Richard Sherman is an outstanding corner. Perhaps the best in football.
He's a tough, smart, incredibly gifted player who, when he came out of Stanford in 2011, wasn't well-regarded as a prospect because of a slow 40-yard dash time. Seattle took him in the 5th round of the 2011 NFL Draft, two spots below where the Colts would have drafted in that round had then-GM Chris Polian not traded that pick to move up in the second round to draft Villanova tackle Ben Ijalana.
This move is one of many reasons why Chris Polian was sent packing in 2011. He now works for the 0-5 Jaguars.
Anyway, Sherman is awesome. I honestly cannot say enough good things about his game. Watch the tape of what he did to San Francisco's Anquan Boldin in Week 2, and you'll get what I'm saying.
That said, on Sunday, Richard Sherman (a.k.a., best corner in football) was completely dominated by Colts wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne. In fact, the domination was so thorough, it was near-embarrassing for Sherman.
To use a basketball analogy, the 5'9 Hilton dunked on the 6'3 Sherman, and, in the process, stuffed his nutz in Sherman's face.
Here's Associated Press' Michael Marot providing a breakdown of two of Sherman's many goofs on Sunday:
Hilton's 73-yard score came on a blown coverage on Sherman's side of the field, and he was called for pass interference on a crucial third-down play early in the fourth quarter. That 16-yard penalty allowed Luck to continue moving the ball and resulted in 6-minute, 40-second drive that ended with Brown's go-ahead scoring run.
Both Hilton and Wayne combined for 11 catches for 205 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 18.6 yards-a-catch. Hilton himself averaged a stunning 28 yards-per-catch!
This was against, arguably, the best secondary in football. You could tell Hilton and the wideouts had gotten under Sherman's skin when, after Hilton's amazing 73-yard TD catch and run, Sherman was seen frustrated with teammate, who took a bad angle to in an attempt to tackle Hilton after the second-year receiver had scorched Sherman. Following Hilton's first touchdown, both players were seen on the sidelines, completely befuddled as to how they'd been beaten so embarrassingly.
Andrew Luck and the Colts continued to go after Sherman the rest of the Seahawks corners in the second half, a tactic many would have viewed as INSANE if not for the fact that it worked! Sherman seemed shell-shocked after that first Hilton touchdown, and instead of getting back to playing coverage, he resorted to grabbing and holding the rest of the game, which he was eventually flagged for on that critical third-down.
That's not to say that the Colts receivers weren't guilty themselves of some illegal pushing and shoving. On the Colts two-point conversion following Donald Brown's touchdown run to get the lead back, Reggie Wayne pushed off on Richard Sherman and snatched Luck's across-the-body throw.
Reggie Wayne: "I definitely got away with a pushoff (on the two point conversion) but they were holding all game.''— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) October 6, 2013
The other corner who got slapped around on Sunday was Sherman's partner on the other side of the defense, Brandon Browner. Like Sherman, Browner is a noted trash talker. Prior to the game Sunday, Browner said something that he probably shouldn't have said:
"Browner said I'm light as (expletive)," Hilton told USA TODAY Sports after his sizzling performance helped the Indianapolis Colts post a 34-28 victory.
"He made me hit the light switch that nobody's seen," Hilton said. "He made that decision. So they should blame him."
Hilton ignited the Colts comeback with a 73-yard touchdown, when he lined up in the right slot and slipped through hole in zone coverage as he broke to the corner to haul in the deep pass from Andrew Luck. After evading safety Earl Thomas near the 20-yard line, he regained his balance and streaked down the sideline.
In the third quarter, he got his big revenge on Browner, burning the big, 6-4, 221-pound cornerback on a go route for a 29-yard TD.
Guess that's one way to respond to an insult.
"He pushed the button," Hilton said. "So he deserved it."
Hilton, though, can surely speak up for himself.
Just like with the 49ers, the Colts attacked the strength of the Seattle defense and beat them.
Seattle was outscored 11-0 in the fourth quarter on Sunday, a quarter the previously-unbeaten Seahawks had dominated all season. It's unlikely Indy's domination over the Seattle secondary will shut them up anytime soon, but it did provide the rest of the league with a bit of a blueprint for how to torch them.
Of course, having a great young talent like T.Y. Hilton certainly helps.