There are those who say that Kam Chancellor’s first-quarter hit on Demaryius Thomas set the tone for Super Bowl XLVIII.
Well, Chancellor is one of those people.
“I definitely think that hit set the tone for the game,” the Seattle safety said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I don’t think it was my hardest hit, but I definitely think that set the tone for the game, and my teammates responded to it. Everybody came to lay the boom from then on.”
But forget the hitting, which Seattle did plenty of. Let’s talk about scheme. Denver, the top-scoring offense in football, had no answers against the Seahawks on Sunday night. The Broncos didn’t get a first down until the second quarter and didn’t get on the scoreboard until the last play of the third.
They were held almost 30 points below their season scoring average.
If it looked like it was easy for Seattle, that’s because it was.
“We knew a bunch of (their) route combinations just from watching film, studying film a lot, and then we had two weeks to prepare for him,” Chancellor said. “I think we had one of the best weeks of practice all season the week of the Super Bowl collectively, and it showed during the game. Everyone was on beat, everyone was in tune, and we were all connected.
“We (saw) formations (that we recognized),” Chancellor continued. “On the snap of the ball, you can kind of scan the field and see which way guys are running and which way guys are releasing. Then you pretty much know what the route concept was – and that was just coming from studying a lot of film and doing the reps in practice.”
Richard Sherman and other Seattle defenders said they could read Manning’s eyes – fairly easily, in fact.
Chancellor, 25, confirmed that sentiment.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah,” he said. “Like I say, every player – no matter who you are – every player in the league has tendencies. You study them enough, you watch them enough, everyone has tendencies. It could be the (smallest) thing, but everyone has tendencies.”
What are Manning’s?
“He’ll look at a defender just to hold him there to move the defense, and the next look was where he was throwing,” Chancellor said. “It was first look, second look. Us being a fast defense, after we go that first look, everyone just stayed (there). And on that second look, everyone took off like wolves.
“The majority of the time, if he’s looking at a guy, there’s someone coming from across the field on the opposite way. So he’s trying to hold you to one side while someone’s coming across the field (on) the other (side).”
But isn’t it surprising that Manning didn’t adjust to that during the game?
“When you’re stuck to a format and certain style of play and a system, you don’t change for anyone,” Chancellor said. “That’s one thing we always say: You don’t change for anyone. That’s something we picked up on, and we took advantage of it. We have a smart bunch. We have a smart group. Everyone on this defense is very intelligent.”