Brandin Cooks attempting to hurdle over Philadelphia Eagles safety Rodney McLeod was a head-scratching decision in the moment, and it appears McLeod was just as confused as the rest of us as to why the New England Patriots wide receiver tried to do it.
The move came at the beginning of the second quarter, with Cooks — who left the game later in the quarter with a concussion — dashing toward McLeod after getting the ball on a sweep. Faced with a one-on-one in the open field, an otherwise shifty and quick Cooks instead attempted to leap over the 5-foot-11 McLeod, but the safety easily snuffed it out and brought the receiver to the ground.
Turns out, McLeod’s quick reaction certainly wasn’t because he was expecting it.
“I was surprised that he tried to do that,” McLeod said Wednesday, via WEEI.com. “I thought he would try to give me a move, knowing that he’s a quick, shifty type of guy. So that’s what I was playing for and expecting, but then I just see him try to go over top of me and I was like, ‘No way. What are you doing?’
“I just looked at him,” he continued. “I probably just walked off like, ‘What are you doing?'”
The play came on third down, and had Cooks converted in the short-yardage situation, it would have prevented the Patriots from kicking the 26-yard field goal that kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed because of a bad snap.
It’s for that reason that the following day McLeod finally understood the magnitude of his stop.
“I didn’t really understand the importance until the day after the game, and I looked back at it,” the safety said. “They actually missed a field goal right after that, and it created a lot of energy and momentum for the team. I was just glad to be a part of that. And then, yeah, it’s going viral, too, so I’m excited about that.”
There are many things Patriots fans will want to forget from Super Bowl LII, but certainly that sequence from Cook and Gostkowski is among the top.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images
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