Shades on, demeanor stern, Richard Sherman walked the hallway from the Seahawks’ visiting locker room to their buses waiting outside Qualcomm Stadium. The star cornerback only stopped to oblige three autograph seekers but made it clear he was in no mood for anything else.
“I’m not talking,” the usually loquacious All-Pro said when approached for a comment on the Seahawks’ sixth loss in their last 31 regular-season and postseason games, 30-21, on a steamy Sunday.
Keenan Allen? He was in much more of a talking vibe in the other locker room.
The Chargers’ wide receiver caught the first three passes Philip Rivers threw in Sherman’s direction, for 31 yards. As Rivers had promised on Wednesday, he and the Chargers didn’t at all do what Green Bay had done in completely avoiding Sherman the week before, when Seattle roasted the Packers by 20 points.
Days after saying “I need the ball,” Sherman had it come his way a half-dozen times, though three of those plays were tackles Sherman made coming off other assignments. The three catches directly on Sherman were on routes broken off in front of him or run outside of him.
“He’s just a normal guy,” Allen, a second-year pro from the University of California, said of Sherman, a fourth-year veteran from Stanford. “We can go at him. We are not going to shy away from him.”
Allen didn’t stop there.
“He’s not really a shutdown corner,” Allen said of the NFL leader with eight interceptions last season. “We definitely wanted to come out and show we could go any way we wanted to, and that we were in control of the game. Wherever we wanted to go with it we were going to go with it.”
As the Seahawks traveled home Sunday night, Sherman learned word out of the Chargers’ locker room was he got “exposed.” He used Twitter as his only public response.
“Lmao Exposed? .... Complete 3 passes 0 touchdowns 0 explosive passes.... These guys make me laugh,” Sherman tweeted.
Allen finished with five catches overall on six targets for 55 yards. Once, Sherman turned his back on Allen and on Rivers’ throw, as if expecting a deep route while Allen broke off a slant well in front of Sherman for a 14-yard gain to the Seattle 6. That set up San Diego’s first touchdown, a pass from Rivers to Antonio Gates that made it 10-7 in the first quarter and erased Seattle’s only lead.
Rivers was 28 of 37 for 284 yards and three touchdowns and a gaudy passer rating of 124.2.
“We like that matchup,” Rivers said of Allen versus Sherman, “not in the sense that, ‘Oh, that was our star guy. Go after Sherman,’ by any means,” Rivers said. “He’s a heck of a corner. And Keenan made a few plays on him today. We did like Keenan’s ability to get off press coverage.”
That was before Allen went off a bit on Sherman.
But, no, sorry, these former AFC West rivals aren’t scheduled to play again this season. Or in the next two regular seasons after this one, either.