Sherman was also adamant his scrum-inducing hit on Marcus Mariota was legal — and says the Titans QB agreed with him.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Richard Sherman was called for three penalties on one play Sunday, and got flagged for another in the second quarter that ignited a brief sideline brawl.
But as he made clear at the time with his protests, Sherman said later he wasn’t sure he was deserving of any of the penalties, all part of what was a flag-marred first half.
Sherman’s first penalty came on a third-down pass in the first quarter when officials decided he had interfered with Tennessee receiver Eric Decker. A Marcus Mariota pass intended for Decker instead flew into the hands of Kam Chancellor for an apparent interception.
But then a flag flew. And then another as Sherman was called for holding Decker on the return.
When Sherman took off his helmet to argue, he then was hit with another penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Sherman said later he thought he handled everything correctly in undercutting Decker and jumping the route.
“The flag came after Kam caught the ball,’’ Sherman said. “You don’t have a problem with the flag being thrown if they called what they called (during the play). But when it happens after a big play, then it raises some eyebrows, raises some suspicions. Then his explanation was very poor.’’
Sherman said he was trying to ask what the refs said and an official told him, “Get away from me. But I can ask what you saw — I’m not disrespecting you in any way. I want to know what you saw so I can correct my decision.’’
Sherman’s attempt to get that information continued through a timeout when he had a long discussion with umpire John King.
“That had a huge impact on the game,’’ Sherman said. “That’s a turnover. We played the play right, did everything we were supposed to do and then you make that call. His explanation was that I had pulled Eric by inside his jersey or something like that, which is a strange call for him to make because we are face-to-face and he’s at Eric’s back. So either he has X-ray vision or I am missing something. So I need a better explanation than that because there’s no way you saw anything from that angle.’’
In the second quarter, Sherman hit Mariota as he was running out of bounds to the Titans’ sideline. That had Tennessee players leaping to Mariota’s defense, with players on each side then getting involved.
Sherman said he felt the hit was legal and said Mariota told him that later.
“He was still in bounds so I play until the blow of the whistle,’’ Sherman said. “If the quarterback slides, or kind of gives himself up or does something like that, then you stop. But, if there’s still yards that he’s gaining, you’re taught to play to the whistle. It’s so crazy the way the game is nowadays. (Mariota) came up to me and said good hit because he understood that I’m playing till the blow of the whistle. I’m not waiting until you took two steps out of bounds. It’s a game of inches and you can’t give up anything, and it’s just one of those plays. It’s football. It seems like the world is getting a lot softer in terms of the way it’s officiated and the way it’s seen, but it’s football at the end of the day.’’
The penalties awarded to Sherman and others involved in the play all offset.
Mariota said little about the play after the game. When asked if he was disappointed there was not a penalty for the hit, Mariota said: “Not at all, it’s part of the game. I appreciate the guys coming over, but it’s part of it.”
Players can be ejected for two specific unsportsmanlike calls but because Sherman’s were technically different he was not subject to ejection though it appeared that the officials were considering it — one could be seen making a thumb eject motion as the play was being discussed.
Chancellor later wondered if the extracurricular activities in the first half helped sap some of the team’s energy. Carroll seemed to agree.
“It was energy we didn’t need to be expending, that’s for sure,’’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Sherman was trying to get an explanation on the call and he got too hot and made a mistake and got a penalty on him.’’
Sherman said he thought some of the flags that went against Tennessee a little later might have been influenced by his talks with officials.
“I thought it was necessary,’’ he said. “Did you see the offensive PI they called later on, the holding call? It was necessary energy. Those are obviously makeup calls and obviously it helped our team and kept them out of scoring range. I hate makeup calls just as much as the next man but if you don’t call it in the first place then we don’t have to make it up.’’
Seahawks tailback Eddie Lacy was officially active Sunday.
But that’s as active as Lacy got as he did not play in the game.
Carroll said he had hoped to use Lacy but the way the game went prevented it.
“How many times did we run the ball, about 15 times today?’’ Carroll asked. “We didn’t get a chance.”
Thomas Rawls played but did not have a carry, the first time since the second game of his career in 2015 that he was active but did not have a carry.
Seattle appeared to have one significant injury as backup linebacker and special teamer Dewey McDonald suffered what Carroll said was a potential ACL injury on the opening kickoff.
Receiver Doug Baldwin also suffered what Carroll said was “a groin strain of some degree. I don’t know what the degree is.’’
Baldwin declined to talk about the injury later but when asked if he hoped play next week, he said he’d like to.