Revisiting three more key plays from the Seahawks’ wild-card win

Jan 12, 2016, 2:39 PM | Updated: 3:10 pm
Ahtyba Rubin recovered Kam Chancellor’s forced fumble in the fourth of Sunday’s game. (...
Ahtyba Rubin recovered Kam Chancellor's forced fumble in the fourth of Sunday's game. (Rod Mar, Seahawks)
(Rod Mar, Seahawks)

RENTON – Seemingly every time Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has been asked about defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin this season, he has mentioned a certain characteristic of the defensive tackle’s play.

“He’s got a motor about chasing the football that I love for a big man,” Carroll said back in October. “You just don’t see big men get up and get on that … horse as often as he does. I think he’s really good at it. It hasn’t manifested in a big play on the sidelines …”

But Carroll predicted that it would.

And on Sunday against Minnesota, in one of the biggest moments on Seattle’s wild-card win, it did.

Rubin and other Seahawks defenders had chased Vikings running back Adrian Peterson after he caught a screen pass. When strong safety Kam Chancellor ripped the ball free, Rubin was there – 13 yards down the field – to fall on it. The Seahawks kicked the go-ahead field goal on their ensuing possession.

“He’s been doing that all year long,” Carroll said Monday about Rubin chasing the football, “and that’s exactly what happens to guys that run like that, he’s there.”

But most 300-plus-pound defensive linemen don’t do that.

“I think it really stands out because he’s a big, strong, tough football player that’s just got the mentality to take off and run,” Carroll said. “Most guys don’t run like that. We pride ourselves on pursuit, as everybody does, but when you see your biggest guys inside running like that, it fires everybody up.”

Here’s a closer look at two other key plays from Sunday’s game:

Thomas’ pass breakup. Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas made a signature play in the second quarter, sprinting across the field to break up a deep pass just in time. Vikings running back Jerick Mckinnon was running open up the seam, having gotten behind Chancellor. Thomas was on the left hash when he started breaking on the ball, which traveled about 30 yards in the air. He ran at an angle to jar it loose between the yardage numerals on the other side of the field, covering a lot of ground in not a lot of time to prevent what could have been a game-altering completion. Carroll said Thomas was prepared for that play: “He had a great indicator with the back run up the seam, saw it and read the quarterback and just flew across the field. He had a play just like that in practice this week that I was all fired up about, and it was one of those deals where he said he should carry it right over to the game.”

Chancellor’s pass-interference penalty. One of the plays that help the Vikings get into field-goal range on their final drive was a pass-interference penalty on Chancellor, who was covering tight end Kyle Rudolph up the seam. That took Minnesota from it’s own 39 to Seattle’s 42. Chancellor protested the call afterward, calling it “BS” and saying: “I stood my ground and he ran into me. They tell you that you can stand there, and as long as he runs into you then you’re good.” Carroll said the explanation he got from the league office was that the official flagged Chancellor because he reached toward Rudolph. “Had his hand been inside, then that didn’t need to be a call because Kam was in his own space, and the receiver needs to be trying to avoid. They would have just overlooked that. They wouldn’t have called it, usually. They wouldn’t have called it offensive interference, they wouldn’t call it defensive, they would just call it incidental. Because his hand was out there, it gave the guy a reason to make the call.”

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Revisiting three more key plays from the Seahawks’ wild-card win