At one point early in the fourth quarter, while waiting for a TV timeout to end, Richard Sherman outstretched his arms and slowly spun around on the field, asking the crowd to make more noise.
He looked like a man in control of his moment.
Shortly after, Sherman intercepted a deep pass from San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick down the sideline, then danced next to the Seagals after running off the field. It was, in other words, a vintage Sherman night, one in which he left his mark as one of the league’s best corners in Seattle’s 29-3 victory against the 49ers.
“Just go ahead and write him into the Pro Bowl now if he plays like this every week,” Cris Collinsworth said on the NBC broadcast.
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All week the talk leading up the game centered on receiver Anquan Boldin, San Francisco’s big offseason addition. He shredded Green Bay’s zone defense for 13 catches and 208 yards last week and drew attention from most national media outlets.
Yet against Sherman and cornerback Walter Thurmond, Boldin caught just one pass for 7 yards – and that came with 9:40 left in the game. He was only targeted four times all game, meaning he wasn’t getting open enough to even draw much attention from Kaepernick.
Safety Earl Thomas heard all the talk about Boldin and dismissed it.
“Psh,” Thomas said in the middle of a question about Boldin. “I thought Boldin was just average like everybody else. He wasn’t a speedster. If you key into him, he’s just normal. We didn’t just let him run through our defense. We were going to challenge him.
“We knew that was going to happen. When you just look at the film last week, any receiver that has a chance to just run open in a defense is going to have a lot of success. And when you beat them up off the line, they get frustrated.”
Boldin is 6-foot-1, 220 pounds and plays more like a tight end than a receiver. But Sherman and the rest of the Seattle secondary knew exactly what needed to be done. The book on Boldin is that he uses his size and strength to make catches, but that’s exactly the way Sherman likes to play.
“I think a lot of people think he’s going to outphysical you the whole game,” Sherman said, “and I think I countered that with physicality.”
The Seahawks normally keep their cornerbacks relegated to one side of the field instead of having them shadow a particular receiver. But with Brandon Browner out with a hamstring injury, Sherman spent much of the night following Boldin, especially on third down.
“I asked Coach for a challenge,” Sherman said. “I wanted to follow. There were a lot of things said this week. There was a lot of talk about elite corners and who follows who. Going to negate that.”
Sherman completely took Boldin out of the game. In fact, at one point during the broadcast, Collinsworth said he wasn’t sure if Boldin was trying to block or if Sherman had just completely jammed him at the line.
“You can’t say enough about that guy,” Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin said. “I know a lot of people get irritated by the way he talks in the media, but he’s a teddy bear at heart. And he works hard. He watched so much film on this game to get ready for Anquan because he knew he had an opportunity to lock in on him. He’s unbelievable when it comes to playing man-to-man coverage.”
|Boldin kept in check|
|After a monster game in Week 1 against the Packers, Anquan Boldin was kept in check by the Seahawks’ secondary. He was targeted only four times.|
|vs. Packers||13 catches, 208 yards||1|
|vs. Seahawks||1 catch, 7 yards||0|
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org