Pete Carroll loves his Seahawks to play, live and act on the edge.
Richard Sherman crossed over that edge Thursday night berating Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for calling a pass play from the 1-yard line during the 24-3 win over Los Angeles that clinched the Seahawks’ third NFC West title in four seasons.
Carroll said on his weekly day-after show on Seattle’s 710-AM radio he met for an hour with Sherman Friday morning and that the star cornerback knows “that wasn’t right” to call out the offense on the sidelines.
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“I understand how passionate he is. ... I love that about him,” Carroll said Friday. “Sometimes, it goes the wrong way.
“I just flat-out love the dude. We made it through it.”
Carroll and Sherman talking it out was from a different tone than the coach had Thursday night, when he brushed off Sherman screaming.
“I’m not even worried about it one bit,” Carroll said. “I talked to him on the sidelines and he was jacked up and ready to go and he went out and played a good series after that. What was said in there, it doesn’t matter. I know you would love to know more. You’ll probably figure out more. But I don’t care.
“Right now, that was one of our guys who has as much emotion and passion for this game as you could ever want. Sometimes it goes one way where you have to reel it back in. He did exactly that. He did a nice job of coming back to poise and finished the game really well.”
And Carroll is just fine with that.
Sherman said after the game he was yelling at Carroll, and for the offense calling a pass play from the 1 in the third quarter. Los Angeles’ Bryce Hager appeared to intercept that ball by ripping it from the hands and arms of Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham, but officials ruled Hager and Graham were beyond the back line of the end zone when each touched the ball and thus the pass incomplete. A replay review upheld that ruling.
Whatever. Sherman was still steamed the offense was passing from the 1.
He, all of the Pacific Northwest and the entire world, had seen this fail before for Seattle. Epically.
“I don’t like it when we throw the ball at the 1,” Sherman said at his locker, still in full uniform and wearing an NFC West division-champions cap 20 or so minutes after Thursday night’s game. “We threw an interception at the 1, and luckily it went incomplete. And I wasn't going to let them continue to do that.
“I was letting Pete know.”
How’d that go?
“Went great. They ran the ball the next play and got stuffed, and they figured out a way to get it into the end zone.
By passing. Wilson threw a 1-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin after an exquisite move by Baldwin juked his Rams defender back to SoCal.
Sherman eventually needed defensive coordinator Kris Richard to separate he and Bevell, who kept yelling back at Sherman.
“He was fired up,” Carroll said. “Fired UP.”
Teammate Kam Chancellor came in front of Sherman to try to calm him. Linebacker Bobby Wagner eventually, playfully, jumped on Sherman’s back to try to encourage him to rejoin the rest of the defense before it took the field for the Rams’ ensuing drive after the touchdown.
“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.”
Sherman was asked if he has earned the right, as a three-time All-Pro cornerback and a Super Bowl winner, to call out a coach.
“One-hundred percent,” he said. “We go out there. We sacrifice. We battle.
“You don’t give away our battle. You honor our sacrifice.”
Or, they coach, you play.
Ripping a coach for all to see, while he’s still trying to call plays, is not a recipe to achieve what they are all sacrificing for: to win a second Super Bowl. This is the second time this season Sherman has made such a public display of what on almost any other team in any sport would be considered insubordination – and dealt with accordingly. In October against Atlanta, Sherman roared at Richard on the same sideline, after a blown coverage resulted in the Falcons’ Julio Jones scoring a touchdown.
What it looked like from my seat in the press box Thursday: Sherman was venting as part of defense that is beyond tired of the offense being so inconsistent and, at times many defenders seem to believe, detrimental to the Seahawks’ chances at a Super Bowl.
And it looked bad.
In the bigger picture, Seattle (9-4-1) won another division title and will have a home playoff game. It still has two games against Arizona (5-7-1) on Christmas Eve and at San Francisco (1-12) to get its offense more consistent before the playoffs begin next month. And maybe make Sherman happier by then.
When the locker room had cleared and almost all the Seahawks had departed with their new NFC West-champion caps and T-shirts, Sherman and Carroll talked, according to what KJR-AM radio’s Kevin Shockey saw.
This could all be a mere sideshow to the Seahawks’ run into the playoffs.
But in the meantime, Sherman’s latest outburst is the product of one of the NFL’s best defenses waiting for the offense to catch up. To allow Seattle to realize whatever its full potential may still be.