2nd Place – Earl Thomas Twirl
This stiff arm made a generational talent in Safety Earl Thomas look straight up foolish.
After the Titans shocked the world by beating the Tom Brady-led Patriots in the Wild Card in last year’s playoffs, they played the AFC regular-season champs in the Baltimore Ravens. Before the game, Thomas had plenty to say.
To quote, Thomas said, “Guys didn’t seem they were too interested in tackling him. I think our mindset is a little different. We’re gonna try to tackle him, try to swarm, and we’re going to see how it plays out.”
Wow. Well, after the Titans got off to a hot start in a 14-3 lead against the Ravens, the offense had the ball midway through the second quarter when they handed Henry the ball. After a run up the middle, he jukes outside, breaking a tackle from Tyus Bowser. As he approaches the sideline, Thomas comes to attempt to tackle him.
Keyword being attempt. Thomas tries to go high on Henry, who subsequently sticks his hand out and pushes him away. It’s so disorienting to an All-Pro safety that it turns him fully around as he wasn’t prepared to get manhandled by Henry. But Henry isn’t through as he gets another push on the back just to stick it to Thomas.
It was a defining play in the game in which the Titans pulled off another huge victory on the path to the AFC Championship game. The Ravens defensive leader was just bullied on the field by Henry after he tried to discredit Henry and even Ryan Tannehill. It set the tone for the Titans and quieted the Ravens as they looked towards the clock and realized they still had more than half a game of Henry left.