One of the biggest plays Sunday afternoon was the Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones sack and fumble of Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker, as well as linebacker Dont’a Hightower’s fumble recovery for the touchdown.
After taking some time to go over the film from the game, here’s how that play unfolded:
FRAME 1: In this first slide you’ll see Chandler Jones lined up down on the line of scrimmage on the right hand side. Behind him is Jerod Mayo, and to his left is Dont’a Hightower.
FRAME 2: In this slide you’ll see on the snap that Jones rushes in against Titans left tackle Michael Roos, faking inside. You’ll see in the next slide that Jones then swims outside and makes his move toward Jake Locker, who doesn’t see him coming.
FRAME 3: Jones gets outside of Roos, and is coming around the left hand side now where he’s going to get Locker in the next slide. You’ll see Hightower is back in coverage, and but he’s right where he’s supposed to be and – like any good defensive player – has his head on a swivel.
FRAME 4: Jones puts a hit on Locker – who you can tell in this image never saw him coming – and takes him down, knocking the ball out. Hightower sees the play, and you’ll see in the next slide that he’s going to come up and scoop up the football. It’s also interesting to note on this play that linebacker Rob Ninkovich was double-teamed, while Vince Wilfork was also matched up against two defenders.
FRAME 5: Hightower swoops in and scoops up the ball, and he’s going to right into the endzone, with his path shown by the yellow arrow. Jones made a great play, but credit Hightower for his awareness and his ability to immediately react and come in and make the recovery and take it in for the touchdown.
All in all it was a great play by New England’s rookies, and credit them both for making a big play that at the time put New England up 14-3 and put them in control of the football game.