The first, intended for Lee Evans, was a perfectly thrown ball that Evans grabbed cleanly, then landed his right foot inbounds. A split-second before Evans’s left foot hit the turf, Patriots reserve defensive back Sterling Moore, unable to see the ball because Evans had turned around, chopped it free with his right hand.
Incomplete pass. Play of the game, at least for a few minutes.
Evans declined to comment for this story. Moore, who began the season with the Patriots, was released, then signed by the Cowboys, doesn’t mind talking about it.
“He got me in a tough position where I didn’t see the ball coming until it got into his hands. It was a wild play,” Moore said. “I swiped at the ball, and was just reaching in there. I didn’t really know whether he had it or not.”
Evans didn’t have it, temporarily saving the Patriots from a bone-crunching loss. Another incompletion on third down (when Moore broke up another pass) left the Ravens rushing Cundiff on the field for a field goal attempt that would tie the game and likely force overtime. There were 15 seconds left, and the try would be from 32 yards.
“In my mind, we were going to overtime,” Moore said.
Except,Cundiff missed. Badly, to the left, an ugly pull that set off a celebration among Patriots players on the field, and fans in the stands.
Cundiff also declined to comment for this story; he’s a member of the 49ers, and is spending the week preparing for Sunday’s NFC Championship game at Atlanta.
He was asked about the miss a few weeks ago, though, after he joined the 49ers.
“Would I like to have that kick back? Yeah, most definitely I would,” Cundiff said. “But is it going to affect the way I think about this year’s playoffs? Absolutely not. Because this is a brand-new situation.”
It certainly is. But the Patriots are hoping the rematch result is the same, with a spot in the Super Bowl the reward.