Shutdown Corner

Chris Culliver, whose anti-gay comments stirred up controversy, has terrible Super Bowl first half

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The distractions of this week turned out to be ruinous on the field as well for Chris Culliver.

Culliver became a household name this week for making anti-gay remarks. The second-year San Francisco 49ers cornerback had to deal with a media onslaught after that. It certainly seems it affected his play.

Culliver gave up a long catch to Anquan Boldin in the first quarter and in the second quarter he was beat deep for a touchdown by Jacoby Jones that gave Baltimore a 21-3 lead.

This was supposed to be one of the biggest weeks of Culliver's life, and it turned into one of the worst, on and off the field.

On the touchdown Culliver allowed, Jacoby Jones made a double move and fooled Culliver, who let Jones get behind him. Jones caught the pass deep as he went to the ground, Culliver couldn't touch him down, and once Jones got to his feet Culliver had no chance to stop him in the open field. That gave Baltimore a 21-3 lead.

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Having a ton of media attention for something so controversial has to disrupt a player's focus. Atlanta Falcons safety Eugene Robinson played poorly in Super Bowl XXXIII after he was arrested the night before the game. While Culliver didn't do anything illegal, Robinson didn't have to deal with days of answering questions like Culliver did. Culliver being so young and unaccustomed to the spotlight couldn't have helped the issue.

The Ravens may have figured that Culliver might not be his sharpest coming into the game. It seemed like they were targeting him in the first half. That seemed to be the right strategy.

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