Sherman blames bad calls for loss to 49ers
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman allowed Frank Gore to rumble for 51 yards before tracking him down in the fourth. (USATSI)
SAN FRANCISCO – This was exactly the kind of game 49ers safety Donte Whitner expected.
But the 49ers’ 19-17 victory on Sunday at Candlestick Park came as a surprise to the Seattle Seahawks' talkative cornerback, Richard Sherman.
Whitner and Sherman could agree on one thing, though. Both players expect the 49ers and Seahawks to meet again when the stakes are much greater.
“We didn’t project it to be this way,” said Sherman, a Stanford product who played for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. “We expected to blow them out, but they got the benefit of a few calls throughout the game and that helps you especially on third down. We will see them again, and it’ll be a different result.”
Sherman was called twice for defensive holding on third downs in the second quarter. One play against Michael Crabtree resulted in an accepted penalty for a first down, and the 49ers ultimately scored a field goal as a result. Another penalty was declined when Anquan Boldin still managed to catch a 27-yard pass against Sherman, leading to a late-first-half touchdown.
Sherman said the return of Crabtree did not make any difference. Crabtree did not play the first 11 games of the season while rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn Achilles.
"It didn't make a difference," Sherman said. "It didn't make a difference at all. . . The penalties, that's what made the difference today."
The Seahawks still lead the NFC West with an 11-2 record, while the 49ers are in position to be a wild-card team with a 9-4 mark. The hard-fought victory came after the 49ers were soundly beaten in Seattle by a combined 71-16 score.
“We felt like it was a statement game,” Whitner said. “We felt like it wasn’t just an ordinary game because it’s not. That’s our rival. They’re on top of the division. We feel like this is our division. We felt like we had to make a statement today, and we did.”
Whitner said he expects the rubber match between the 49ers and Seahawks will take place in the playoffs.
“Yeah, we believe it’ll come down to us and them, probably at their place,” Whitner said. “That’s the kind of game you want. We have to go there, where we haven’t won (the past two seasons). It’s going to be loud environment. It’s going to be for the big one.”