None of it mattered to Richard Sherman. It didn’t matter what the critics and analysts predicted going into the game. It didn’t matter how good the New England Patriots’ offense had been in recent weeks, or how pinpoint Tom Brady was with his passes early on in the game.
In Sherman’s mind, there was no doubt that the Seattle Seahawks would find a way to prevail on defense Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
“They are running this gimmick, hurry-up stuff. You don’t do that in the NFL,” Sherman said. “It’s not effective because there are great defenses out there.”
And Sherman and his colleagues consider themselves a great defense. They came into the game rated No. 1 in the NFL. The Seahawks likely won’t keep that top spot this week – not after giving up 475 yards, including 395 yards passing to Brady. But ratings and stats mean little to them. The Patriots managed just six points in the second half, which was good enough for Seattle to win, 24-23.
“I really don’t care about the yards (or) all that stuff on paper as long as we get the wins,” safety Earl Thomas said. “And we got the win.”
Of Brady’s 395 yards passing, 216 came in the first half on 21-of-30 accuracy. In the second half, Brady completed 15 of 28 passes for 179 yards and was picked off by Sherman and Thomas. Sherman’s third-quarter pick was the first for Brady in 179 attempts.
“They’re going to say, ‘What’s wrong? He threw two picks,’ ” Sherman said. “Well, he should have thrown five picks. If Earl catches every one, then it’s a long day for him. People don’t understand. We’ve got great players out here. We’ve got great players in the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle Seahawks have a lot of talent. People, they don’t look at the film. They don’t analyze anything. That’s why these analysts and commentators need to shut their mouth.”
Of course, Sherman won’t be shutting his mouth any time soon. It’s part of the reason why Thomas looked over at his still-ranting teammate postgame and said, “That guy was born for TV.”
Sherman started talking before the game, kept it going during the game and was still going an hour after the game.
Brady was a target for much of the conversation. Every time Brady would complete a pass against him, it just made Sherman want to talk more.
“I kept saying I’m going to get that next time,” Sherman said. “Every TV timeout, I went up and said it right to him: ‘Please keep trying me. I’m going to take it from you.’ That was when they were winning. He just gave me that look and said, ‘Oh, I’ll see you after game.’ Well, I made sure I saw him after the game.”
Despite Brady’s production, limiting the Patriots to three field goals and one touchdown in six red zone opportunities was an accomplishment.
“We had a good game plan,” Thomas said. Everything they showed us we had prepared for it.”
The hurry-up offense led by Brady gave Seattle issues early, and wide receiver Wes Welker, who caught 10 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown, gave the Seahawks headaches all game.
But the Seahawks thought it was just a matter of time till they figured out how to slow the fastbreak offense down.
“We figured out early in the game what their calls were, what they were doing, what the adjustments were and then we started playing better,” Sherman said. “That’s why they only scored six points in the second half.”
Thomas could only look at the first half and think of what might have been.
“We had a couple of chances where we could have changed the game around more and the score wouldn’t have been as close,” Thomas said, pointing to himself as the prime example.
In the second quarter, with the Patriots in the red zone, Thomas dropped a sure interception. There was no one in front of him and likely no one to catch him. Brady threw a touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez three plays later.
“I dropped two of them,” Thomas lamented.
But he caught one in the fourth quarter with the Patriots in the red zone that proved to be huge for the Seahawks.