Sterling Moore: This one’s for mom
|01.02.12 at 1:16 pm ET|
FOXBORO — There has been no part of the Patriots team that has taken more heat than the defense in 2011. And there’s no part of the defense that has been under attack – verbal and otherwise – than the secondary.
That’s why Sterling Moore and the rest of his secondary teammates were able to smile a little after the game Sunday. After falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter, the Patriots secondary held the Bills scoreless in the final three quarters, while collecting four interceptions, including the first two in Moore’s career. Moore said Bill Belichick acknowledged it afterward.
“He just said ‘congratulations,’ way to bounce back and helluva game,” Moore said.
Moore kept both footballs from the two interceptions he recorded on Sunday. One he plans to keep while the other is going to his mother.
So, which is which? The key pick in the third quarter that set up the go-ahead TD in Sunday’s 49-21 win over the Bills, or his second career interception, a pick-6 that netted him his first career touchdown and capped off New England’s 49-point explosion after a 21-point deficit.
Moore and Ross Ventrone have symbolized what it means to be up and down this year on the Patriots roster. He was signed to the practice squad on Oct. 5. He was signed to active squad on Oct. 15 and made his debut the next day against the Cowboys. He was released the next day, signed back to the practice squad two days later and signed to the active roster again on Nov. 9.
He made his first career start in place of Patrick Chung on Nov. 13 against the Jets. He started the next two games before subbing the next two games, heading back to the practice squad for the game against Denver. He was an active DNP against Miami.
After all that, the 21-year-old Patriots defensive back hinted after Sunday’s game he’ll probably keep his first career pick and send the second one to his mom.
“The first one just because that’s my first career interception,” Moore said. “That one means a lot.”
The second one – the TD – is probably going in the mail.
“Probably send it home,” Moore said. “I might keep one here and send the other one home.”
As for his play on Sunday, the bigger story is how much playing time he got in key situations as he, Devin McCourty and Chung all took turns playing safety in New England’s various pass defense packages.
“It felt amazing,” Moore said. “Just the kind of season I’ve had, going up and down. Just thankful I got another opportunity. It’s not really saying, by any means, ‘I told you so,’ I’m just thankful I had another opportunity to go out and make the plays.
“I knew I was capable of that. When they brought me in here, the first thing they said when they moved me to safety was, ‘we kind of like the way you play the ball so, we’re going to put you back there.’ [Sunday] was the first real opportunity I had to get my hands on a ball and play the ball. It was deep down in there because I haven’t had to do it in a while but I’m glad it came back out.”
Moore led the Patriots secondary with two picks, McCourty and Antwaun Molden each had one.
‘It’s huge,” Moore said. “Turnovers matter more than you know, so if we can keep getting turnovers I think we’ll have success and keep getting wins.’