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Seahawks Flashback: Richard Sherman’s first career start

Cincinnati Bengals v Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks released legendary cornerback Richard Sherman on Friday, ending seven incredible years with the team. There is still a chance Seattle could bring him back, provided no one snaps him up in free agency, but for now, it’s looking like 2018 will be a Sherman-less secondary at CenturyLink Field.

It’s a sad day for Seahawks fans and for the franchise as a whole. The sun is setting on the Legion of Boom era as we know it. This couldn’t last forever, but it hurts nevertheless to see it end.

Instead of wallowing in our own sadness, let’s take a quick look at the dawn of Sherman’s career. Marcus Trufant was placed on injured-reserve in mid-October 2011, then Walter Thurmond III followed suit literally the very next game. That left the 2-4 Seahawks with no choice but to start the rookie fifth-round pick out of Stanford for the team’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

I won’t delve too much into the game itself, because it mostly sucked. Charlie Whitehurst got the start, Tarvaris Jackson replaced him and threw for a career-high 323 yards, and Seattle lost 34-12 after giving up 17 unanswered points in the game’s final 4:50.

Let’s turn our attention back to Sherman. His first career start didn’t start off particularly well, as he gave up inside positioning on Jerome Simpson and was beaten for a 14-yard touchdown late in the 1st quarter.

Fast-forwarding to the 2nd half, and following rookie sensation A.J. Green cooking Earl Thomas for a 43-yard touchdown, Seattle’s defense essentially shut down Cincinnati’s offense, and gave themselves a fighting chance at a comeback win.

Down 17-3 and with the Bengals ready to strike again, Andy Dalton challenged Sherman in one-on-one coverage against Green. Advantage: Sherman.

Seattle kicked a field goal to cut the deficit to 17-6.

At the start of the 4th quarter, the Bengals had just crossed midfield and faced a critical 3rd and 7 to keep the drive going and possibly put the game to bed. Dalton targeted Green and tested Sherman deep down field once more... enter the first of many tip drill interceptions to come. Kam Chancellor would bring this one down. Pay close attention to Sherman chirping at Green while the play is technically still going on.

Yes, it was one of nine defeats on the year for a Seahawks team yet to figure out who their franchise QB would be, but something special was brewing. One week later, Sherman made a touchdown-saving forced fumble against Dez Bryant, and finished the year with four interceptions and 17 passes defensed.

It’s unfathomable to think that it’s (most likely) over, but I’ll never forget how it all began.

Thanks for everything, Sherm.