Aqib Talib shows he's one of NFL's best in Patriots' win
- By Kevin Patra
- Around the League writer
- Published: Sept. 30, 2013 at 09:05 a.m.
- Updated: Sept. 30, 2013 at 09:41 a.m.
It was 4th-and-ballgame. The football left the hand of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, looped toward the back corner of the end zone and seemed to hang in the air, interminably floating to Roddy White's outstretched arms for a game-winning score.
Then New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib swatted it like Dikembe Mutombo in a GEICO commercial.
It was the perfect culmination for the Patriots' cornerback, who had a monster game Sunday night, including his fourth interception of the season, in the 30-23 victory over the Falcons.
Talib shadowed Falcons' stud receiver Julio Jones most of the night. He often had over-the-top help, but at times he was trusted on an island against Jones. Talib had all of the Patriots' four passes defensed and always was in the right position to make a play. (Jones did end up with 108 yards receiving, but nearly half of that -- 49 yards -- was on one bomb in the fourth when Talib, inexplicably, wasn't on the coverage.)
"We just switched it up on him, sometimes we doubled him, sometimes we single covered him," Talib said of the Pats' plan for Jones, per ESPN. "We just tried to do a good job switching it up on him. I think we did a good job. Kept him off balance a little bit."
Talib's play has been Pro Bowl-caliber thus far and will become more important with the loss of defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
The 6-foot-1 cornerback signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Patriots in the offseason and will be a free agent at season's end.
After Sunday night's performance, we're guessing his agent was somewhere doing the Johnny Manziel celebration and dancing to The O'Jays.