NEW ORLEANS (The Sports Xchange) – Unlike Superman, Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons does not routinely leap tall buildings.
On Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, however, Simmons vaulted over a 6-foot-1, 235-pound man in a three-point stance as though he were nothing more imposing than a speed bump.
Simmons’ precise high-wire act — resulting in a blocked PAT and an 84-yard, two-point defensive return by teammate Will Parks — gave the Broncos a wild 25-23 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints had just tied the game at 23 with 1:22 left, and New Orleans kicker Wil Lutz lined up for what appeared to be the game-winning extra point.
Simmons, a rookie from Boston College, crouched slightly to the right of center and behind a teammate — about five yards off the ball — and then began moving to his left toward the line of scrimmage.
“I was inching into near where the center (long snapper Justin Drescher) was,” Simmons said. “I was trying to get as close as I could to the center as possible before they snapped it. I hope I had enough room. Obviously, I did, as they didn’t call anything. My adrenaline was going so fast, and all I was trying to do was clear him and block the kick. It all worked out.”
Saints long snapper Justin Drescher probably didn’t know what “didn’t” hit him. In the NFL, a blocker can leap over the line without an assist from a teammate as long as he does not touch any man on the kicking team’s front wall.
So, Simmons just jumped over everyone. It was like he was shot out of a telephone booth.
“I will have to watch it on film, but we have a ‘jumper’ call,” Drescher said. “I don’t really know what happened. I know we had a good snap, hold and kick. He just timed that perfect and got up on top of me. It is what it is. More power to them. They had a good scheme in tying me up. I should have tried to knock him down, flip him or whatever I could do.”
Drescher said the Broncos’ interior rush did a good job pinning him down “so I really couldn’t pop up as fast.” Drescher never saw it coming.
“When I first looked up, I didn’t see him line up over the snapper,” Drescher said. “He must have moved over when I got my target lined on my snap and I put my head between my legs. It’s frustrating because it is a hard way to lose.”
“When the game is on the line,” Simmons said, “I am the guy responsible for trying to block the kick.”