McCourty: 'My teammates saved my life'

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McCourty: 'My teammates saved my life'

FOXBORO - Had the Patriots lost to the New York Jets on Sunday, there's no doubt that Devin McCourty would have been criticized more for his fourth-quarter fumble, than he would have for his first-quarter touchdown.

It was quite a day for the Patriots cornerback, who played the entire game at safety.

In the opening minutes of the first quarter, McCourty answered a Jets 76-yard touchdown drive with a 104-yard kickoff return that tied the score at 7.

Still, after the Jets tied it at 23 with a little more than two minutes left in the game, McCourty fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and New York recovered, leading to another Jets field goal and a Jets 26-23 lead with 1:37 left to play.

New England's offense answered with a strong drive which led to a tying field goal of their own, sending the game to overtime, where the Patriots eventually won, 29-26.

"My teammates saved my life today," said McCourty. "I made a bad mistake in the fourth quarter. I've just got to do a better job holding onto the ball. Today was like a total team win. We just kept fighting Things didn't go our way the whole game. Today we made enough plays when we needed to, to get the win."

McCourty's early touchdown marked the first kickoff he returned for a score since his senior year of college at Rutgers. And it was just how you'd draw it up.

"It was kind of, I think, what a special teams coach would love to see," said McCourty. "I ran the ball, made one cut, and everyone else got blocked, except for the kicker. So, when your kickoff return team does that, and blocks everyone except for one guy, as a returner, you have to score right there.

"All our returners, we know if we get up to the kicker, we've got to beat him."

McCourty beat him, but it was old news once he fumbled on the kickoff in the final minutes of the game.

"The fourth quarter is so important," said McCourty. "My goal is to try to play mistake-free in the fourth quarter. That's a big one. It's not defensively, but it's something I really work on. I'm a big part of that kickoff return team. I think my teammates just did a great job, because on that touchdown, no one touched me. I just have to work on my responsibility, and that's holding onto the ball."

As he said, McCourty's teammates saved him. And more specifically, Rob Ninkovich saved him, sealing the deal on New England's win with a sack and a fumble recovery in overtime.

Because of the win, the Patriots won't focus on McCourty's fumble. They'll thank him for the early touchdown instead.

"It's tough, but I think that Dev's a great player for us," said Ninkovich. "And it's just a tough spot for him, obviously, because I know how much of a competitor Dev is. And we were alright. We bounced back from it. We had a touchdown that we wouldn't have had, if it wasn't for him."

Kyle Shanahan: One play I regret in Falcons' collapse vs. Patriots

Kyle Shanahan: One play I regret in Falcons' collapse vs. Patriots


Remember that Atlanta Falcons offensive game plan against the Patriots in the final five minutes of the Super Bowl?

Kyle Shanahan, then the Falcons offensive coordinator and now coach of the San Francisco 49ers won't forget it. If Atlanta had simply run the ball and kicked a field goal with an eight-point lead, the Falcons would have likely held off Tom Brady and the Pats' comeback from a 28-3 third-quarter deficit.

Shanahan told The Rich Eisen Show there's one play call he'd like to have back. 

"The second-and-10 that we got sacked on,” Shanahan said. “I wish I had dialed up something differently. And then the next play, we called an option to [Mohamed] Sanu, we got right back in field goal range, but we had a holding call on the play and it knocked us out some more, and an incompletion on the next one.”

Click here for the play: Patriots defensive lineman Trey Flowers sacked Matt Ryan for a 12-yard loss. 

"I go through every single play in the game, but when it comes down to it, the big one was the sack that we had on second-and-10,” Shanahan told Eisen. 

Shanahan probably won't see the Patriots again this season, unless it's in the Super Bowl. And with the 49ers rebuilding under him, that's not likely to happen.

Belichick ditches the hoodie, all dressed up at Preakness in Instgram post

Belichick ditches the hoodie, all dressed up at Preakness in Instgram post

Not to be outdone by Boston legends Tom Brady and David Ortiz, as well as other Patriots, getting all dressed up and heading to the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined the horsey set on Saturday at the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Belichick's girlfriend Linda Holliday posted a picture on Instagram of the Patriots coach at the 142nd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The race was won by 13-1 long shot Cloud Computing. 

Awesome day at the Preakness! 🏇🏼🏇🏼🏇🏼🎉🎉🎉#MyGuy 💜

A post shared by Linda Holliday✨ (@lindaholliday_) on

Nice suit, coach.