White caught playing run on final TD
November, 6, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots linebacker Tracy White had only been on the field for 12 defensive snaps this season before he was told to be ready to play in the final two minutes of Sunday's game against the New York Giants. New England's linebacking corps had been thinned by injuries to Brandon Spikes and Gary Guyton, forcing White into an elevated role at a crucial juncture.
Fox ScreenshotTracy White gets caught playing the run on the winning touchdown toss.
White said he was ready for the moment, but ended up on the wrong end of two key plays while trying to defend tight end Jake Ballard on New York's winning drive.
With the Giants facing 3rd-and-10 from the New England 39 with 1:07 remaining, Ballard hauled in a 28-yard pass down the middle of the field for a crucial first down. Five plays later, on 3rd-and-goal from the New England 1 with a chance to potentially hold the Giants to a game-tying field goal attempt, White got caught playing the run as Ballard hauled in the winning touchdown strike.
"We were up with the game on the line and seconds to go," said White. "We have to execute the plays a little better."
On the long catch in the middle of the field, White shrugged and admitted: "That was a good catch. I had him covered, but he got up over me, I guess... Just a good catch and a good pass."
As for the touchdown, a play-action fake to Brandon Jacobs left White cemented for an instant as Ballard escaped out. Safety James Ihedigbo seemingly could have done a better job bumping Ballard at the line, but was focused on picking up fullback/tight end Bear Pascoe as he came out of the backfield.
"[Ballard] ran a basic 7-route," said White. "I tried to play the run, stepped up, and he got out on the 7-route to the back of the end zone. That was it. Good route, good pass."
White wouldn't blame his lack of field time -- his job typically limited to special teams -- on allowing the key plays.
"I practice to play," he said. "I know the plays. There was nothing to really think about. You hear the play-call and execute it."