David Butler II/USA Today Sports

Patriots defense rises to occasion once again with huge 4th quarter

Ryan Hannable
January 21, 2018 - 9:43 pm

FOXBORO -- Looking back at the AFC title game, everyone will remember Tom Brady's impressive fourth quarter and the Patriots' comeback, but that wouldn't have been possible without the strong finish by the defense.

Jacksonville's last four drives resulted in zero points, two first downs and 62 yards on 17 plays (3.6 yards per play).

The defense's best stop may have been following Dion Lewis' fumble early in the fourth quarter. It appeared all the momentum was back on the Jacksonville side, but the Patriots defense responded and forced a quick three-and-out. The Patriots scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession to make it a three-point game. The defense then forced two straight punts to set up Danny Amendola's game-winning touchdown with just over two minutes to play.

Safety Duron Harmon admitted the unit didn't play its best game overall, but stepped up when it mattered most.

“We have a lot of guys on defense who are just hungry," he said. "We might not always play the best football at times, but we’re smart and we know what we have to do to make stops. That is what we were able to do today. Know our opponent, know how to make the stops and just make the stops at the end of the day.”

Added Harmon: “Sometimes you just have to go out there and go. That is what we had in the fourth quarter. We couldn’t hold anything back. We had to give everything we had because we were down [10 points]. We had to make sure we left everything on the field just to get the ball back to our offense, get it back to 12 [Brady] and let him do what he does.”

Of course, Harmon made sure to praise his quarterback.

“The look, man. He got that GOAT look, man," he said. "I'm trying to tell you. He just lets us know. If we get the stop, he's going to do what he needs to do on offense to make sure we're in good shape and that's what he did. He kept telling us, ‘Let's get stops. Get us the ball back. We're going to be able to move this ball,’ and that's what they were able to do."

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