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Thursday, January 26, 2012
Sports Science: Moore's slap-away

By ESPNBoston.com



Moore
One foot and one second separated Lee Evans from becoming a football celebrity.
In the Sports Science clip above, John Brenkus breaks down Patriots defensive Back Sterling Moore's game-saving play in the AFC title game, in which he slapped a touchdown catch out of the arms of Lee Evans.

Moore hit it out of Evans' hands less than a third of a second after Evans hauled it in. His slap generated just 50 pounds of force (about as much as a clap of the hands) but Brenkus explains why it was effective:

"By using his hand like the blade of an ax splitting wood, Moore applies a concentrated force to the edge of the ball. This torque causes an initial rotation of fewer than 90 degrees, but that's enough to spin the ball off of Evans' forearm and out of his grasp.

"Our analysis reveals that when Evans' second foot makes contact with the ground, evidenced by the changing shape of his shoe, the ball has already been knocked loose. So in fact, it was not a catch. The officials got it right."