Carolina Panthers

Kam Chancellor’s leap over Panthers line: Athletic, or illegal?

Kam Chancellor (31) of the Seattle Seahawks leaped over the Panthers line on consecutive plays in a January playoff game, but was it illegal?
Kam Chancellor (31) of the Seattle Seahawks leaped over the Panthers line on consecutive plays in a January playoff game, but was it illegal? Getty Images

Sports Illustrated pointed to Kam Chancellor’s leap over the Carolina Panthers line during back-to-back field goal tries in a January playoff game as an example of the Seattle safety’s athletic ability.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera pointed to it Wednesday as an example of an illegal play.

Rivera said Chancellor did nothing wrong when he twice vaulted over long snapper J.J. Jansen in the final seconds of the first half of the Seahawks’ 31-17 divisional-round win.

But Rivera believes the Seahawks’ defensive linemen should have been have called for holding for grabbing the Panthers’ blockers and trying to pull them toward the ground to clear a path for Chancellor.

Rivera said he talked to league officials after the game, then sent them video of the plays this year to remind them to keep an eye out for it Sunday when the Panthers travel to Seattle.

“Some elements of it were not quite kosher. I asked about it. I asked about grabbing guys and pulling them down and stuff like that,” Rivera said. “So if it does happen, if they do it again or continue to do that, they’re aware of it.”

Rivera says at least one league official agreed with him.

“They (said) yeah, it can be called and should be called and will be called,” Rivera said. “What he did in terms of the timing of the jump, that was perfect. The thing that you teach your guys is if you see a jumper, you raise up.”

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks weren’t trying to do anything illegal.

“We just tried to get Kam over the top,” Carroll said during a conference call with Charlotte media. “But Coach (Rivera), he might be on (to) something. I’m sure he’s just trying to help his team and trying to make his point to the officials. I totally understand that. I’ve been in that position many times.”

With the Panthers trailing 14-7 with four seconds left before halftime, Graham Gano lined up for a 35-yard field goal. Chancellor ran toward the line and timed his leap perfectly, hopping over Jansen and landing directly in front of Gano, who managed to make the kick.

But when Panthers lineman Chris Scott was whistled for a false start, Gano had to kick again from 40 yards. Chancellor did the same thing as several defensive linemen appeared to grab and lean on the backs of the Panthers’ blockers.

Gano yanked his second attempt wide left, but Chancellor was called for running into Gano. Chancellor didn’t rush on Gano’s third try, which was good from 35 yards.

It was a strange sequence of events, but Gano takes solace in the fact the Panthers still came away with three points.

“I think it’s funny because he missed it both times,” Gano said. “He was standing 2 feet from the ball and he didn’t block it.”

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson