Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White is one of the best and toughest wide receivers in the NFL, but I don’t think it would have been fair to expect much from him in his return from hamstring and ankle injuries. White has been severely hobbled throughout the 2013 campaign with two severe injuries that caused him to be out since Week 5, and White wasn’t even healthy before then. He played, but he wasn’t healthy.
Before today’s game, Seattle Seahawks outspoken, superstar cornerback Richard Sherman replied, “What challenge?”, when asked if White would be a challenge for Sherman to cover. The feud between Sherman and White is much more pronounced than even the rivalry that Sherman has with fellow star CB Darrelle Revis (only Sherman and Revis are in the argument for best CB, which is very evenly matched), because Sherman went as far to say this offseason that White isn’t a top 100 player in this league. Some fans point out that Sherman was burned badly by Roddy White in the playoffs last season, but what they won’t tell you is that Sherman was actually playing zone coverage and essentially took the fall for mistakes that the safeties made.
As you can see, Sherman talked plenty of smack about White coming into this game, and he totally backed it up. I don’t think I ever heard Sherman or White’s name called out much today, and that’s because Sherman absolutely locked down White, who clearly looked out of sorts as well due to the injury. White was thrown at a meager four times, and he came away with just one reception for 20 yards. Sherman’s shadow was all over White, who will hopefully be 100% next week.
Give as much credit as possible to Sherman, who had a fantastic game overall. He made some solid plays in the running game with three total tackles, and I wouldn’t pin White’s reception on Sherman either. Since White was lined up in the slot, I’m not sure if Sherman was matched up against him. Even then, the play was the result of an awful defensive playcall from the Seahawks, as the middle was left wide open and I think either an LB or S blew an assignment. Roddy White was wide open in the middle of the field, and it was probably Matt Ryan’s easiest throw (he didn’t have many easy throws, though) of the afternoon.
It was a tough afternoon for the Falcons and Roddy White, and I think this matchup is more about how good Sherman was than any struggles relating to White; he’s still not at full strength yet.