Doug Baldwin was on his way out of the Seahawks’ locker room with his newest, prized possession.
The Pro Bowl wide receiver had just caught a touchdown pass and helped his team to its third consecutive victory, a 43-16 blow out of San Francisco on Sunday to move into the first of two wild-card playoff positions in the NFC.
Yet Baldwin was more happy to take out of CenturyLink Field a signed 49ers game jersey from his best friend in football: his former Stanford and, until March, Seahawks teammate Richard Sherman.
Sherman didn’t just sign him jersey while swapping his for Baldwin’s at the center of the field immediately following the game. Sherman wrote an ode on it to his friend.
“He did,” Baldwin said, chuckling.
Baldwin said the jersey is going in a special place at his home—next to the Sherman Seahawks’ one already prominently displayed there.
“It was nice to see him again. I missed him. Missed his voice. Missed his presence. Missed his tenacity. It’s just the human being. That’s my brother. I’ve known him for more than 10, 11 years now.
“It was great to see him.”
Baldwin had one catch while going one-on-one with his friend. He ran an inside curl on Sherman in the second half, then ducked his tackle and ran for a 21-yard gain to convert a second-and-21.
“That was a fun play,” Sherman said. “He usually ducks in and he ducked out that time. It was pretty funny.”
Baldwin spent far more time talking afterward on what it meant to play in a game with Sherman again, for maybe, Baldwin said, one of the last times in their careers.
They are both 30 years old now.
“This game is so short, in terms of the career,” Baldwin said. “You only get so many opportunities to play football with the guys that you love. And I’ve been blessed to have 11 years with Sherm. It was emotional, in the sense that I couldn’t wait to see him.
“I know it may seem weird to a lot of people when they hear that, but when you spend as much as time as we do, training, working out, meetings, 12-hour days, and you see the same guys over and over again, you get attached to them, emotionally.”
The worst part of the Seahawks’ otherwise brilliant Sunday was right guard D.J. Fluker limping off in the second half with a pulled hamstring. Backup center Joey Hunt replace him for one play, then guard Jordan Simmons replaced Hunt.
“I don’t know how serious it is, but we’ll have to get all the reports back and all that,” coach Pete Carroll said. “It was pretty significant, though. He felt it clearly.”
Fluker is Seattle’s best run blocker in what has become the NFL’s top rushing offense. The Seahawks romped for 168 more yards on 29 carries Sunday.
Sherman on Wilson
Sherman was matter-of-fact and mostly stayed away from any noteworthy comments about his former Seahawks teammates after the game.
But he did say this about Russell Wilson’s four touchdown passes while completing 11 of 17 passes for 185 yards as Seattle again ran first, passed off play action and drop backs after, and finished with 29 runs in 40 total plays.
“He played well. I think he threw for like 160 or 170, so...,” Sherman said.
“They’re running game is really effective. And they let him get to his sports and kept the game plan simple.”
Huskies’ purple and gold
Dante Pettis had his hair tied into a bun and painted in the purple and gold of his University of Washington.
This was the former standout UW receiver’s first game in Seattle since the 49ers drafted him in the second round. He obliged with a season-best day, catching five passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. That included a 75-yard catch and run in the third quarter.
“I love this city,” Pettis said. “I’ve been here for four years. It’s always cool to come back. But it sucks we lost here. I wanted to get a win out here, but we couldn’t do that. It was cool at first, before the game and everything, but now it’s not too great.”
He did make sure to mention he watched UW beat Utah for the Pac-12 championship on Friday and “I’ve got faith in my Dawgs” as they prepare to face Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
His first touchdown catch came on a 17-yarder fromNick Mullens to give the 49ers their first TD of the game in the third quarter. He scored less than two minutes into the fourth quarter when he passed Shaquill Griffin for the 75-yard TD.
Calitro strong again
K.J. Wright was inactive for the ninth time in 12 games this season following knee surgery in August. Austin Calitro again replaced Wright in base defense (three linebackers) that Seattle coordinator Ken Norton Jr. used more Sunday against San Francisco’s two-back, run-heavy offense.
Calitro dumped Pettis for a 2-yard loss on a fly-sweep run around left end on San Francisco’s first offensive possession. He and Wagner blitzed early and often in the first half, rattling Mullens.
Calitro finished with 10 tackles, two for losses. He had 22 tackles all season entering Sunday.
Thanks to two missed extra points by Sebastian Janikowski, this was the ninth consecutive season the Seahawks had a final score that had never happened before in the NFL. And the Seahawks have won every one of them. Carroll said he was oddly fired up about that oddity. ... The Seahawks had a moment of silence before the game for George H. W. Bush. The nation’s 41st president died Friday night.