Strong safety Kam Chancellor said he didn’t get tired as a result of the Seattle Seahawks’ defense having to work overtime in the first half on Sunday.
“I didn’t feel it at all,” he said after the 33-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
The Seahawks’ defense was on the field for more than 19 minutes and 43 plays in the first half, which was played in 88-degree heat and stifling humidity. The general sentiment from Chancellor and Seattle’s defensive players was that the heavy first-half workload either wasn’t a factor or wasn’t an excuse for the way their unit fell apart later in the game.
But Chancellor lamented how, in his view, that group needlessly wasted energy that would have been better spent trying to stop Tennessee’s offense. He volunteered that thought while giving his assessment of the way Seattle’s defense played.
“It wasn’t our best game,” Chancellor said. “We’ve just got to get back to playing together, playing sound ball, taking it one play at a time, eliminating the frustration, eliminating the bickering with other teams, eliminate the extra exertion of energy that we don’t need. Conserve the energy for each play so your brains can think.”
Chancellor was asked if that bickering took a toll on Seattle’s defense.
“I think every time we get into bickering, it takes a little bit. It’s wasted energy,” he said. “It takes a little bit of the focus, it distracts, and it takes a little bit of energy.”
Tempers flared between the teams in the second quarter after cornerback Richard Sherman leveled Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota with a late hit out of bounds, sparking a scrum among several players. Defensive lineman Michael Bennett, among others, was visibly upset well after the end of that play.
Earlier in the game, Sherman had to be pulled back by teammates as he argued with an official who had flagged him for three penalties on one play, which negated an interception by Chancellor. One of the penalties was for unsportsmanlike conduct after Sherman removed his helmet on the field, which cost Seattle 15 yards. Sherman said after the game he was looking for an explanation for why he was called for pass interference, and he made repeated attempts to get one after the play in question.
Chancellor didn’t mention any specific player or moment while talking about the bickering and wasted energy, saying he was “just talking about throughout the game.” He said there were conversations among the team in the first half about the need to remain focused, but even that became a counterproductive exercise.
“And after a while it’s like, if you start getting into it too much, then you start losing your energy and your focus,” he said. “We said as much as we could say. At the end of the day, everybody’s their own man, everybody’s got a part on this defense, and we’ve just got to do better, we’ve all got to do better.”
The way Chancellor described it gave the impression that this has been a recurring issue for Seattle’s defense this season. Chancellor is a defensive captain and one of the most respected players in the locker room. When he speaks, others listen. But as coach Pete Carroll noted, this is also a team that often “runs hot.” That’s especially true on defense. So eliminating it may be easier said than done.
“It was a challenging day for both teams with the temperature, and you didn’t need to expend any wasted energy,” Carroll said. “We might have done some of that.”