RENTON, Wash. — For the second year in a row, the Seattle Seahawks have lost one of the key pieces of their stellar secondary to injury.
Cornerback Richard Sherman sustained a torn Achilles in the third quarter of Thursday night’s 22-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Sherman will miss the remainder of the season after starting 99 consecutive regular-season games for Seattle at cornerback.
“He got his Achilles tonight,” head coach Pete Carroll said after the game. “So he’s got to get checked and all that kind of stuff but the doctors are really clear about it that he ruptured his Achilles.”
Sherman hasn’t missed a game since assuming the starting job at left cornerback at the midpoint of his rookie season in 2011. Free safety Earl Thomas missed the end of last season after breaking his leg in a win over the Carolina Panthers in December.
Sherman had been listed on the injury report with an Achilles injury for weeks and has played through the injury. Sherman said he believes he first sustained the injury in the team’s Week 5 game against the Los Angeles Rams. He said he’d tried to stay away from making hard cuts throughout the season as he tried to protect the injury in an attempt to manage the issue through the season.
“When it goes, it goes,” Sherman said.
The injury leaves Seattle without one of its “Legion of Boom” stalwarts. The loss of Thomas last season changed the scope of Seattle’s season. Thomas’ replacement, Steven Terrell, was not capable of covering for his absence and Seattle’s defensive effectiveness plummeted. The Seahawks consciously tried to remedy that issue this offseason by signing Bradley McDougald as a backup safety should either Thomas or Kam Chancellor go down.
Now Seattle will have to deal with the loss of Sherman instead.
Jeremy Lane replaced Sherman for the remainder of Thursday night’s game in Arizona and could get the first crack to take over for Sherman moving forward.
Lane was traded to the Houston Texans just two weeks ago as Seattle looked to acquire tackle Duane Brown. However, Lane failed his physical in Houston and was nixed from the deal, forcing some further draft-pick compensation to be added instead. Back with Seattle, Lane will be a vital part of Seattle’s attempt to cover Sherman’s loss.
DeShawn Shead remains on the physically unable to perform list after tearing his ACL in Seattle’s playoff loss to Atlanta in January. He could be back on the roster in the coming weeks to help mitigate the loss. Another option would be free agent Byron Maxwell, who was a former sixth-round pick of the Seahawks the same year Sherman was drafted. Maxwell started 17 games for Seattle in 2013-14 and has been a free agent since being released by Miami last month.
Mike Tyson and Akeem King are additional options on Seattle’s practice squad that could be added to the roster.
REPORT CARD VS. CARDINALS
–PASSING OFFENSE: C — Seattle’s biggest passing play came on a Houdini act by Russell Wilson that certainly can’t be counted on on a weekly basis. Wilson was sacked five times and struggled to find downfield completions for most of the game.
–RUSHING OFFENSE: D — The Seahawks’ rushing attack remains more aspirational than effective. Thomas Rawls had a 23-yard carry. J.D. McKissic had a 17-yard carry. And yet, the Seahawks’ running backs managed just 56 yards on 18 total carries against Arizona.
–PASS DEFENSE: B — Drew Stanton was held to just 5.8 yards per attempt by Seattle as receivers not named Larry Fitzgerald had difficulty finding any success. While Seattle sacked Stanton just twice, they managed nine hits on the Arizona quarterback and he frequently hurried throws.
–RUSH DEFENSE: A — Adrian Peterson was held to just 29 yards on 21 carries by Seattle, including being stopped in the end zone for a safety in the second quarter. No rush gained double-digit yardage and Peterson struggled to find any room to run.
–SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Blair Walsh bounced back from three field-goal misses against Washington to convert all four kicks against Arizona. Jon Ryan didn’t have his best punting day of the season. Jeremy Lane blocked an extra-point attempt.
–COACHING: C — The Seahawks have to find some way to coax a running game together or find a way to succeed without it. Getting Russell Wilson to work more within the structure of the offense instead of freestyling could help consistency as well