FOXBOROUGH — If there’s one way to endear yourself to a team and its fans, it’s by making big plays. It doesn’t get any bigger than a pick-six.
That’s exactly what new cornerback Aqib Talib did Sunday for the Patriots against the Indianapolis Colts. Talib intercepted Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and, after making a series of nifty moves, returned it 59 yards for a touchdown, the fourth touchdown of his career.
His final stat line was 5 tackles, 2 assisted, an interception, and a pass defensed. While the interception came on what Colts interim coach Bruce Arians called one of Luck’s “bad throws,” it was his return that was something special. He zigzagged from one side of the field to the other before picking up a couple of Patriots blockers en route to the end zone.
“Luck overthrew the ball and kind of threw it right to me,” Talib said. “Defense did a great job setting up that wall. We got in the end zone.”
Talib comes to the Patriots after spending the last 4 1/2 seasons playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Patriots traded a fourth-round draft pick for him less than two weeks ago while he was serving a suspension for PED use.
“We had a good week of practice, man,” he said. “We kind of put a lot of emphasis on that this week in practice, playing fast, communication and playing fast. We could have done better today. We gave up some stuff but it felt like it was all right. We can get a lot better, though.”
It wasn’t all hunky dory, though. Talib did give up two touchdowns in the game, something he was acutely aware of.
“On the short one, I’ve just got to undercut at the goal line,” he said. “I just didn’t play good technique. I kind of let him widen me to get back inside.
“On the other one, I had my eyes in the wrong spot. Eyes exactly where they shouldn’t be on the quarterback, so I watched him throw a touchdown on me, that’s what I did. Got to get a lot better.
“It was all right,” he continued. “A little sloppy. My feet were everywhere. It will get better as I get back in these pads and getting back into a little bit better shape, I think I’ll be all right.”