|New York's secondary blew a coverage on what turned out to be the turning point in the game. (NFL.com)|
By Ryan Wilson
In the hours and days since the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, the prevailing storyline has been about wide receiver Wes Welker and the drop. Except that the play in question -- a fourth-down pass with 4:06 left in the game and the Pats leading 17-15 -- wasn't so much a drop as a poor throw from Tom Brady. We said as much at the time although those sentiments weren't universally shared. (And never mind NBC's Cris Collinsworth announcing that Welker makes that grab "100 times out of a 100." Uh, no he doesn't.)
On Monday, Giants safety Antrel Rolle appeared on 1090 Sports Radio in San Diego to talk about the Brady-to-Welker misfire that set up New York's game-winning drive.
“Well actually there was a communication error on that play," Rolle said via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "That was guys playing two different coverages and we tried to relay the right coverage down, but once you’re locked in…you are locked in. We tried to relay the coverage a little too late. Some guys were playing one coverage while others were playing another, but through it all things like that happen. Things like that tend to get away from you in the game and we just thank god that Wes didn’t make that catch."
Rolle's right. Looking at the replay, before the snap, safeties Deon Grant (No. 34) and Kenny Phillips (21) appear to be relaying coverage information to cornerback Corey Webster (21) and Rolle (26). As Rolle noted Monday, there was some confusion.
|Not everybody in the Giants' secondary was playing the same coverage on the play. (NFL.com)|
Welker, in the slot, comes off the line of scrimmage untouched and when Rolle slows up while Welker continues running down the seam, it creates a huge window (see the image at the top of this post). One that on any other day, Brady stripes, hits Welker in stride, with a touchdown the likely result. Just not Sunday night. (After the ball falls to the turf, Phillips turns immediately to Rolle and they talk about the coverage responsibilities on the play.)
"It wasn’t their time," Rolle said. "It wasn’t their time. Everyone has a fair…has a time where…they needed their time. [Sunday] just wasn’t New England’s time. They’re an outstanding football team. One of the best football teams I have ever played against and I don’t like going up against them too much because I know what they bring to the table. With that being said we got to go out there and do what we need to do as a team. Go out there and be the best we can be.”
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