FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty ran the gamut of emotions on Sunday in his role as the team's kickoff returner in its Week 7 overtime victory over the Jets, scoring on a 104-yard return to give his team its first touchdown of the day, and later fumbling a return to set the Jets up with great field position and a go-ahead field goal late in the fourth quarter.
After the game, McCourty said the sum of both the positives and negatives from his returns was bittersweet.
"That's not something I think I should do, and it's not something I plan on doing," he said of fumbling. "Just paying more attention and securing the ball better, I can't let those other 10 guys down that are really working hard to make some blocks out there. Whether it's a score or not, I just cant let the ball go."
Following the fumble, which put the Jets at the 18-yard line of the Patriots with just over two minutes to play, McCourty said he was hopeful that his teammates could come up with a play to atone for his error.
"I'm just sitting there hoping my teammates can help me out and once you get back out there, you just try to step back in and do your role and not let another mistake happen," he said.
He said that it was also his teammates that allowed him to keep his focus on the next play, not the miscue.
"My teammates," McCourty said. "Especially something like that, I know I've got to go back and return another kick, so even like this guy [safety Tavon Wilson] coming up to me, a young guy, and saying 'keep your head up,' you're going to make another play soon. I think it's just that ability to keep making plays and counting on your teammates."
The fumble temporarily faded any memories of McCourty's earlier return, which tied the game at seven after the Jets scored on their opening drive.
McCourty credited his blocking on the return for giving him space to run.
"It was kind of I think what a special teams coach would love to see," he said of the return. "Ran the ball, made one cut, and everyone else got blocked except for the kicker. When your kickoff return team does that and block everyone except for one guy, as a returner, you've got to score there. I think I tip my hat to the other guys, they blocked everyone up, and I was just the benefit of it."
When McCourty noticed only Jets kicker Nick Folk was standing between he and the end zone, he knew exactly what he had to do.
"All our returners know if we get up to the kicker, we've got to beat him," he said.