Amidst the quagmire that was Sunday's matchup vs. Arizona, Seattle had very few bright spots. Questionable playcalling, protection breakdowns, and lack of chemistry between quarterback and receiver only begin to cover the problems Seattle had.
But for the rest of this article, I'm not going to focus on the negative. I'm pinpointing one of the bright spots, if not the brightest spot, for my analysis today. That bright spot, as you may have shrewdly guessed by my conspicuous title, is none other than Richard Sherman.
By now, we've fallen in love with the enormous corner, as his zany antics, impeccable dance skills, and Real Rob Report rants add a pleasant mix of humor and zest to the team. Luckily for us, Sherman can back up his goofiness with elite levels of play. Over the past year, numerous adjusted statistical studies occurred, and the results were undeniable: when Sherman started, the defense significantly improved. In 2011, Sherm put up numbers comparable to Darrelle Revis.
But onto the present (or far more recent past). Let's see how Sherman did this past week, matched up against one of the best Wide Receivers we will ever see play the game.
Fitzgerald finished the game with 4 catches for 64 yards. Even if all of these completions were against Sherman, that's not bad for a sophomore versus a legend type matchup.
Of those four completions, only two were against Sherman. One, a 3 yard dink pass, and two, a 23 yard back shoulder throw that is practically indefensible. The other two were a result of Seattle's inexplicable shift to zone defense during the "Kevin Kolb Komeback." Don't abbreviate that.
So through 3/4ths of a game, covering one of the best wideouts of all time, Richard Sherman surrendered two completions, of which only one was for more than a minimal gain. That, my friends, is phenomenal. Now, I do understand that Sherm drew some PI calls for what can only be labeled as "My brotha-ing" Fitzgerald. My expert analysis on those calls: Complete and utter horses***t.
And let's not forget Sherm's interception, otherwise known as the sickest play of all freaking time. The man is a machine, and he knows where the ball is due to his nose for the ball (circular reasoning and wordplay. Checkmate, atheists!). I've said this before (apologies for linking to my own B/R article), and took a lot of flack for it, but I genuinely think Richard Sherman is the best player on the Seahawks roster. He brings a game changing dynamic combined with a shutdown mentality that the team would be significantly worse without.
Overall, he is the cornerstone of our coverage team. I won't say our Defense in general, mostly because I don't think a corner can ever be the key player in a 4-3 scheme (or hybrid or whatever the hell we call our defense). But he is integral to the secondary, and his man coverage skills allow the defense to focus on other things, that stuffing the run. With that in mind, I'm just going to raise that question again: Why in the world did we suddenly put linebackers on Larry Fitzgerald when Kolb came in? Just food for thought.
To conclude. The Sherminator is vital to our defense going forward. He'll have incredible tests throughout the year, facing the likes of Megatron, Miles Austin/ Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, any Packers receivers, etc. So here's to you Ricky (can I call you Ricky?), don't know what we'd do without you.