Quincy Enunwa makes a spectacular catch over Malcolm Butler in the fourth quarter. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A lot of Patriots fans were wondering when the team’s defense would finally produce a turnover.
After all, it had been over a month since the last one.
Malcolm Butler produced it when he picked off Steelers quarterback Landry Jones in Pittsburgh on Oct. 23. Butler was again the spark in a key situation Sunday.
With the Patriots down, 10-3, and the Jets driving toward midfield, he punched the ball out of the hands of Robby Anderson at midfield after a 25-yard gain five minutes into the second quarter. Devin McCourty held up Anderson on the tackle while Butler did the dirty work. Butler also recovered the ball.
“We’ve been building. Our day is coming,” Butler said. “Today is one of those days. We want to continue to build on it and continue doing the right things to get the ball.”
The offense responded by taking the ball down the field and tying the game on a Tom Brady-to-Malcolm Mitchell touchdown in the end zone.
“They most definitely paid off,” Butler said. “They took away some of the errors that we made. The offense converted those to points, so it turned out pretty well.”
The Patriots defense did it again at a most opportunistic time. With under two minutes left and the Patriots holding a precarious 22-17 lead, Chris Long got through for a strip sack on Ryan Fitzpatrick, New England’s only sack of the day. Trey Flowers recovered at the Jets 34 and the game was over.
“That’s the goal every week,” Butler said. “To make plays, create turnovers and get the ball to the offense so they can add more points to the board. Like I said once before, we have to continue to build on it and just keep scoring.”
Butler also addressed his tough day in coverage. He allowed both touchdowns, one to Brandon Marshall in the first half and another to Quincy Enunwa in the fourth quarter. Enunwa finished with five catches on five targets for 109 yards and a touchdown. In fairness to Butler, two of the catches were of the spectacular variety, including the “Butt Touchdown” in the fourth quarter that put the Jets ahead, 17-13.
Did Butler think it was a difficult day for him?
“Yeah, my standards are very high so I’d say so,” Butler said. “I don’t want to give up touchdowns or long balls but hey, it’s going to happen. The biggest thing is we got the win. So, just got to learn from it, be pissed off about it and put it into next week. That’s all I can do.”