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Richard Sherman: Discrepancy in calls vs. Saints 'pretty egregious'

NEW ORLEANS -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and coach Pete Carroll took two different approaches when asked about the officiating during the team's 25-20 loss to the Saints on Sunday.

Sherman went with the direct route.

"The calls -- or the lack thereof -- were pretty egregious," he said.

"It's just tough with the penalties. It's tough when you play a team that's averaging seven, eight penalties a game, and they get called for one [actually two] -- an obvious false start in the fourth quarter, which the refs really didn't want to call in the first place."

The Seahawks were flagged 11 times for 76 yards, while the Saints were penalized twice for 10 yards.

Carroll took a more sarcastic approach when asked if the game was called differently than he would have expected.

"Yeah, because we went into the game knowing they're a team that gets a lot of penalties," Carroll said. "And we were in the same boat, so we thought that might match up for us and that might not be a deciding factor in the game. But the [11 penalties to two] thing, that's pretty far out of whack.

"There wasn't a significant penalty all day on the other side, so [the Saints] did a marvelous job."

The Saints entered the game averaging 73.17 penalty yards (27th). The Seahawks were at 70.67 (26th).

Two of the non-calls that the Seahawks were particularly upset with were pick plays or rub routes by the Saints. One occurred on a 2-yard touchdown to wide receiver Brandin Cooks. The other was on a 20-yard completion to Cooks on third down during the Saints' final drive.

"If you illegally block a guy instead of trying to get out of the way, you impede a guy's progress to his coverage; then it's a penalty," Carroll said. "So we'll see. We'll see how that works. I can sit here and gripe about stuff. I'm not going to do it. You already said it -- it was [11 penalties] to two. That's the 26th-ranked penalty team in the league. They just had a great football game."

Added Sherman, "It's hard to play defense like that when you're in Cover 1, you're covering your guy, and you get knocked to the ground. We can't touch the receivers without getting anything called on us, and they can block us 3, 4 yards down the field. So you've just got to find a way around it and find a solution, I guess."

Sherman disagreed with a holding call that went against him on the Saints' final drive. And cornerback DeShawn Shead took issue with a holding call against him in the third quarter that gave the Saints a third-down conversion.

Finally, there was a play that cost the Seahawks a timeout late in the game. Saints QB Drew Brees found Tim Hightower near the right sideline. Seahawks safety Kelcie McCray appeared to force Hightower out of bounds, but the officials ruled that Hightower's forward progress was stopped in bounds, and the clock continued to run.

"He got knocked away from the line of scrimmage, so he had to be going out of bounds," Carroll said.

Sherman was asked about the overall discrepancy.

"You've got to laugh it off and continue to grow from it," he said.