Richard Sherman had an interception and Doug Baldwin a touchdown catch to lead the Seahawks' representation in the 2017 Pro Bowl.
It was going to be tough for there to be a repeat of last season, when the Seahawks swept the awards at the Pro Bowl, quarterback Russell Wilson winning offensive MVP honors and defensive lineman Michael Bennett taking the defensive MVP trophy.
But while there were no awards for the Seahawks at the 2017 Pro Bowl, there were a few highlights for some of the seven players who were part of the NFC team, which ultimately lost to the AFC 20-13 in Orlando.
Maybe as important as anything that happened from a Seahawks’ perspective was a second-quarter interception by cornerback Richard Sherman.
The Seahawks are being investigated by the NFL for their treatment of a late-season knee injury suffered by Sherman, which coach Pete Carroll called “significant.’’ Despite that, the Seahawks did not list it on any injury report, which the NFL could decide is in violation of rules regarding the league’s policies on disclosing injuries.
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Part of the Seahawks’ defense will be that Sherman never missed a snap of practice or in a game due to the injury, and that he played in the Pro Bowl also will likely factor into Seattle’s argument that the team shouldn’t be punished (ESPN has reported that a fifth-round pick the Seahawks are already due to lose for violating rules regarding off-season workouts could be elevated to a second due to the Sherman injury situation.)
Sherman’s interception helped set up what was the other big highlight for a Seattle player — a 47-yard touchdown catch by Doug Baldwin in the second quarter.
Sherman returned his pick of a pass by Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton to the NFC 42 and three plays later New Orleans’ Drew Brees hit Baldwin for a TD that tied the score at 7-7.
Earlier in the first half, Michael Bennett teamed with Bobby Wagner to force a fumble by DeMarco Murray that Bennett recovered, while Cliff Avril had a pass defensed.
Seattle players were quieter in the second half as the AFC outscored the NFC 13-7, though there were some highlights then, too.
Baldwin had two more catches in the second half for 20 yards, finishing with three for 67 yards for the game.
Avril had a sack with 2:53 let in the fourth quarter on third down to force a punt that set up the NFC’s final possession to try to tie game, with the AFC leading at the time 20-13.
Tight end Jimmy Graham, meanwhile, had five catches for 29 yards for the game. But Graham also had a pass thrown to him on a fade route in the end zone in the fourth quarter that he couldn’t bring in under what for the Pro Bowl passes as tight coverage.
And then, after he made a catch on third down to keep a final NFC drive alive, Graham had a pass go through his hands at about the 5-yard line that was picked off by Lorenzo Alexander of Buffalo with just over one minute left.
That essentially ended the game and also helped hand defensive MVP honors to Alexander (Kansas City tight end Travis Kelcie was the offensive MVP).
Linebacker K.J. Wright, playing in his first Pro Bowl, had four tackles as did Wagner while Bennett had three tackles and two sacks and Avril two tackles and one sack. Sherman’s only statistic was the interception.
The seven Seahawks in the Pro Bowl tied a team record also set in 1984, 2005, 2014 and 2015.