FOXBORO, Mass. — Duron Harmon is a confident dude.
The second-year New England Patriots safety says he goes into each game believing he’ll come away with an interception. But even he couldn’t predict that his latest pick would come at such a crucial juncture.
Harmon, who entered the weekend with just three career interceptions, stepped in front of a pass from Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in the end zone with less than two minutes remaining in Saturday’s divisional-round playoff game, all but locking up a 35-31 win for the Patriots.
“That’s the biggest pick of my life,” Harmon said after the game.
“I was telling my family all week that I was going to get a pick this game,” he continued. “I’m just glad that it came at that time. There was no better time (for it) to come at than at the end of the game to seal the victory.”
Given the situation, Harmon said he expected Flacco to target big-play threat Torrey Smith, who, thanks to an injury to starting cornerback Brandon Browner, was matched up against second-year corner Logan Ryan. Harmon shaded Ryan’s way and broke toward the pylon when Flacco released the ball, putting him in perfect position for the easy pick.
“I just know Torrey Smith — he’s a shot guy,” the Rutgers product said. “I just knew that leaning over there would be a good (idea).”
“They had a new corner in there (Logan Ryan), and that safety (Harmon) was cheating that way a little bit,” Flacco said after the game. “But I thought I might be able to sneak the ball in there and take a shot at the end zone and get us some points on the board there, with Torrey on a good matchup, even though they were cheating to his side a little bit. So, I took my shot and it just didn’t work out. Didn’t get it there.”
Harmon’s interception, followed by a failed Hail Mary bid on the Ravens’ final possession, put a bow on what will go down as one of the greatest games in Patriots history. New England twice fell behind by two touchdowns — 14-0 and 28-14 — only to storm back each time. A Tom Brady-to-Brandon LaFell touchdown connection with 5:13 to play in the fourth completed the comeback.
Harmon’s tenure in New England still is in its infancy, but even he is aware that Sunday’s win will hold a special place in the memories of Patriots fans.
“I can definitely appreciate it,” he said. “You look around here, you see all the history. You see Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, who’ve been through a lot of football games. For this to be one of the better games, I’m just appreciative that I was able to be a part of it and make a play in a game like this.
“… At the end, after the pick, I was like, ‘Oh, man. This was an amazing game.’”
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images