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“We liked the look with James working over the middle and they dropped an end out there and I just didn’t get enough height on it,” Schaub said. “[Ninkovich] jumped up and made the play and ultimately he’s the one that came down with the ball, but we had a play with James just over the top of that defensive end.”
Safety Steve Gregory was also in perfect position over the top after faking help against the seam route.
“It was just one of those formations that we called our defense to and we had a blitz on,” Gregory said. “Rob made a great play, though. He popped out. Obviously, the quarterback didn’t see him, and he made a great play on it. But that was my guy so I had to go cover him, and I kind of baited it and went over from the other side. But Rob made a great play. If he’s not there, I probably just have to make a tackle, but he made a great play.”
It was one of those situations where the Patriots took what they saw on film, applied it to the practice field, and then executed it correctly in the game.
“Any time you work on a play for weeks and weeks and weeks and then you go out and execute it perfectly, it’s always a good play, and we’re very excited about that play,” Mayo said. “But you probably won’t see it again.”
Ninkovich will just have to find another way to make a timely play on Sunday against the Ravens.
“You can’t just stay in one thing, especially in this league,” he said. “The more you kind of change things up a little bit, different looks, that’s what affects quarterbacks because they’re not really expecting an interior guy to drop back. It was just a great play for us. I was happy to come up with the ball, it was a big play.”