McCourty Doesn't Fumble Gratitude For Teammates


The Jets offense did nothing with the fumble, but Folk hit a 43-yard field goal to put New York ahead, 26-23. That's when Brady, catching some rare criticism after the loss in Seattle and painted as being on the back nine of his career, answered by hitting 4 of 5 passes for 54 yards to set up Gostkowski's tying 43-yard field goal as time expired.

What did Brady think of the criticism?

"I haven't turned the TV on in a week," Brady said. "So I don't know what anyone said."

And what did Gostkowski think of his heroics?

He wasn't around to answer questions. Was he still chafed at the media after missing the potential winning field goal in the final seconds against Arizona?

Don't know. But we do know what McCourty wanted to say to Gostkowski.

"Thank you," McCourty said. "Thank you."

Bill Belichick played McCourty at safety in the past and with the injuries, he turned to him Sunday. He said McCourty did a "pretty solid job," that the deep part of the field was a little more secure than it had been.

"I wanted my teammates to count on me switching positions," McCourty said. "We have a lot of young guys back there, different guys because of injuries."

"We loved having Devin on our team," said Rob Gronkowski, who caught two touchdown passes. "He's a great leader and works hard every week."

It was a goofy game. Rather than allow huge Vince Wilfork to fall on a Shonn Greene fumble, Sanchez awkwardly kicked the ball out of the end zone for a safety. Antonio Cromartie looked like Eduardo Nunez of the Yankees in dropping a sure interception, and Jason Hill dropped a surer pass before Folk tied the game at 23.

Still, it was the Patriots who had to rally in the final 97 seconds, first on offense and then on defense.

"We just wanted to finish defensively," McCourty said, "and today we did. Ninko's always trying to prove he can do something else. He makes big plays."

That he did. After Gostkowski's 48-yard field goal in overtime, the Jets moved the ball to their 40. On second-and-10, Sanchez dropped back and Jermaine Cunningham got a meaty hand on the Jet quarterback's ankle.

"Jermaine did a great job of getting inside the guard," Ninko said. "He did a good job of shortening the corner for me on an edge rush. I just went for the ball, hit it, hit everything. I saw the ball pop out, and was able to fall on it. I was crawling pretty fast. I was waiting for a big offensive lineman to jump on my back."

Ninkovich is another who has shown versatility, playing linebacker and at the edge of the defensive line. That versatility would leave him with the game ball in his hand.

"This one," he said, "will be on the mantel."

McCourty, meanwhile, was busy pulling on his T-shirt to go home. Fittingly, it was one of Popeye that read, "Tough guy."

"We were tough today," he said. "We showed a lot of character to finish it off."

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