For his latest trick, Richard Sherman made a fellow All-Pro mostly disappear in front of 91,486 people in a mammoth stadium and million more watching on national television.
Seahawks’ safety Earl Thomas was so excited by Sherman’s shadowing of Dallas’ Dez Bryant on Sunday, he gave his teammate the highest compliment he could think of.
“I never seen a nerd ballin’ like that,” Thomas said of the Stanford graduate following Seattle’s 13-12 escape past the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
Sherman had spent most of his first four seasons anchored to his left-cornerback spot. But this season he’s been inside at nickel back in September at Green Bay against Randall Cobb, on A.J. Green all over the field in Cincinnati last month and last week shutting down San Francisco’s Torrey Smith to zero catches and just one target.
He learned Saturday he would be shadowing Bryant, though it had been widely assumed since Wednesday when Bryant returned to practice. Bryant played his first game since breaking a bone in his foot in Dallas’ opener. He caught two passes for 12 yards on six targets by fill-in quarterback Matt Cassel. Sherman had four pass breakups, a tackle of Bryant for a 3-yard loss on a wide-receiver screen that was Bryant’s first catch in the third quarter and had an interception broken up by Bryant, who committed offensive interference against him down the sidelines.
Sherman held Bryant to his lowest output in 24 games dating to Dec. 9, 2013, at Chicago.
“He was ballin’!” Thomas bellowed afterward.
Sherman was inside jumping slant routes. He was riding Bryant out beyond the sideline boundary on go routes. He had inside position over the top on deep balls.
Sherman was a large reason why Dallas managed just 97 yards passing with a quarterback who wasn’t on its team at the season’s start.
“Fantastic,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Sherman’s day.
“(Dez) was all pumped up to come back and be a factor in the game, which he always is. I thought Sherm was just there in so many instances.
Sherman just shrugged while sitting inside his locker afterward. After all, it’s why the Seahawks are paying their three-time All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection a team-high $10 million guaranteed this season.
“Just doing what my coaches ask me to do,” he said. “Thankfully I was able to do my job effectively.
“I don’t think there’s any key. I just played a hard game. He’s a phenomenal receiver, one of the best … I was able to get my hands on a few. He was able to get his hands on a few.
“I have great respect for the man.”
Bryant wasn’t exactly on as high as a road in the opposite locker room.
Then again, he didn’t have Tony Romo throwing to him; Dallas’ brightest star is out until at least Nov. 22 with a broken clavicle. Plus, Bryant appeared to be favoring his foot on some routes.
“Let me get something straight real quick: Hey man, nobody didn’t get locked down over here,” Bryant said. “Let’s get real. I understand our situation.
“So come on with it, man. Look at the tape, right? Come on!”
HAUSCHKA’S PERFECTION ENDS
Steven Hauschka’s field goal to end Seattle’s 12-play drive that began the game extended his streak of consecutive makes to begin the season to 17. It was 23 in a row dating back to a Dec. 21 game last year, in which he missed three against Arizona.
Those remain his only kicks wide of the goal posts in the past 12 months.
Sunday his attempt for 18 in a row ended when Dallas’ 6-foot-7 defensive end David Irving leaped and blocked Hauschka’s 47-yard try early in the fourth quarter with the Seahawks down 12-10.
“I feel that I caught it good,” Hauschka said. “But, you know, stuff happens.”
Stuff like a 6-7 guy leaping at the line.
Hauschka got his redemption from 24 yards with 1:06 to go, which ended up being Seattle’s winning points. Irving couldn’t get to that one. It leaves Hauschka 51 for 58 the past two seasons.
“Anytime you get redemption like that it is great,” he said. “I think most importantly, though, when you come out on top as a team that’s the best feeling — especially in an emotional game like this where one of our guys (receiver and special-teams ace Ricardo Lockette) got taken off in a cart before halftime.
“I think a lot of guys were playing for Lockette. It was an emotional game.”
LT Russell Okung did not dress because of the ankle he sprained in practice Thursday. That left Alvin Bailey, who had struggled mightily in spot roles this season, matched up with Cowboys supreme pass rusher Greg Hardy. But counter to Seattle’s fears, Bailey did not give up a sack. No Seahawks lineman did for the first time this season. … Drew Nowak started at center, turned his ankle and missed a few plays in the second quarter while Lemuel Jeanpierre replaced him, then returned and played the rest of the game. Patrick Lewis, who had started two games ago then missed last week’s win at San Francisco with an ankle injury, was active but did not play. … Bryce Brown, the former Eagles and Bills running back signed Tuesday, was inactive for his first Seahawks game because Thomas Rawls recovered more quickly from a calf injury than initially expected. Rawls ran four times for 10 yards. … The Seahawks report Monday for film review and treatment, then are off from Tuesday through Sunday on their bye week. They return to practice Nov. 9 for the home game against Arizona on Nov. 15.