Submitted for the approval of the “Kids, Don’t Try This At Home” Department: Jamie Collins.
The leap he made not only over his defensive line but of Colts long snapper Matt Overton to block a fourth-quarter extra-point attempt was both freakish and critical in the Patriots’ 34-27 win Sunday night.
It goes without saying that it takes a special breed of player — like a 6-foot-3-inch, 250-pound linebacker with a 41½-inch vertical that spends his spare time practicing stringing together nine back flips — to make that play happen.
But Patriots coach Bill Belichick made it clear that the play also takes some planning.
“If you want to try to run that type of a block, I think you need to coordinate it,” Belichick said. “Otherwise, you’re asking for something to go wrong.”
Watch the play:
Trying to hurdle about a dozen 300-pound bulldozers? What could possibly go wrong?
“It has to be kind of the right technique and the right situation and opportunity to do that,” Belichick said. “You just can’t do that against anybody: a) It would be a foul, and b) the guy would probably get broken in half.”
Still, the play came at the most opportune moment. After shutting down the Colts’ comically choreographed fake punt late in the third quarter, the Patriots marched down the field and scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to LeGarrette Blount.
A 2-point conversion would’ve made it a 14-point game, but Belichick decided to kick the extra point.
“When we scored the touchdown after the fake punt, there’s strong consideration given to going for 2 there and as it turned out, that would’ve been the right thing to do — to go for 2,” Belichick said. “There was still quite a bit of time left to go in the game and that 1-point swing, the way it turned out, it would’ve been better to go for 2 the way the game turned out.”
As it played out, the Colts put together a scoring drive late in the fourth quarter on Andrew Luck’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Griff Whalen. An extra point and 1:19 still on the clock meant the Colts still had a simple path to winning the game.
But, looking at the Colts’ kicking team, Belichick saw a chance for one of his playmakers to make a play.
“If the field goal team stands up and plays kind of high or kind of in an erect posture in their protection, then it’s a) hard to jump over them, and b) you’re probably going to get called for a foul because you’re going to come down on one of your guys or one of their guys, or you’re going to have to use on of their players to get to the height and leverage that you need — and all those things are illegal,” he said.
Collins’s leap and hip check of the football ensured that a Colts TD and extra point would only send the game into overtime.
However, when Rob Gronkowski recovered the ensuing onside kick, theColts’ comeback hopes were done.
“As it turned out, it didn’t make any difference,’’ said Belichick, “but had they recovered the onside kick, it would’ve made a world of difference.”