'Beast Quake' aftershocks still felt

Locklear, who was in charge of blocking Saints end Alex Brown on the opposite side of the action: "I'm on the back side just sealing off the end. I didn't even do much, obviously. Nobody really did much past the line of scrimmage."

There was one more key block to be made a few yards up the field. Spencer saw Sharper running in from the deep safety position and got in his way just enough so that Sharper had to try to tackle Lynch from the side as he ran by.

Spencer, who is now with the Tennessee Titans: "I get a piece of him, and Marshawn did the rest of it."

Sharper: "How does [a center] get up on a safety, I don't know. I got an arm on [Lynch], but it wasn't enough. Then he proceeded to throw everybody in our secondary out of the way."

It was from that point on that Lynch's run really took on its legendary status.

Lynch, now more than 10 yards into his run, hit the open field with a full head of steam. And the only two Saints with any shot of catching him at that point -- cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Porter -- had also overpursued on the play when they thought Lynch was being wrapped up at the line of scrimmage. So now they had to try to catch Lynch from behind.

That's when they both made the ill-fated mistake of trying to tackle Lynch up high, desperately hoping they could strip the ball from him while making the tackle.

That was my most vivid personal memory of the run from my vantage point in the press box: watching those last futile attempts by Greer and Porter to reverse the damage that was being inflicted on them -- while they were only making things worse in the process.

Even if they had aimed for Lynch's waist or his legs, neither of the smaller cornerbacks probably would have been able to stop him in the open field. But by aiming high, they became immortalized.

Spencer: "I definitely had a good vantage point on it, [Lynch] tossing people and me still running behind him, thinking, 'This is crazy. These are people who play in the league, and he's tossing them around like that.'"

First was Greer, who got both arms around Lynch's torso near midfield, with one hand sweeping across the ball. But Greer slipped off Lynch as though he were coated in butter.

Then came Porter, who tried to get close enough to punch at the ball. Instead, he got decked by Lynch with a powerful stiff-arm that knocked Porter on his butt and immediately became Lynch's signature Beast Mode moment.

Porter, who is now with the Oakland Raiders: "I don't want to talk about it. It was a great run. They won, we lost. But the next week they lost, and they were at home just like us."

Porter had been a Super Bowl hero the year before when he picked off Peyton Manning in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIV and returned the interception 74 yards for a touchdown. Eleven months later, he was playing a starring role in someone else's highlight reel.

Gibson: "I heard the crowd, and I was like, 'Man, what are they cheering about?' Then I hit another person. [Then] 'Oh my God,' and I look up and Marshawn is just going. And the next thing I see is I see him absolutely toss that dude. I don't know who it is, but he absolutely threw that guy."

Even Dr. John Vidale, the University of Washington professor who verified the seismic data underneath the field, took a shot at Porter.

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