Throughout their defense-first run on success, Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks have met—and shut down—some of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.
But after a down-to-the-wire victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday, Sherman said the performance of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson surpassed those of Tom Brady, who beat Seattle in the Super Bowl following the 2014 season, Aaron Rodgers, who lost to the Seahawks a round earlier, and Peyton Manning, who fell to the cornerback and the Legion of Boom in the Super Bowl the year before that.
Sherman and Watson met on the field following the Seahawks’ thrilling last-minute win over the Texans. Writer Peter King asked Sherman what he’d said to the rookie quarterback.
“I’ll tell you,” Sherman said. “‘You played the best game any quarterback has ever played against us, and we’ve played all the legends. I respect how you hung in there and kept battling and battling.'”
Watson racked up 402 yards and four touchdowns through the air, and added another 68 yards on the ground. He also threw three touchdowns, but the third was on a desperation Hail Mary as time ran out.
He leads the league with 19 passing touchdowns, even though he didn’t even open the season as the team’s starter.
“My God, Houston’s so lucky,” Sherman added. “By next year he’s going to be a top-five quarterback in this league, and that includes the two big dogs [Brady and Rodgers]. He makes you dig to the deepest part of your competitive juices to beat him.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who edged Watson with 452 passing yards and four touchdowns of his own, also offered high praise of the Texans rookie.
“He’s a special, special player, and I’m going to love watching him play in the next few years,” Wilson said. “He was so good today, so special. I told him on the field, ‘God is good. Keep putting the hard work in. It’ll keep showing.’ … Deshaun Watson is special. I mean go ahead and give him Rookie of the Year, he is a great player. I love watching him.”