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PENINSULA DAILY NEWS for Tuesday, December 25, 2012 SECTION


B Seahawks


Seattle’s Richard Sherman jumps over San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree as Sherman celebrates his interception in the second half Sunday in Seattle.

Sherman hopeful about appeal BY TIM BOOTH THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SEATTLE — Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said Sunday night there was a “chain of custody� mistake that led to his positive test for performance enhancing substances, and was the basis of his appeal to the NFL. “It should go well,� Sherman said after the Seahawks’ 42-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers. “There was a chain of custody mistake. There were mistakes made by the tester. “The league’s argument was they’re allowed to make mistakes, and they’re allowed to break the rules and they can get away with it. “It’s up to them. The appeal officer is paid by the league, so if he goes their way, that’s what it is. “It’s not an even playing field in that appeal room.� TURN




Seattle’s Red Bryant (79) celebrates a big defensive play along with teammates Chris Clemons (91) and Alan Branch (99) against the San Francisco 49ers. Bryant blocked a field goal during the game as the Seahawks’ defense gave up just 13 points.

New bully on block Hawks menace Niners on offense and defense BY JOHN MCGRATH MCCLATCHY NEWS SERVICE

SEATTLE — Seattle’s most anticipated regular-season home game in years found the Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers bringing different attitudes into CenturyLink Field on Sunday night. The Seahawks took the field with a purpose. Their disposition was edgy, aggressive and menacing. Some of this had to do with achieving revenge on a national TV stage, against a division archrival that beat them on an another national TV stage in October. Some of this had to do with clinching a playoff berth. Although the Seahawks


were virtually assured an NFC wild-card spot, hey, you never know. Besides, it’s much more fun barging into the playoffs SWATteam style: kicking down the front door, than backing in on the basis of a tiebreaker formula. But most of all, the Seahawks’ 42-13 ambushing of San Francisco was the consequence of a mind-set.

No backing down Pete Carroll’s team has come to revel in Seattle’s identity as the NFL’s newest bullies on the block. With a confidence that’s grown into a conviction, the Seahawks appraised the visitors

and seemed to say: We’re gonna be your worst nightmare. Wanna make somethin’ out of it? The 49ers’ response to that challenge was to retreat a few steps and look away. A home game against Arizona awaits them next week in San Francisco. If the 49ers win — and they will win — they’ll advance to the playoffs as NFC West champions. It wouldn’t be accurate to say Sunday night meant nothing to the Niners. It just would be more accurate to say Sunday night meant everything to the Seahawks. Seattle took a 7-0 lead two snaps into its first possession, when Marshawn Lynch ran a sweep to the left that had San Francisco’s vaunted defense looking like a collection of tackling dummies. The Seahawks took a 14-0 lead seven snaps into their second possession, when quarterback Russell Wilson noticed

there wasn’t a defender within a 10-minute cab ride of Lynch. Wilson’s touchdown pass to Lynch was pivotal, because on the previous snap, the 49ers managed to hold the running back for no gain — the first time, in 10 attempts, Seattle’s offense ran a play that didn’t advance the ball. No problem, no sweat. Moments after Lynch was swarmed at the line of scrimmage, he was alone in the end zone. The Seahawks took a 21-0 lead while the offense was on the sideline, watching San Francisco’s David Akers attempt a 21-yard field goal. Akers’ kick got off the ground, but not beyond the reach of 6-foot-4 defensive end Red Bryant. The blocked ball was scooped up in stride by cornerback Richard Sherman, who raced 90 yards toward the end zone. TURN TO HAWKS/B3


Pagano back to coach Colts THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Historic season In his absence, all the Colts did was win nine of 12 games, make a historic turnaround and clinch a playoff spot all before Sunday’s regular-season finale against Houston, which they pegged as the day they hoped to have Pagano back. If all goes well at practice this week, Pagano will be on the sideline for the first time since a Week 3 loss to Jacksonville. Pagano endured three rounds of chemotherapy to put his cancer in remission. That Pagano’s return came less than 24 hours after Indy (10-5) locked up the No. 5 seed in the AFC and the day before Christmas seemed fitting, too. “I know Chuck is ready for this challenge,� owner Jim Irsay said.

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INDIANAPOLIS — Chuck Pagano stepped to the podium Monday, hugged his team owner, thanked his family for its support and wiped a tear from his eye. He might, finally, turn out the lights in his office, too. Nearly three months to the day after being diagnosed with leukemia, the Colts’ first-year coach returned to a team eager to reunite with a boss healthy enough to go back to work. (See photo on Page B2). “I told you my best day of my life was July 1, 1989,� Pagano said, referring to his wedding date. “Today was No. 2. Getting to pull up, drive in, get out of my car, the key fob still worked. “I was beginning to question whether it would or not. When I asked for Bruce to take over, I asked for him to kick some you-knowwhat and to do great. “Damn Bruce, you had to go and win nine games? Tough act to follow. Tough act to follow. “Best in the history of the NFL. That’s what I have to come back to.�

The comment turned tears into the laughter everyone expected on such a festive occasion. For Pagano and the Colts, Monday morning was as precious as anyone could have imagined when Pagano took an indefinite leave to face the biggest opponent of his life: blood cancer.