After Jeremy Lane’s injury, sub Tharold Simon allows 2 TDs
Long before the miracle catch, improbable interception and the rest of what made this a wild Super Bowl, Seattle cornerback Jeremy Lane made a big play, then went down with a gruesome arm injury.
It would turn out to be an injury that had a devastating effect on the Seahawks in their 28-24 loss to New England.
The Patriots immediately went after Lane’s replacement, Tharold Simon, and beat him again and again and again. Two of Tom Brady’s touchdowns were thrown to receivers that were being defended by Simon — to Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman. He also allowed a long play that set up a third touchdown.
Lane’s first career interception came in the end zone to halt a first-quarter Patriots scoring threat. As he returned the pick, he fell awkwardly on his arm when Edelman knocked him out of bounds. The arm bent at an angle that is hard to watch on replays.
Lane is in the game when Seattle is in its nickel formation. When he went down, in came Simon, a 2013 fifth-round draft pick from LSU, the 138th overall selection.
The Patriots immediately zeroed in on the 23-year-old cornerback, who did have some experience. After missing his entire rookie season due to injury, he played in 10 games this season.
But he was obviously the weakest link in Seattle’s otherwise strong secondary.
LaFell said that, initially, he didn’t know Lane was hurt.
"Simon was out there back-to-back-to back, and I was like `We should take advantage of this,’" LaFell said. "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 knew what was coming.
"It’s Tom Brady," he said. "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."
Although he initially said he thought he did "a fine job of doing what I was supposed to do," he acknowledged his errors.
"I’m still young," he said. "I made a lot of mistakes tonight, gave up two touchdowns."
And he vowed to work to get better.
The first touchdown he allowed was an 11-yarder to LaFell, the game’s first score.
"I just knew the ball was coming," he said. "My eyes just got caught looking in the backfield."
The second score he allowed came with 2:02 left in the game, a 3-yard pass to Julian Edelman that gave the Patriots the lead for good.
"As a cornerback, you have two responsibilities," Simon said. "One responsibility went away and another responsibility came. I was too late to my second responsibility."
Seattle also lost defensive end Cliff Avril to a concussion in the second half.
"Those were two big injuries for us," cornerback Richard Sherman said. "…When you lose two starters, it’s going to be tough for your defense. But we were able to overcome some of those things and give ourselves a chance. We had a chance to win this ball game."