Tedric Thompson has his moment of redemption for Week 1 mistake
A month after making one of the biggest mistakes of his career, third-year safety Tedric Thompson bounced back with a signature play in primetime to help the Seattle Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Rams for the first time since October 2017.
With just over two minutes remaining, the Seahawks ahead by a point and the Rams facing third-and-10, Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff dropped back and launched a pass 15 yards downfield toward Gerald Everett, who was being tailed by linebacker K.J. Wright. The third-year tight end had been a favorite target of Goff’s all evening; prior to that play, Everett had eight targets (second only to leading receiver Cooper Kupp) for 90 yards.
Goff and Everett were less fortunate this time. The pass hit Everett’s outstretched fingertips, tipped into the air, and fell into the hands of Thompson, who slid to the ground to catch it.
How did Tedric Thompson pick this?!
— NFL (@NFL) October 4, 2019
The ball was so close to the ground that FOX broadcasters Joe Buck and Troy Aikman initially called it as an incomplete pass and began to question whether or not Rams head coach Sean McVay should go for it on fourth down.
“The guys upstairs were going crazy,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said post-game when asked about his decision to throw a challenge flag. “They first said, ‘No, he caught that ball.’ And then I got a look at it on the big screen and I was assured we had a great shot to get it.”
Carroll challenged, and the call was overturned. Seattle ball.
The players knew it, too – even before the call was official.
Followed by several teammates – including cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, and Jamar Taylor, linebacker Shaquem Griffin, and defensive linemen Jadeveon Clowney and Al Woods – Thompson rushed past the end zone to the stands and high-fived a row of Seahawks fans during the review.
“We got a turnover; I think that’s the biggest thing for our defense,” Thompson said when asked what he was thinking about during the play. “We try to get the ball, try to get a turnover, try to get the ball back to (Russell Wilson) so he can do his magic. So, I was just happy.”
The play was a chance for Thompson to bounce back from a costly mistake weeks prior. In a Week 1 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thompson misjudged a pass from quarterback Andy Dalton, stopped short, and tried to leap for a pass that sailed over his head and into the hands of wide receiver John Ross for a 55-yard touchdown.
“It was a long time coming,” Shaquill Griffin said when asked how he felt for Thompson after the interception. “Each game I tell him, ‘I ride with you, I’ve got your back no matter what.’ I’m just so proud of that guy… He’s going to continue to prove people wrong and he’s gonna make the best for this team, so I’m happy for him.
“… We took it upon ourselves and we celebrated,” Griffin said of the excitement afterward. “We have faith that the offense was going to control the game after that. But you know, things happen; it’s football.”
What happened was a stop by the Rams’ defense on Seattle’s ensuing possession, and the Rams’ fifth-ranked offense took over with 1:38 left. Up by just one point, Seattle’s defense needed a stop.
“The last series right before we went out there, I just happened to look up and see (linebacker Bobby Wagner’s) face,” Thompson said of the Rams’ final drive. “And Bobby’s face was so calm, like he’d been there before. I can’t really explain his face, but me looking at Bobby’s face just for some reason calmed the whole defense down, so shoutout to Wagz for being Wagz.”
The Rams made it into field goal territory. With 15 seconds remaining, a 44-yard attempt by the normally sure-footed Greg Zuerlein sailed to the right of the goal post, and the Seahawks – helped by Thompson’s pick and a dominant performance from Russell Wilson – beat the Rams 30-29 to improve to 4-1 on the season.
“When he missed the field goal, I just lost it. I actually started crying,” Griffin said with a laugh. “I had nothing left. I was just laying there and they thought something was wrong with me. Before the game, they say whatever you do, just leave it all out there. You shouldn’t have nothing left. I feel like we did that. It was amazing.”