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Shutdown Corner

Falcons’ Jacquizz Rodgers obliterates Seattle’s Earl Thomas

Jay Busbee
Shutdown Corner

You want a metaphor for the first half of Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game between Atlanta and Seattle, you could do worse than looking to the last play of the first quarter. Atlanta was up 10-0, starting fast but in danger of letting Seattle back into the game. Pinned on its own 13, Atlanta had a long way to go against a Seattle defense that had already picked off one Matt Ryan pass.

And then came Jacquizz.

Jacquizz Rodgers, the five-foot-six Atlanta running back who's gained notoriety by spelling Michael Turner, took a handoff inside and then found some room just past the Seattle D-line. He scampered forward only to see All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas awaiting him downfield. End of the play, right? Rodgers gave them some breathing room, but he'd be swallowed up by the larger Thomas, right?

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Not quite. Rodgers lowered his head, absolutely ran over Thomas, and kept going for another 35 yards. It was the longest run of Rodgers' career, and a defining moment in this game. Atlanta would go on to score a field goal on this possession, and follow that up with a long touchdown from Ryan to Roddy White. Atlanta would finish out the half 20-0. Things would get much closer in the second half, of course.

For 30 minutes, at least, the Falcons weren't playing around. And Earl Thomas has the ringing ears to prove it.

-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-

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