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SEATTLE – Richard Sherman made a statement with his deflection that sealed the victory.
And then he kept talking and talking and talking.
Sherman, the mouthy All-Pro cornerback, took aim at 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree in the immediate aftermath of the Seattle Seahawks’ 23-17 victory in the NFC Championship game.
“I’m the best corner in the game,” Sherman shouted during his postgame interview with FOX’s Erin Andrews, “when you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get.”
Trailing 23-17 with 30 seconds remaining, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he liked the matchup of Crabtree facing single coverage on the outside against Sherman.
Kaepernick lofted the pass toward Crabtree in the back right corner of the end zone. Sherman made a leaping deflection and linebacker Malcolm Smith recorded the interception to clinch the victory.
“I really appreciate that, Kap,” said Sherman, a third-year player from Stanford, where he played under 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. “You try me like that. I hadn’t gotten many opportunities all game. I’m happy. I’m happy about that.”
Sherman said he directed a "choke" gesture at Kaepernick following the play.
Sherman led the NFL with eight interceptions during the regular season. He was named a first-team All Pro. When asked if he was surprised the 49ers challenged him on such a crucial play, Sherman answered, “I think everybody in the stadium was surprised. You do that, it’s a mistake.”
Kaepernick said the only mistake he made was not putting the ball where he wanted to throw it. Kaepernick did not regret his decision to throw it for Crabtree and test Sherman.
“I could have put it a little deeper in the corner, and gave only Crab a chance,” Kaepernick said.
Afterward in his press conference, Sherman repeatedly referred to Crabtree as a “mediocre” wide receiver.
When asked if Sherman showed a lack of respect, Crabtree said, “He’s a TV guy. I’m not a TV guy. I play ball. He makes one play and he talks. Good play.”