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Play of Game: Vince Wilfork's tipped FG attempt

Vince Wilfork earned the nickname "Air Vince" after his tip of Nick Folk's field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter. Barry Chin/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork made the play of the game in Sunday’s 17-16 win over the Jets.

With the Jets poised to take a lead with 5:21 remaining in the fourth quarter, Wilfork tipped Jets kicker Nick Folk’s 52-yard field goal attempt, causing the ball to fall well short of the uprights.

“I just felt a soft A-gap,” Wilfork said. “[I was] making sure I was legal, not covering up the center, but at the same time getting vertical. I felt that I had a good shot of getting some penetration. It worked out well.

“Glad I helped our team win a ballgame. That’s what it’s all about -- the wins. And we walk away with another one.”

Wilfork liked the gaps when the two teams lined up for the first attempt, but the Jets called a timeout. When they lined up for the second time, Wilfork still saw an opportunity to change the game.

“It came down to one play really to win this ballgame,” Wilfork said. “And that one play happened to be a block and the offense taking over and just getting one first down to seal it for us.”

Wilfork, typically known as “Big Vince,” might have a new nickname. After the game, safety Devin McCourty referred to Wilfork as “Air Vince” for his vertical leap on the tipped field goal.

The Patriots have three blocked field goals and now have one tipped field goal this season as the block unit has become a disruptive force.

“[Special teams] is something we put pride into,” Wilfork said. “We put a lot of dedication into it. We can definitely pat ourselves on the back with the way we go about playing those spots.”

Wilfork knew the team would need a crucial play against a Jets team that always gives the Patriots a run for their money.

“It’s always tough to go on the road and win, especially in the division against a Jets football team that, I said earlier this week, records mean nothing coming into this game,” Wilfork said. “We knew they were going to fight like hell.”

Wilfork's big play delivered a message to his teammates. It’s also one that he has preached throughout the season.

“Take it one play at a time; don’t worry about what’s going on,” Wilfork said. “Win every play. Eventually, someone is going to make a play that will give us a spark.

“It just feels good to walk away with a ‘W.'”