Key Moment: Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower combine for second-quarter TD
|09.09.12 at 4:04 pm ET|
For the Patriots, the key moment in Sunday’s 34-13 win over the Titans came with 11:16 remaining in the second quarter. With the Patriots leading 7-3, the Titans faced a 3rd-and-13 at their own 7-yard line. That’s when the two rookie first-round picks made the impact play of the afternoon, as Chandler Jones used a swim move to blow past tackle Michael Roos and produce a strip sack of quarterback Jake Locker.
Dont’a Hightower — who had a solo tackle on the previous play on Chris Johnson (who rushed for a career-low four yards on 11 carries) for a three-yard loss to set up the 3rd-and-13 — scooped up the Locker fumble at the Tennessee 6-yard line and returned it for the score to give New England a 14-3 lead. The game was never seriously in doubt following the Hightower score.
“Right now, we have to make plays. That was the duo of the young guys. Congratulations to those guys,” Bill Belichick said after the game.
It was the highlight of a terrific debut for Jones, who dominated Roos, particularly in that second quarter that saw Jones add a pair of tackles for a loss to the strip-sack. Jones finished with five tackles, as did Hightower. Another rookie draft pick made a significant contribution to the victory, as Tavon Wilson made a diving interception in the end zone off of a Locker pass that was intended for Nate Washington and tipped by Kyle Arrington.