The San Francisco 49ers have been on both ends of cornerback Richard Sherman sealing an NFC Championship game with an interception play. Back in 2014, when Sherman was with the Seattle Seahawks, his tipped pass off the arm of then-quarterback Colin Kaepernick landed in the waiting arms of linebacker Malcolm Smith, all but ending the Niners' bid for a trip to the Super Bowl.

In 2020, Sherman's interception off Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers all but ended the Packers' dwindling hopes to come back in the NFC Championship game against San Francisco:


On 1st-and-10 just inside the two-minute warning, Sherman picked off a deep pass intended for wide receiver Davante Adams. The Niners would secure their trip to Super Bowl LIV with the 37-20 victory by doing so.

"It was awesome," rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw said of Sherman's pick. "He looked like a receiver on that play."

Earlier in the quarter, Adams burned Sherman for what turned into a 65-yard completion, culminating in a touchdown pass to Packers tight end Jace Sternberger. It made the game closer, 34-20 at the time, before kicker Robbie Gould made it a three-possession game with a subsequent 49ers field goal.

While Sherman might appear to have been beaten on the 65-yard play, the Pro Bowl veteran more than made up for it with his interception, Sherman's second in as many playoff weeks.

"I am glad that he made up for it," Greenlaw added about the pick versus the completion. "The deep ball got him before that one, but he is a captain on our team. And we know that you can't get Richard too many times. You can't get him for long, so we knew that with the time being left and what they needed to do."

Sherman was visibly emotional on the field after the game, and that same emotion carried over into the postgame press conferences in which he described the season as "a long road":


Part of that long road, however, has been helping mentor players like Greenlaw, whose own Week 17 game-sealing play against Sherman's old team, the Seahawks, was just as crucial to the 49ers reaching their seventh Super Bowl appearance.

Still, Greenlaw wasn't hesitant to give the credit.

"I am excited to play with a guy of that caliber," Greenlaw added of Sherman. "He is a legend."
  • Peter Panacy
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    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.