As the Seahawks prepared to face their NFC West rivals last week, Richard Sherman had a request for his coach.
With the 49ers in town, Sherman wanted Anquan Boldin.
Normally in Seattle’s defense, the cornerbacks play on their side of the field and cover whoever is lined up across from them. The Seahawks trust their corners, all of them, enough that they don’t feel the need to move Sherman, or Brandon Browner when he’s healthy, to deal with a certain threat.
But with Browner out with a hamstring injury, and with Boldin coming off of a 13-catch, 208-yard performance, Sherman wanted to follow Boldin around all night long.
“I asked coach for the challenge,” Sherman said. “I wanted to follow him. There was a lot said this week; he had a great game last weekend… There’s a lot of talk about elite corners, and who follows who, etcetera, etcetera. I wanted to negate that.
“When BB’s out the defense gets a little different. Obviously Walter (Thurmond) and Byron (Maxwell) did a great job—shoot, they’re elite caliber corners—but I asked for it. It was no disrespect to those guys, they’re great corners, but I wanted the matchup.”
Sherman got what he wanted, shadowing Boldin for much of the night, and the Seahawks got the desired result, a 29-3 victory that saw Boldin catch just one pass for seven yards.
“Being physical,” Sherman said when asked what was the key to dealing with Boldin. “A lot of people think he’s just going to out-physical you the whole game. I think I countered that with physicality.”
Of course Sherman would be the first to tell you that a lot more went into the defense shutting down the 49ers than just his performance, which included a fourth-quarter interception and subsequent dance with the Sea Gals.
The Seahawks stuffed the run, allowing San Francisco’s running backs to gain just 13 yards on 11 carries. There were three sacks of Colin Kaepernick, one of which forced a fumble, and the entire secondary did its job, holding Kaepernick to 13 completions in 28 attempts and 127 yards.
“A lot of people said, ‘Do they live up to the hype? Are they the best secondary in the league?’” Sherman said. “There’s a lot of talk, a lot of hearsay. And we just keep putting it on film. That’s all we do, we go out there and put it on film again. Earl Thomas, All-Pro safety, put it on film again. Took points off the board. Kam Chancellor, Pro Bowl safety, showed it again. We do exactly what we’re supposed today… We’re just the best secondary on the field. We don’t have to talk about it.”