(SportsNetwork.com) – Colin Kaepernick can already here the whispers and they
will only grow louder if he fails again in two weeks.
On the surface it seems like the Seattle Seahawks have the athletic
quarterback’s number, a narrative further fueled on Thanksgiving Day when
Richard Sherman’s two interceptions highlighted a dominant Seattle defensive
effort as the Seahawks downed Kaepernick’s 49ers, 19-3, in the latest edition
of football’s fiercest rivalry.
“We just didn’t play well,” a disappointed Kaepernick said.
And the outspoken Sherman, whose key defensive stop against Kaepernick and
Michael Crabtree in January’s NFC Championship Game helped vault the Seahawks
into the Super Bowl, didn’t miss his chance to pile on after he and his ‘mates
held the San Francisco offense to just 164 total yards.
“What history? I know no history,” Sherman joked. “There was an opponent
(Kaepernick) who said he would throw it to the open man. He didn’t care who
was out there (in coverage). I was the open man.”
That was a nod to earlier in the week when Kaepernick affirmed he wouldn’t shy
away from throwing at Sherman despite the All-Pro’s reputation as the game’s
best cornerback and his previous high-profile success against the Niners.
“They were bad throws,” Kaepernick admitted. “Our receivers won. I didn’t make
the throw on those. Those were my fault.”
Back in January, the Seahawks edged out the 49ers 23-17 in Seattle, scoring 13
unanswered points and going ahead on Russell Wilson’s 35-yard touchdown pass
to Jermaine Kearse in the fourth quarter.
Kaepernick was able to move his team from its own 22 to the Seattle 18-yard
line before his pass attempt to Crabtree in the back-right corner of the end
zone was tipped by Sherman and intercepted by Seahawks linebacker Malcolm
Smith to seal the outcome.
After the game, Sherman came over and slapped Crabtree on his rear and stuck
his hand out, but the Niners wide receiver responded by smacking Sherman in
Sherman wasn’t done as he exploded into a TV camera during an interview on the
field that he was the best cornerback in the game while labeling Crabtree a
Revenge wasn’t in the cards for either Kaepernick or Crabtree on Turkey Day.
“I was laughing the whole time,” the boastful Sherman said. “I told their
sideline if they threw it my way I would end the game.”
With Sherman shutting down one side of the football field Kaepernick threw for
only 121 yards on 16-of-29 passing as the 49ers had their three-game win
streak come to an end and more importantly fell behind Seattle in the ultra-
tough NFC West with only four games to play.
“They are a good defense, they play fast, they play physical,” Kaepernick
said. “We just have to be able to make plays.”
But are they capable of making plays against Sherman and Co.?
“Somebody said they threw at (Sherman) five times and he had two picks,”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He was all over it. I’m really fired up for
him because there’s been a lot of scrutiny (on Sherman) and a lot of people
watching what he was going to do in this game. He went out and played really
good fundamental football, as he has all season.”
And that’s no anomaly.
Kaepernick has started five games against the Seahawks and amassed a 1-4
record while completing just 77-of-146 passes for 820 yards with three
touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Against teams who don’t have Sherman suiting up, Kaepernick has thrown 50
touchdowns versus only 15 interceptions.
“If your quarterback doesn’t play well, it’s going to be hard for you to win
games,” Kaepernick said.
Sherman also left plenty of darts for Crabtree, purposefully ignoring the
Niners’ best receiver while handing out accolades to his complementary pieces.
“I have respect for their receivers,” Sherman said. “Stevie (Johnson) is very
talented. Anquan (Boldin) has been a terror in this league for a while.
Brandon Lloyd as well. Obviously, you guys know I’m minus one.”
After taking a 10-month respite before Thursday’s game, the rivalry will renew
much more suddenly as the two teams are scheduled to meet again in Seattle on
Dec. 14 in football’s loudest environment.
And Kaepernick knows what needs to be done to stop the whispers — win in
Seattle, something only two teams have been able to do since Wilson took over
the Seahawks in 2012.
“We have to win out in order to have a shot to get into the playoffs.”
And exorcise the demon that is Richard Sherman.