They say that when you die, your life flashes before your eyes. Yesterday, as the Bills were driving down our field, I saw the Patriots’ season flash before my eyes. Is this a tad dramatic? Oh, absolutely. But it’s what happened.
The Patriots are not the fourth quarter team they used to be. This much we know. Ever since the “un-clutch” Lebron finally won his ring this past summer, it seems that the sports world was turned on it’s head. Elite QBs are mediocre, mediocre QBs are elite… No-names are saving games, big names are losing them. So once again, I blame Lebron. But I digress. Can the Patriots get back to being a clutch team in the fourth? God, I hope so.
Back to yesterday…
After scoring a field goal to make it 37-31 with 2:06 left in the fourth, Pats fans were left to rely solely on our 28th (now 29th) ranked defense to uphold our 6 point lead. The same defense, by the way, who blew big leads against the Ravens, Seahawks and Jets earlier this season. So, Fitzpatrick and the Bills are driving, and I am not breathing. Watching the last seconds through covered eyes, and seeing our season drift by me in broken segments… And then, an angel steps right in front of rookie, T.J. Graham and catches the ball… INTERCEPTION. GAME OVER. Only it wasn’t an angel. It was none other than newly-minted safety, Devin McCourty.
McCourty, who’s been with the Pats since they drafted him with their first pick in the 2010 NFL draft, had a ridiculous rookie season with 7 interceptions, 82 tackles and a sack. After a sophomore slump, former Patriots’ great, Rodney Harrison even called out last year’s secondary as “the worst” he’s ever seen. There is no doubt that McCourty’s ego took a hit. This season, his moments of brilliance (like that 104-yard TD return) have been out-shadowed by his moments of blunders (like that fumble in the very same game). But he is trying to make it back to that incredible first year saying, “it’s a process.”
Roger Goodell lifted Aqib Talib’s suspension today, making McCourty’s move to safety permanent. With 3 interceptions on the season, he’s already got 1 more than he did all of last year. Hopefully McCourty will continue to progress and Talib’s addition will subtract some of the passing yards we give up every game (the Patriots are now allowing more yards than Tom Brady is throwing). We’ll get to see them both on the field next week, at home, against Andrew Luck and the Colts.