FOXBORO — The reality of Christian Gonzalez’s fourth-quarter interception was it had been constructing.
The Patriots protection sensed Miami would develop impatient someday in Sunday night time’s recreation. Either Tua Tagovailoa or play-caller Mike McDaniel would pressure an extended ball to Tyreek Hill, the premier deep risk in the complete league. Finally, Tagovailoa did.
In the fourth quarter, Tagovailoa faked a large hand-off round midfield and hurled a high-arching go down the left sideline. Hill had zipped by security Jabrill Peppers and into open house. Except far behind Peppers, ranging over from a uncommon snap of enjoying deep security, was Gonzalez.
The rookie waited, leapt, plucked the ball out of the air and got here down along with his first NFL interception. For a time, he had turned the sport with a single play.
“(Peppers) made a good call,” Gonzalez mentioned post-game, referring to a pre-snap adjustment. “I trusted him, and then we just executed the play and made a play.”
Peppers wouldn’t reveal the adjustment he’d made, however famous it was a twist on a typical protection for the Patriots protection.
“I can’t really get into the specifics of it, but it was a version of a staple coverage here. I could have got a better job of getting a jam on Tyreek … but Christian did a good job staying over the top, had good ball skills, high-pointed the ball,” Peppers mentioned. “It was a big, crucial play for us in the game.”
Gonzalez’ interception got here every week after he broke up a fourth-down go within the closing minute towards the Eagles and gave the Patriots a second likelihood to march to a win of their season opener. While Mac Jones and the offense failed twice that recreation, and once more within the closing moments Sunday, the first-round rookie nook was at his finest.
Not solely did Gonzalez intercept a go meant for Hill, he helped restrict him to 40 yards. Gonzalez even shadowed Hill in important conditions beginning within the second quarter, proper after the Pats misplaced one other outdoors nook, Marcus Jones, to a shoulder harm.
“It was an adjustment,” Gonzalez mentioned, “and we just went with it.”
Hill completed with fewer than 1.5 yards per route run, in response to the NBC broadcast, the bottom single-game common of his Dolphins profession.