In the middle of the second quarter of the Seattle Seahawks’ thrilling victory over the New England Patriots, Tom Brady tried to do what he always does: match tight end Rob Gronkowski with a linebacker or safety and hit him over the middle after Gronk inevitably wins his route. Lining up on the right side of the formation, the big tight end drew Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor in coverage, and once Brady took the snap, the plan was put in motion.
Except this time, Earl Thomas, the “boom” in the Legion of Boom, was waiting to help over the top. When Brady tried to connect with Gronk, Chancellor was able to get a hand on the ball, and then Thomas lowered his shoulder. The result was an enormous collision, one that left Gronkowski doubled over in pain at the Seahawks’ 25-yard line.
Gronk left the game to be checked out for a concussion. He did return to action, but after the game, he said the hit leveled against him by Thomas was one of the hardest he had ever received.
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“Yeah, that was a big hit for sure; probably one of the hardest I’ve got hit in my career for sure,” Gronkowski said in his post-game press conference. “[It was] by a good player; a good fast player who’s like a missile. It was a good, clean hit; nothing against it. I just took it and it just knocked the wind out of me a little bit, that’s all.”
It takes a lot to daze the 6-foot-6, 265-pound behemoth of a tight end, but little Earl Thomas is no ordinary dude.