Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks almost intercepts a pass by the Los Angeles Rams at CenturyLink Field on December 15, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree and Kevin Shockey
SEATTLE - After a near interception from the 1-yard line with close to four minutes remaining in the third quarter of Thursday night's 24-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman engaged in a heated discussion on the sidelines with members of Seattle's coaching staff.
Russell Wilson had nearly been intercepted by Rams linebacker Bryce Hager on a throw toward the back-right corner of the end zone intended for Jimmy Graham. The ball caromed off of Graham and eventually was corralled by Hager only to be ruled out of bounds by the officiating crew. The play was reviewed but the call stood as an incomplete pass.
Sherman engaged in an argument with what appeared to be offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on the sideline after the sequence, which ended in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Doug Baldwin.
"I don't like it when we throw the ball at the 1," Sherman said in addressing what had upset him. "We throw an interception at the 1, luckily it went incomplete and I wasn't going to let them continue to do that."
Sherman said he was trying to let head coach Pete Carroll know how he felt about an interception at the goal line. Memories of the final play of Super Bowl XLIX were clearly at the front of his mind when expressing his displeasure with the play that nearly resulted in a turnover.
"I'm upset about us throwing from the 1," Sherman said. "I'd rather do what most teams would do and make a conscientious decision to run the ball straight up the middle.
"We've already seen how that goes. I'm sure you guys have seen that play enough times."
The play Sherman is referencing is the slant to Ricardo Lockette from the 1-yard line that was intercepted by Malcolm Butler to deny the Seahawks a second straight Super Bowl victory.
Asked if he got the result he wanted, Sherman said: "It went great. They ran the ball the next play. It got stuffed and then they figured out a way to get it into the end zone."
Carroll tried to downplay the issue after the game.
"He was fired up. It was good," he said. "Between what he was saying and Doug was saying, Doug was saying give me the ball and Richard was saying something else and I needed those two guys to go sit down and have a little timeout and talk it over and see what we should do next."
When asked if it was about the play-calling, he said: "No, no. It was nothing. It was just guys being fired up."
Sherman said otherwise.
"I was letting Pete know," he said. "I was making sure Pete knew that we're not comfortable with you throwing the ball at the 1."
Carroll later approached Sherman in the locker room and spoke to him for several minutes. Sherman began to walk away as Carroll continued the conversation. After saying a few more things, Carroll left the meeting shaking his head.
Linebacker Bobby Wagner eventually got between Sherman and Bevell on the sideline and all returned to normal on the sidelines. Nevertheless, it's not normal - even on a team that speaks as freely as nearly any team in the league - for a player to be directly critical of a coach's decision.
When Sherman was angered and argued with defensive coordinator Kris Richard earlier this season after a touchdown pass allowed to Julio Jones in a game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sherman and the team said it was just a matter of being passionate about the game and not wanting those types of breakdowns to happen.
Sherman's comments clearly take aim at Bevell and the struggles of an offense that just can't find it's way.
Despite many chances for members of Seattle's defense to be critical of their offense in this past, this is the most blatant commentary on the performance of the offense by a fellow teammate.
"One-hundred percent," Sherman said in regards to if it was his place to be so outspoken about the offense. "We go out there. We battle. We don't give away our battle. You honor our sacrifice."