Who had an Earl Thomas fumble return touchdown as the first score of Sunday’s game?
After the Saints and Seahawks traded punts, Seattle got on the board first when Earl Thomas ran back a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown with 7:53 to go in the first quarter. New Orleans running back Michael Thomas ran for a 2-yard gain before Cliff Avril forced the ball out. Thomas caught it in the air and ran the other way for the score.
“It just came right to me,” Thomas said after the game. “I was making a play and running up into the ball trying to clean up the trash and it came right to me and I just took off.”
After the play, Thomas hugged side judge Alex Kemp, drawing a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. Thomas said he didn’t know about the penalty until after the game and said he was merely excited.
Avril said he didn’t see the hug but that “sounds very Earl-like. I’ve seen him try to pound the ref before, try to get a high five. He’s just into the game. I didn’t even know that was a penalty but that’s just Earl. He’s so passionate about the game. He’s not thinking. None of us are thinking, honestly. We are just out there having fun.”
It was Thomas’ second career touchdown, his first coming on a 57-yard interception return against Buffalo on Dec. 16, 2012. It was also the Seahawks’ first fumble-return touchdown in the last 13 games, according to the Fox broadcast.