Richard Sherman wasn’t thinking about Michael Crabtree this time when he was asked if anything about this Seahawks domination of San Francisco was “mediocre.”
“Yeah, their fans,” Seattle’s All-Pro cornerback said of the 49ers’ new Levi’s Stadium that emptied throughout the second half of the Seahawks’ 19-3 rout of the home team Thursday night.
“Their fans. Their fans were,” Sherman said after his fourth two-interception game of his career. “Their fans, you know, threw a few jabs. And then someone of them threw a glass bottle at the end, as we were jogging in.
“You know, you never have to resort to name-calling and some of the things they said. It really just helps you appreciate your own fans. It helps you appreciate the 12th Man and how classy an organization we have and how classy our fans are — and how they stay through the whole game regardless of the outcome.”
Sherman widened and raised his eyes high above his patterned black-and-white suit and white bow tie with that comment. Yes, he noticed most of the 70,000 or so who had been in the building were long gone by the middle of the fourth quarter.
“Yeah,” Sherman said, “I waved them goodbye.”
Sherman’s first interception set up Seattle’s only touchdown, in the first quarter. Colin Kaepernick rolled to his right and tried to throw a deep stutter-step-and-comeback route to Brandon Lloyd at the sideline against Seattle’s three-deep zone coverage. It’s a route that Sherman admits has given him problems this season.
This time, Kaepernick threw 4 yards behind Lloyd’s break — directly to Sherman at the San Francisco 45 for what might have been his easiest interception since Pop Warner.
In the fourth quarter with Seattle leading 19-3 and eight minutes to go, Sherman was yapping at the 49ers’ sideline that “if you throw it my way, I’m going to end the game.” Kaepernick did, on a pass in the short flat for Stevie Johnson that Sherman intercepted.
He should have had his first three-interception game, but he allowed another of so many errant Kaepernick passes to drop through his arms and hands as he fell to the turf in the second quarter.
Sherman settled for the two picks — and some crowing.
“He said he was throwing to the open man; he didn’t care who was out there,” Sherman said. “I was the open man.”
FLAG DAY AND NIGHT (CONTINUED)
The biggest minus in a night full of Seahawks plusses were the continued rash of penalties, especially on defense.
Seattle had 14 penalties for 105 yards. Two defensive-holding calls, one on defensive end Cliff Avril and the other Sherman, and an offside on Avril extended San Francisco’s only scoring drive to a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter.
An offensive pass-interference foul on tailback Robert Turbin, who was split out wide right and ran a slant pattern into a defender as teammate Paul Richardson caught a short pass outside him, negated what would have been a 7-yard scoring pass to the rookie wide receiver. Instead of a 20-0 lead, Seattle settled for a third field goal by Steven Hauschka and a 16-0 lead.
“We’re just running a slant route,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We wish the officials would see that it’s a route and they ran into each other. And that’s it.”
For the season, the Seahawks have been called for 102 penalties. Their opponents have committed 51 accepted fouls.
“The cavern between our penalties and their penalties, again … All I can tell you is we’re working at it,” Carroll said. “We’re really playing hard and really aggressive so it’s kind of like last year (when Seattle won the Super Bowl while leading the NFL in flags). … You’ve got to be first in something I guess, so that’s what it is.
“The only thing is I wish they called some penalties on the other guys. We’ve got our own problems on one side but I just wish they called some on the other guys. … The cavern grows wider.”
LANE SITS OUT
Jeremy Lane was inactive because of a gluteus muscle injury, his eighth game missed this season because of injury. That led to the return to prominence of Tharold Simon, who played cornerback while usual corner Byron Maxwell went inside to nickel on passing downs.
There were no surprises with Seattle’s other inactives: Rookie linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, reserve linebacker Allen Bradford, Unger, former 49ers defensive tackle Travian Robertson, No. 3 tight end Cooper Helfet and reserve TE RaShaun Allen.
Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs, another former 49er who was questionable to play because of a sore knee, was active.