RENTON, Wash. - Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll had to have a sit-down meeting with Richard Sherman on Friday after Seattle's star cornerback was openly critical of the coaching staff following Thursday night's 24-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
After an incident on the sidelines in the third quarter when Sherman was seen in an apparent argument with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Sherman was open about exactly what upset him when he spoke following the game.
"I don't like it when we throw the ball at the 1," Sherman said after the game. "We throw an interception at the 1, luckily it went incomplete and I wasn't going to let them continue to do that."
Russell Wilson had nearly been intercepted by Rams linebacker Bryce Hager on a throw toward the back right corner of the end zone intended for Jimmy Graham. The ball caromed off of Graham and eventually was corralled by Hager only to be ruled out of bounds by the officiating crew. The play was reviewed but the call stood as an incomplete pass.
The play seemed to be an all too similar reminder of the final play of Super Bowl XLIX, when Wilson was intercepted at the goal line by Malcolm Butler as the Seahawks came up a yard short of winning consecutive Super Bowls.
"I'm upset about us throwing from the 1," Sherman said. "I'd rather do what most teams would do and make a conscientious decision to run the ball straight up the middle.
"We've already seen how that goes. I'm sure you guys have seen that play enough times."
After a fullback dive from Marcel Reece didn't reach the goal line, Wilson completed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin to cap the drive.
It didn't do much to assuage Sherman's anger about the sequence.
Sherman was openly critical of the plays being calls and the execution of those plays by his teammates. Carroll had tried to downplay the significance of Sherman's sideline blowup after the game, but Sherman's comments led to the meeting in his office Friday morning.
"We had a terrific meeting today," Carroll said. "We addressed the issues of being a disruption or disturbing a moment in the game and all that and he didn't want to affect his team that way."
Sherman's criticism could be viewed as an act of insubordination toward Bevell and Carroll. Carroll seemed to agree, stating that their morning meeting was critical to how he handled the situation moving forward.
"I think if we weren't able to come back from that, I think so," Carroll said. "I think it would depend on how the meeting went. The meeting went very well and it was very clear. And I know the guy I'm talking to. I know him as well as you can know a guy. I know how he feels about it and I'm fine about what happened.
"That doesn't mean that it was OK. That doesn't mean that it isn't something that needed to be addressed. He's the only guy that was in my office this morning so we went right after it and I was going to make my decision on how to move forward based on what happened and how we communicated and I feel very good about it."
Sherman said he felt 100 percent justified in the comments he was making after the game.
"We go out there. We battle. We don't give away our battle. You honor our sacrifice," he said.
The issue between Sherman and the coaching staff overshadowed the Seahawks clinching the NFC West with their victory over the Rams on Friday night. They're the first team in the league to win a division title this season and have guaranteed themselves at least one home playoff game in January. It's the fifth straight season that Seattle has made it to the playoffs.
--The Seahawks had been averaging 164 yards per game and over 5 yards a carry over the last four games prior to Thursday night's game against the Los Angeles Rams.
That string of success came to an abrupt end Thursday night.
Seattle managed just 72 rushing yards on 30 carries against the Rams, who entered the night as the league's 20th-ranked rush defense. Their longest run of the night was a 26-yard run by punter Jon Ryan on a fake punt in the fourth quarter. If you remove that from the equation, the rest of Seattle's offense managed just 46 yards on 29 carries, which resulted in a paltry 1.6 yards per carry average.
"It was really hard. We had a hard time blocking them and sustaining stuff," head coach Pete Carroll said. "But that wasn't going to be an issue in this game for us. We were going to keep running it and we needed to keep plugging away and calling it and staying with it. (Darrell Bevell) did a great job of doing that but we had trouble at the line of scrimmage -- an array of issues."
Thomas Rawls had just three carries that gained more than 5 yards in the game. He finished with just 34 yards on 21 carries for Seattle.