After starting the season 0-2 the Seattle Seahawks were in a strange position. Many projected the Seahawks would make a trip to the Super Bowl for the third season in a row, so seeing them off to such a slow start was puzzling to many.
The Seahawks were without safety Kam Chancellor for the first two games of the season because he was holding out on his contract. Chancellor is signed through the 2017 season, but felt he was underpaid.
There is no denying that Chancellor is the best safety in the NFL and he wanted to be compensated for such. After missing all of training camp as well as the first two games of the season, Chancellor decided that he had seen enough. He told ESPN that he was returning to the field with the following statement.
“Ima go help my teammates that are understanding of my position and the ones who aren't. God forgives all, why can't i?" Chancellor said in a text message according to ESPN reports. "Time to help us get back to the big dance. I can address business after the season. Me and Marshawn started a mission 2 years ago. I can't let my Dawg down....Real talk."
Chancellor’s return clearly has made all the difference. This team was on life-support at 0-2 before he arrived. The defense was struggling without Chancellor’s presence. In the first week of the season, they allowed 34 points and 352 total yards of offense to the St. Louis Rams. They followed that up in Week Two by losing to the Green Bay Packers, where they allowed 27 points and 361 yards of offense.
It is no secret that Chancellor’s return has made all the difference. He is the hardest hitting safety in the league. In his first game back in Week Three, the Seahawk’s defense was stifling. Seattle’s defense shutout the Chicago Bears while only allowing 146 yards of offense in the game.
On Monday night, Chancellor made the biggest play of the season for Seattle as they were on the verge of falling to a 1-3 record. In the final moments of the fourth quarter, Chancellor stripped Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson on the one-yard line as he was reaching out to score the go-ahead touchdown.
Seattle recovered the ball as well as their season thanks to Chancellor.
Chancellor also clearly has the support of at least one teammate – Michael Bennett. After making the game winning play, Chancellor was being interviewed after the game by ESPN when Bennett showed his support for his teammate. Bennett interrupted Chancellor and repeatedly screamed into the camera “pay him,” in reference to his teammate.
The Seahawks defense has not allowed a touchdown this season in games that Chancellor has played in, and that is no coincidence. With the complex style of defense that Seattle likes to run, you need the right players to fit the system. Seattle found out the hard way that replacing Chancellor is not easy.
There is not another safety in the NFL that can do the things Chancellor is asked to do in the Seahawks' defense. Monday night was a clear indication of Chancellor’s value.