FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It had been more than a year since Andre Carter registered his last solo sack, so forgive him if he got caught up in the moment. After dropping Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo late in the third quarter, short-circuiting a marathon trek and helping to prevent Dallas from getting in the end zone and taking the lead, Carter leaped into the air in an impromptu celebration that looked something like how a track and field star might get loose.
"Maybe a high long jump -- I don't know what it was," said Carter, who registered both of New England's sacks in Sunday's 20-14 triumph at Gillette Stadium. In fact, Carter said it was probably his soon-to-be 4-year-old son -- the same one who wandered the Patriots' locker room wearing Carter's No. 93 jersey and a shirt with "My Dad" on the back -- that provided the inspiration for the defensive exult.
"That's my son -- the Quincy jump. I don't know how it happened, but it just kinda happened. Sacks are hard to come by, especially now that the league has changed so much. The more you can get, the better."
Carter bought in bulk Sunday. With Dallas facing 3rd-and-6 at its own 41 late in the first quarter, Carter dropped Romo for a 6-yard loss forcing a punt. Later, the Cowboys were staring at 2nd-and-goal at the New England 7 when Carter dragged Romo down for an 11-yard loss leading to the third-quarter celebration.
Carter finished with five tackles and spearheaded New England's best defensive effort of the season.
"[Carter has] been playing very well for us," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "Andre is very athletic and he’s powerful. He’s a strong guy. He's got a good power rush and he can also rush off the edge. He comes hard every play. He’s got a great motor. Nobody plays with more effort than he does. He T’s it up every time. Sometimes he just outworks those guys."
But Carter said there's plenty of work left to do for this New England defense.
"We still have a long way to go, it's still a long season," said Carter. "One thing I know is that we’re still hungry. That’s all I can ask for."
And if the Patriots defense keeps making these sort of strides, maybe Carter can even perfect that post-sack celebration.