In the fourth quarter, with the Bears looking to close out the game, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky took off for the first down marker. He slide after passing the first down marker, but as he was hitting the ground, 49ers safety Marcell Harris ran into him and was flagged for a personal foul.
The video doesn’t show it well, but as Harris went in, you could see him trying to hold his head back to avoid a helmet-to-helmet hit. Harris could have avoided the hit by holding back earlier, but he did not. And naturally with the play happening right next to the Bears sideline, Trubisky’s teammates took exception. They surrounded Harris on the sideline and began pushing and shoving him.
At this points 49ers players ran over, and we saw Richard Sherman get in the mix and start throwing some punches. Sherman ended up getting ejected along with Bears receivers Josh Bellamy and Anthony Miller.
After the game, Sherman discussed the ejection and made it clear how important it is to stand up for his teammates.
“[T]hey kinda took him on their sideline, and surrounded him, and pushing and shoving and grabbing and punching on him. You know, these are my guys. I don’t care at the end of the day what the deal is, you gonna do all that and you let him go. And it took too long for them to let him go. So I went in there to grab him, and they continued to pull and jerk and grab on me. I’m a grown man with kids. I don’t care about any of that, you know? And at the end of the day, they’re gonna get punished for it. You gonna catch these hands. I’m a grown man. You don’t grab, pull on me — I don’t put my hands on you, you don’t put your hands on me. You put your hands on me, you’re gonna feel me.”
He understood why the Bears were getting angry, but as he put it, the player was going to be punished with a flag. Once you start going after him after the play, his teammates are going to stand up for him. “That’s unacceptable, and we’re not gonna take that.”
After the game, Kyle Shanahan said he respected the hell out of Sherman for standing up for his teammate. George Kittle said, “Richard’s a baller. I respect what he did. I will not pay his fine though.” And several players came to Sherman’s locker after the game to express their respect for his actions, according to David Lombardi.
Things got out of hand, and ideally we don’t see those kinds of fights often. But when you’ve got nothing but pride to play for at the end of the season, it’s good to see Sherman leading by example. You don’t want to see players get ejected, but sometimes things happen.
And if you’re wondering about Sherman throwing hands at players with helmets, he showed further vet savvy.
“I’m open hand, I’m open hand with everybody. Everyone was catching the open hand. I don’t got a bruise or nothing. I don’t feel nothing extra. But I made sure they felt it … Vet move. I learned that a long time ago. You don’t close fists to helmets.”