emerging now.”