If a defense is going to give up 30 points, it’s best to do it on a day when the offense provides 39.
That was the case Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks took a 39-30 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers despite giving up 490 passing yards — the second most in club history.
“We obviously don’t want to give up that many yards,” Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said. “Some of the plays, there’s really not much you can do when (quarterback Ben Roethlisberger) gets out of the pocket like that and the receivers can run wherever they want. But we need to make better decisions than we made.”
Only 51 of Pittsburgh’s receiving yards came from receiver Anthony Brown, who entered as the team leader in receptions, yards, average and touchdown receptions.
Sherman shadowed the 5-foot-10, 181-pound receiver, fueled again by hearing what he can’t do: in this case, sticking with a small, fast guy.
“I don’t guard small receivers well,” Sherman said sarcastically. “So I don’t know what I did. That’s not what I do well. I’m not very good at guarding small receivers. That’s my biggest weakness, so I don’t know what I did. I just went out there. … Obviously, he just dropped a bunch of balls.”
Brown was targeted 12 times, and made six catches — the longest for 15 yards.
Sherman had a third as many catches himself: one interception that went into the books and another that doesn’t, coming on a Steelers’ failed two-point conversion.
“I was just going for the ball,” Sherman said of his official interception, which came after Brown fell on a long pass down the left side.
“It was a fade. I turned around and looked for the ball. … They were throwing fades all day. I knew I’d get one.”
Sherman was one of four Seahawks to emerge with a pick, joining Jeremy Lane, Ahtyba Rubin and Kam Chancellor.
“Richard had a really good (day) against a fantastic football player,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “It was a great matchup all day long. We made the ball go to other guys. Unfortunately, we didn’t stop those guys.”
Pittsburgh’s 59 pass attempts were second only to the 63 thrown by the New York Jets in 1998. Roethlisberger’s 55 attempts were third most against the Seahawks. His 456 yards were the most ever against Seattle. He might have gone for more, but left late after being hit in the head by defensive end Michael Bennett.
The Steelers completed 37 passes. They ran only 14 times.
“We were going to take what they gave us,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “Obviously, we had some success throwing the football.”
Much of that success came against DeShawn Shead, who lined up opposite Sherman.
“I think DeShawn did a great job,” Sherman said. “He’s playing a great receiver. (Martavis) Bryant has been averaging 20 yards a catch or something crazy like that. But when (Shead) got his chances to get his hands on the ball, he got it. He didn’t get all of them, but he got enough to give us a chance to win.”
Also struggling mightily in the secondary was Lane, who was making his first appearance since being injured in Super Bowl XLIX.
“I asked the Lord to be with me,” Lane said. “I was hurting after the first quarter. I really didn’t know how I was going to make it though. … All my injuries that I suffered last year. My groin injury. My arm was hurting. My knee was hurting. My right hamstring was hurting. And I was still out there, because like I said I played more than what I thought I was going to play. But I made it through.”