FOXBOROUGH — The good, the bad, and the ugly win. Devin McCourty had a hand in it all.
McCourty jump-started the Patriots’ scoring with his first-quarter 104-yard kickoff return down the Jets’ sideline for a touchdown to even the score at 7-7. It was the second-longest kickoff return for a touchdown in Patriots history. Former New England defensive back Ellis Hobbs returned one 108 yards vs. the Jets. on Sept. 9, 2007.
But McCourty also had a crucial fumble on a kickoff return late in the fourth quarter that led to the Jets taking a 26-23 lead.
“My teammates saved my life today,” McCourty said after the wild overtime win. “A bad mistake in the fourth quarter, I just have to do a better job on holding the ball. This was just 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 for the win.”
McCourty was asked if he’d be thinking more about the fumble in the fourth quarter or the kick return for a touchdown when he gets home tonight.
“Yeah [the fumble], it’s just that the fourth quarter is so important, my goal is to just play mistake-free in the fourth quarter, that’s a big one. It’s not defensively, but its something I really work on, I’m a big part of that kickoff return team and I think my teammates did a great job because on that touchdown no one touched me and I just have to work on my responsibility and that’s holding on to the ball.”
McCourty said once he got to Jets kicker Nick Folk, the rest was on him.
“I just ran my lane and I saw Daniel [Fells] did a great job turning his man. Once you get up to the kicker, that’s your responsibility and I made a move and I got past him.”
McCourty’s scoring return was the Patriots’ 25th kickoff return for a touchdown and was the sixth kickoff return of at least 100 yards in team history.