GREEN BAY—Eddie Lacy remembers the big collision with Kam Chancellor along the sideline in Week 1.
It’s a good thing, too, because if he hadn’t recalled it, Lacy likely wouldn’t have played in every game this season.
The Packers’ bruising running back and the Seahawks’ hard-hitting safety rudely met each other early in the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field a little over four months ago.
Lacy was trying to get every yard he could on a screen pass and Chancellor was, well, doing what Chancellor does.
“Definitely one of the hardest hitters I ever ran into,” Lacy said on Wednesday. “We stalemated. Pretty cool.”
Lacy came out of the game to be evaluated for a head injury at that point, but he didn’t miss any time during the season. It was starkly different from the helmet-to-helmet hit he took in Week 2 of his rookie season in 2013 from Washington safety Brandon Meriweather, which Lacy didn’t remember.
That concussion sidelined him for the rest of that game, plus the next one.
That’s the only significant action Lacy has missed in his brief two-year career and, on Sunday in the NFC Championship, he’ll be back on the same field with the running back who sets the standard for physicality, Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch.
“We’re both physical backs and we don’t care who’s in front of us,” said Lacy, whose 34 rushing yards at Seattle in Week 1 were his season low in an 1,139-yard, nine-TD sophomore season. “When you come to hit us, you’ve got to come. You’ve got to try your hardest to get us down.”
Lacy isn’t taking Sunday’s game as any sort of personal second chance at Seattle’s defense, or as some sort of showdown with Lynch. He said he “naturally” runs the way he does and he’s not trying to emulate anybody, even if on occasion Sunday he may resemble Lynch.
“He’s a great back. Powerful, strong, manhandles a lot of defenders,” Lacy said of his counterpart. “But that’s not my concern. I don’t have to tackle him or I don’t have to watch him. Our defense has a great plan, and they’re going to gang-tackle him, which is what you have to do.”
Lacy expects the same, as Seattle’s defense has made that approach one of its many trademarks.
“They’re fast. Everything that is publicized about them is true,” rookie center Corey Linsley said. “You have to withstand their initial surge. After that, it’s settling down and playing ball.”
Linsley didn’t take long to settle down when he made his NFL debut in Seattle back in Week 1. Having just assumed the starting job due to JC Tretter’s knee injury, Linsley was thrown into the deafening din of CenturyLink and held his own.
It turned out he didn’t need anyone to “pray for him,” as Seattle pass rusher Bruce Irvin famously said in the run-up to the 2014 opener. Instead, Linsley’s performance, albeit in defeat, assured his fellow linemen the center position was in good hands.
“These guys don’t give you anything around here, for sure,” Linsley said of his linemates. “I feel like they have a little more confidence in me since Week 1, and also in our offense. I think our offense is 10 times better than Week 1. We found our identity.”
Linsley quickly dismissed any revisiting of the Irvin storyline by saying “that’s long gone,” and he feels Green Bay’s offense as a whole will be better prepared for the noise level on an even bigger stage this time.
“We grew from it communication-wise,” he said. “We now have answers for different things we saw.”
They learned and moved on without forgetting, just like Lacy and his Chancellor collision.
“The progress and everything we’ve made makes it feel like forever ago,” Linsley said. “It’s still fresh in our minds, though.”
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