Cole's instincts help Patriots lock up win

Cole's instincts help Patriots lock up win
October 27, 2013, 7:00 pm
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The defensive effort helped turn the game around for the Patriots in the second half.


FOXBORO -- Marquice Cole has already been cut and re-signed by the Patriots twice this season. But he's been used by New England in each of the last three weeks, and on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, he made a game-changing play that eventually led to the Patriots' final touchdown of the game and a 27-17 lead.

Just two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Dolphins trailed 20-17 and were driving from their own 20-yard line to New England's 46.

On 1st-and-10 from the Patriots 46-yard line, Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill sent a deep pass down the right sideline, intended for Mike Wallace inside the New England 20-yard line.

Cole was covering Wallace, but safety Devin McCourty came over for support, and tipped the ball away from Wallace, keeping it in bounds as he fell out of bounds. Cole stayed in bounds, and made the interception while just barely keeping both feet in play at his own 18-yard line.

"Devin just made a great break on the ball," said Cole after the Patriots' 27-17 win. "And when he jumped up to get it, I don’t know if he thought he wouldn’t get his feet down, but I just said to him, ‘Tip it, tip it, tip it.’ I don’t know if he heard me or not, but the ball just came down and I got my feet in bounds."

McCourty heard him. And after the game, gave all the credit to Cole.

"It was all 'Quice," said McCourty. "He just screamed, 'Try to tip it back!' And he was able to keep his feet in bounds and make a great play.

"That was a huge play in the game," added McCourty. "They're driving, they took a shot. Just making a play right there was huge."

The Patriots then drove 82 yards and scored on a Stevan Ridley touchdown run with 7:14 left in the game, giving them a 27-17 lead, and eventually, a 27-17 win.

Bill Belichick was also pretty impressed with Cole's instincts to both yell for the tip and to catch it with his feet in bounds.

"Well, it was a big play," said Belichick. "There was still a lot of football left at that point, but it was a huge play. Devin went up and played the ball, and Cole showed great presence on the sideline to get his feet in bounds, catch the ball, and then fall out after the catch. It was tremendous awareness on his part.

"You don’t really coach that," added Belichick. "You don’t drill it. It’s just an instinctive and alert play by Cole that was as good an instinctive play as I think we’ve had around here in a long time. It was just a heads up play."

They practice tip drills. But they don't practice them on the sidelines.

"Not like that," said McCourty. "You don't expect it to work out like that."

It also doesn't always work out like Cole has made it work out this season, having been released more than once times only to be brought back.

"I'm a man," said Cole. "Adversity is a part of life. Put my head down, grind through it, do what I can."

"He’s been a very versatile player for us," said Belichick. "He’s done a good job for us in the kicking game, obviously, but he’s also played corner, he’s played the nickel spot inside, he’s also played safety for us. He’s a smart guy that’s an instinctive player. He doesn’t need a ton of reps out there. He can kind of know what to do in multiple positions as a backup, kind of getting those kinds of reps. He’s experienced and he’s just a heady football player. But he’s got good versatility. He can run, he can cover, and he can play safety in the deep part of the field. He’s been very valuable for us in the last couple of years, as well as obviously in the kicking game."