FOXBORO, Mass. — It's been a season of highs and lows for Patriots cornerback Sterling Moore. When it mattered most on Sunday, in the AFC Championship game, Moore was able to turn the lowest of lows into the highest of highs.
Moore broke up the potential game-winning touchdown when he was able to make a desperation play and knock a sure score out of the hands of Lee Evans.
Two plays later, Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 34-yard field goal and Moore and the Patriots had punched their ticket to the Super Bowl.
"I really didn't know that I even knocked it out until after," Moore said of the play. "I still thought he had caught the touchdown, and then I saw the ball rolling away a few feet later. I was just glad I made that play because it was over after that."
In the other locker room, though, it was Evans who was blaming himself, not praising Moore for the abrupt end to the Ravens' season.
"To be honest with you, I felt like I had it, but it came out. I mean I don't really know how to put it in words. The most disappointing part of this is, that I feel I let everybody down. This is the greatest team that I may have been on, and I feel like I let everybody down."
The play also gave Moore a chance to atone for an earlier mistake, when he thought he would be the reason the Patriots wouldn't be headed to Indianapolis. It was his missed tackle that sprung a Torrey Smith 29-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
"Everybody was telling me, 'We know what you can do, just put that behind you,'" Moore said. "You gotta have a short memory. … I thought this loss was going to be on me. That was the first thing I could think of. I'm glad it worked out."
It’s been quite the journey for Moore in just one year in the league. The 21-year-old signed as an undrafted free agent with the Raiders in July, only to be cut after training camp. From there, Moore signed with New England and was placed on the practice squad in October. He played in one game before being cut by the Patriots, only to be brought back in later in the season.
When it was all said and done, Moore found himself making arguably the biggest play in the biggest game of the season, sending the Patriots to Indianapolis.
"Definitely gratifying, it's a blessing to be here, especially being cut and released and having to come back," he said. "It's been a rollercoaster ride this season. I'm just trying to keep it on a high right now."
Now, after a few bumps, the winding road that is the NFL has led Moore to where every player wants to be –- the Super Bowl.