The Seattle Seahawks’ fearsome secondary took a huge blow in the first quarter of the Super Bowl.
With 1:50 left to play in the first quarter, Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane picked off Tom Brady in the endzone and ran for 14 yards before being tackled out of bounds by Patriots receiver Julian Edelman. On the tackle, Lane hurt his left forearm and didn’t return for the rest of the game.
To replace Lane, the Seahawks went to second-year backup Tharold Simon, who had only played 10 career games leading up to the Super Bowl. The Patriots immediately began targeting Simon on offence.
In the second quarter, Patriots receiver Brandon Lafell scored New England’s first touchdown, beating Simon with a quick cut for an easy catch:
As the game went on, Simon was matched up with Edelman, who repeatedly burned him en route to 102 yards on nine catches.
Edelman nearly had another touchdown on the same play in the second half. The Patriots lined him up wide and isolated against Simon. Edelman faked a slant to the middle, stopped, and cut wide for an open pass. The first time, Brady overthrew him before finding Danny Amendola for a touchdown. The second time, Brady hit Edelman for what ended up being the game-winning touchdown for the Patriots:
After the game, LaFell praised Simon, but added that the Patriots knew they had an advantage once Lane went down:
“Simon was out there back-to-back-to back, and I was like ‘We should take advantage of this.’ Simon is a good guy. He’s going to be great. We’re a team that’s all predicated on finding the mismatch. We just kept finding the mismatch and kept going at it.”
Simon also said he knew he would be targeted:
“It’s Tom Brady. I’m sure he’s going to try to attack the third or fourth corner on the team. I tried to hold my ground. I thought they did a fine job of running quick routes out there… I’m still young. I made a lot of mistakes tonight, gave up two touchdowns.
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