BY Adam Lewis 01:02PM 01/20/2014

Lunch links/gallery: Sherman responds in SI

After his post-game tirade, Seahawks CB Richard Sherman calmed down in time to write an introspective column published Monday in Sports Illustrated’s MMQB.

The final play by Seahawks CB Richard Sherman sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. His post-game antics sent him into the national discussion. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

It’s never good when Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander threatens to throw a 100-mph fastball at somebody’s head.

That’s basically what Verlander said Sunday after seeing Seahawks CB Richard Sherman’s post-game interview with FOX reporter Erin Andrews. Sherman was predictably juiced about tipping the clinching interception in Seattle’s 23-17 NFC Championship win. Shortly after he shouted to Andrews, “I’m the best corner in the game!” Fox producers cut the interview short, fearing a profanity-laced tirade was imminent.

Next, Verlander targeted Sherman, new national scapegoat.

Verlander’s comment, hypothetical as it is, was an example of the national backlash Sherman received for taunting 49ers WR Michael Crabtree, then calling him “mediocre” multiple times on national television.

The criticism from fans and some writers bothered Sherman enough that he wrote a column for Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback website after press conferences ended around 9 p.m.

In some regard, his interview with Andrews, and his slightly toned-down comments (at least in volume) during his press conference, overshadowed an instant classic between division rivals that featured some of the best players in the NFL.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch ran for 107 yards inside the tackles. Lynch has the most 100-yard games (four) and three longest runs in Seahawks postseason history.

Early in the second half, Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch tied the game at 10 with a 40-yard touchdown run. / Drew McKenzie Sportspress Northwest

The Seahawks defense was just as instrumental in helping punch a ticket to Super Bowl XLVIII. In the fourth quarter, DE Cliff Avril caused a Colin Kaepernick fumble that DT Michael Bennett returned inside the San Francisco 10. Then, the Seahawks fumbled on fourth down following a controversial call, but San Francisco’s ensuing possession ended when S Kam Chancellor made a leaping interception. The outcome was sealed when Sherman tipped Kaepernick’s end zone pass to teammate Malcolm Smith.

Facing fourth-and-seven at the San Francisco 35 early in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks took a 20-17 lead when QB Russell Wilson found WR Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown pass.

Kearse finished his first NFC Championship with two catches for 44 yards. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

There was a bit of confusion before the critical fourth-down play. Fox cameras caught PK Steven Hauschka running onto the field, then returning to the sideline. Apparently, Hauschka didn’t feel comfortable trying a 53-yard field goal. After the game, Wilson said he begged Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to go for it. They relented.

When Wilson drew Niners DL Aldon Smith offside with a double count, earning Seattle a free play, the receivers changed their routes and went deep. It was one of many impressive plays Wilson made in his first NFC Championship.

Wilson was the perfect game manager against the Niners. He finished 16 of 25 for 215 yards and a touchdown. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

In the first half, Wilson was sacked four times and pressured on 53 percent of his dropbacks, according to ESPN Stats and Info. USA Today gave the Seahawks’ pass offense a “B” grade in their report card. It might have been an “A” if Wilson connected with Kearse on this deep try.

Wilson said he knew Kearse would make a big impact on the 2013 season after the pair worked out together in the  off-season. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Wilson rarely missed when he went to WR Doug Baldwin. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Wilson went six-of-seven for 107 yards when targeting the undersized, always blunt Stanford graduate.

Baldwin was at his best in the biggest game of his NFL career, finishing with six catches for 106 yards, including a 51-yard grab that sparked Seattle’s offense in the first half. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll shared a nice moment after the game. Really.

Carroll and Harbaugh put behind them the “What’s Your Deal?” incident with a post-game hug and handshake at midfield. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

As blue and green confetti showered the field, members of the Seahawks defense danced with Macklemore, the Seattle rapper that shot to stardom with his 2012 album, “The Heist” and performed at halftime.

Macklemore, aka Ben Haggerty, aka hometown rapper made good, performed a halftime show with Ryan Lewis. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

For all their uncensored, adversarial commentary, the Seahawks hug more than any team in the NFL. The approach worked magnificently. The Seahawks are headed to MetLife Stadium for their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.

That’s Carroll and general manager John Schneider. The pair have worked closely the past four years to build the best defense in the NFL. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

 


YourThoughts

  • jafabian

    Sherm is following the lead of athletes like Michael Jordan, Muhamad Ali, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Shaquille O’Neal, T.O. and even (wait for it) Gary Payton. Any successful athlete who says they don’t I question if their being honest. They might not do it thru the media but they do it thru email, friends, WAGS, agents, etc. Marques Haynes and Lester Hayes used to say that even Steve Largent would by telling them what route he’d run and he’d still score a TD on them.

    Nice column by Richard. If he was interviewed later after the adrenaline wore off he might have been a bit more calmer but I think he’d still make the same point. When I watched his interview I thought of when Ralph Sampson was interviewed by Pat O’Brien after getting ejected from a game for fighting. O’Brien caught up with him as he was walking off the court and Sampson just cut loose with a stream of profanity. Not the best of decision’s on O’Brien’s part but you can bet Erin Andrews is loving the spotlight right now.

  • John Voightlander

    As someone elsewhere commented, but still worth repeating (stealing): Easy for Verlander to say. He plays in a league where the pitchers don’t hit.