FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the biggest heroes in the New England Patriots' locker room following their 23-20 victory against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game was backup cornerback Sterling Moore.
With time running out in regulation, Moore made the biggest defensive play of the game when he stripped the ball out of Baltimore receiver Lee Evans' hands at the last second to negate a potential game-winning touchdown. The Ravens subsequently missed a 32-yard field goal that could have forced overtime.
"It was just a split-second decision and I'm glad it worked out," Moore said. "We do that drill everyday in practice, but it was the first time I had to use it in a game, and I just took what I learned from practice into the game."
Here is some reaction to Moore's ... ahem ... "sterling" play:
Patriots LB Brandon Spikes: "You have to play through the whole play. His technique was [good]. I’m not in the secondary, but throughout the whole week the coaches put a big emphasis on playing all the way through. [Evans] had the ball, but [Moore] knocked it out. That was big."
Patriots safety James Ihedigbo: "That is why you have to play through the whistle. Like I said, Sterling made an amazing play. He didn’t see the ball coming and his back was turned. And as the receiver caught it, and before he could put two feet down, he slapped it out of his hand. That‘s just a split second. That is just great thinking, an amazing play there."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick: "[Moore] made some plays. Not perfect out there, but he competes hard and he’s a tough kid. He’s got good ball skills. He gets around the ball."
The Patriots and Ravens were the two best teams in the AFC all season. There was a very thin line that separated them in the AFC Championship Game. The Patriots executed better than the Ravens in the final minute.