Immediately after the game, the Pro Bowl nose tackle used his postgame press conference to joke that he's more of a Cover 2 pass defender as he likes to get his hands on opposing receivers.
"It's funny, because we have certain drills that we do on defense," Wilfork said of preparing for his big play. "There's (drills for) interceptions, turnovers, fumble recoveries, and we haven't done it this year, but any chance we get as a defensive line to do our drills, we line up something called 'Deion.' We have a receiver play DB, you run a route and you cover. That's one of the things we do just to have fun. Everyone thinks they are Deion or Jerry Rice. You have 300-plus guys running routes, some look terrible, some look pretty decent, stuff like that. We actually do it, more joking. But at the same time we are very competitive, so we get something out of it and it showed up today."
Not only did Wilfork record his first NFL interception, his first since high school in fact, he returned the ball 28 yards down the sideline to help set up a field goal just before halftime. He used his instincts to snuff out Philip Rivers' short toss toward running back Mike Tolbert, and his surprising athleticism for a man his size to tip the ball to himself before hauling it in and rumbling down the field.
No matter how you look at it, it was an impressive play. After breaking down the film of the win, Bill Belichick broke down Wilfork's play for the media.
"I think what Vince saw was the back releasing pretty quickly into the flat and he came off and I talked to him about the play, I'm not sure whether he thought it was a screen or whether he just saw the quarterback looking at the back who released kind of right in front of him. But he kind of pulled off on it and was able to get in the throwing lane," Belichick said. "Look, the defensive linemen are trying to rush the passer, that's what they're in there for. But good defensive linemen will have an awareness of the backs -- backs run screens, backs run in wide flare patterns, sometimes backs are checking through the middle - that indicates a potential passing lane to that guy.
"Instinctively, if they can get into that passing lane, which is pretty much what Vince did on that play -- he kind of dropped off and got into the lane between Rivers and the back and made a great play on the ball. It was a really instinctive play on his part. That wasn't really something that we had designed or he was specifically coached to do. I think he just saw it and reacted like a football player and did what he thought was right and it was definitely the right thing on that play."
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Not surprisingly, Wilfork's teammates weren't taking quiet as analytical approach to their big man's big play.
"That was legit," tight end Rob Gronkowski said of Wilfork's play with a laugh. "He had great ball security, too, which is a big crucial point when carrying the ball. It was awesome."
"The run was ugly, the pick great," defensive end Andre Carter added. "The pick was fantastic. I know he was trying to high-step but I think those hips were a little tight."
"It was a magnificent feat of athleticism," tackle Matt Light said simply. "You saw Vince's speed. He is a real threat out there."
However you want to describe it, Wilfork's interception was one of a number of key defensive plays made by the New England defense in the big Week 2 win. One that left the defensive captain with some bragging rights in the Patriots locker room.
"I actually tipped it to myself and caught it," Wilfork gloated. "I am just happy I caught it, because if I didn't catch it I am pretty sure my teammates would have let me have it. We talk a lot around here about who is better, defensive or offense, who can play what position, I'm pretty sure they would have let me have it if I were to have dropped that ball. Now I can talk smack to them."
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