How Earl Thomas became the undisputed king of goal line stops

Ryan Shea

Overshadowed in Seattle’s latest tie with the Cardinals was how dominant the Seahawks defense was leading up to Arizona’s eventual field goal collapse. Earl Thomas, along with Kelcie McCray made back to back key plays that led to the eventual panic and a miss from Arizona’s kicker. Absolutely demoralizing.

After McCray’s incredible stop, Earl Thomas’s key goal-line stop on David Johnson put the Cardinals into a tailspin. Earl came after him like his life depended on it. Not happening, not in his house. The Cardinals panicked, immediately lined up and tried to punch it in from the 1-yard line. Johnson was still clearly winded and shook up from the last play and was stuffed with ease. The panic intensifies; the Cardinals were rattled. Next play – delay of game, still trying to recover from the Earl Quake followed by a god-fearing rush of Bobby Wagner up the middle for the eventual 24-yard miss.

Luck? No, Earl Thomas is built for the goal line.

Any time you make any other arguments, you show me players playing at a high level in the playoffs, in big games, then feel free to make that argument. At the end of the day, you are talking about a player that plays at a high level in meaningful games, in big games on a consistent basis. You can’t talk about somebody else other than Earl Thomas.

There’s a lot of other players being mentioned in these discussions and talked about, but how many meaningful games are they playing in? Are their teams competing for a championship, or are they going home? Are those players taking their team to the next level and making their teammates better, or are they going home?

Pete Carrol on Earl Thomas via Seattle Times

Earl’s signature stop against the Rams

With the game on the line late in the season in 2014, Earl Thomas clinched the NFC division and home field advantage in the playoffs up 20-6 with 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter and the Rams putting together a near unstoppable drive. Earl wasn’t having it. Again, he comes out like a man possessed and lays a key karate chop to force a fumble that was eventually ruled a safety.

These late game heroics aren’t enough? Earl’s late game intensity and never ending belief that he will win the game are second to none.

Earl and Kam Chancellor’s Superman stop

While more of the credit goes to Chancellor here for his key punch, Earl lays the groundwork to set up his Legion Of Boom partner in crime on a key game-ending drive. The Lions needed a score to win in a big way, down 13-10 with 1:50 to go in the game.

While many see the heroics of Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl 49 label him the clutch red zone guy, I will take Earl Thomas any day.

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