49ers’ Sherman returns as Seahawks surge on
The decision to part with Richard Sherman – along with several other impact veterans – was supposed to be part of the cumulative reason the Seattle Seahawks would finally take a step back. This was going to be the rebuild season, even if no one with the Seahawks ever wanted to use that word.
Sherman will see his former team up close Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers face the Seahawks. He will find a Seattle team that’s not backsliding. Instead, Seattle (6-5) has won two straight and has a direct path to an NFC playoff berth in a season no one really expected the Seahawks to be in the conversation at the beginning of December.
The players who stepped in for the likes of Sherman and other veterans who departed after last season have brought a youthful exuberance. That has created a fun environment in Seattle only amplified by the Seahawks’ success.
“This game is too crazy to not have fun and it’s definitely a point of emphasis for me, just for the guys that came in and were stepping into a lot of key positions, to not worry about who they were replacing or who you were coming behind, “Seattle star linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
Fun has come around sparingly in San Francisco this season. The 49ers (2-9) were supposed to be in Seattle’s position of competing for a playoff spot. But injuries – namely the loss of QB Jimmy Garoppolo – derailed those hopes early in the season.
“I do think we’re going through this for a reason. I do think it can make us better,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “A lot of guys have gotten to play a lot that normally wouldn’t be able to play, and I hope that helps us find some things out about people this year and helps us build this team better next year.”
Here’s what else to watch as the Seahawks and 49ers meet for the first of two games in 14 days: Man in the middle: The 49ers handed Fred Warner big responsibility when they inserted him at middle linebacker and made him the defensive play caller as a rookie.
Warner has been one of the bright spots with his ability to get the defense in the right calls and thrive against both the run and pass. He will have a tough test this week against Wilson. Turnover trials: San Francisco is last in the NFL with just five takeaways. The Niners have just two interceptions and haven’t forced a turnover in the last three games.
House of horrors: Playing in Seattle has led only to disappointment for the 49ers in recent years. The Niners have lost their past seven trips, including the 2013 NFC title game, getting outscored by more than 15 points per game. San Francisco’s last win here came in 2011 with Alex Smith at quarterback.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman returns to Seattle this week, where he went to two Super Bowls, winning one. Sherman, who the Seahawks cut in March, said last week that Seattle should have one more than one championship and was broken up too soon.