New England Patriots FS Duron Harmon snagged an interception on the goal line with just 3:17 left in the game, clinching a victory and another trip to the AFC Championship Game. This is the norm for Harmon, who has reached the conference title game in each of his NFL seasons, and who has also made these game-ending interceptions a regular occurrence.
“It was great, I mean on the whole sideline I told them, ‘I’m going to get one, and I’m going to finish it off,’” Harmon said after the game. “I can’t let Logan [Ryan] and Dev [Devin McCourty] get one and not me get one, so I told them I’d get one and it happened.”
Harmon’s history of late game interceptions is extensive; seven of his nine career interceptions have come in the fourth quarter and his 6 interceptions in the final 7:30 of games (final half of the final quarter) is the most in the NFL since Harmon entered the league in 2013.
“Duron always closes it out,” Patriots CB Logan Ryan said after the game. “It’s good to get [interceptions]. They’re big this time of the year.”
Harmon recorded his first game-clinching interception with 55-seconds left against QB Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins in week 8 of his rookie season. He followed that up in week 9 by intercepting Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger with 3:32 left in the game.
Harmon collected the game-sealing interception of Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco with 1:46 left in the Divisional Round of the 2014 season. He added his second late-game interception against Roethlisbeger with 7:09 left in the 2015 season opener. He recorded two more against the Dolphins with 3:16 left in week 8 of 2015, and with 9-seconds left in week 2 of 2016. His sixth came against the Texans last week.
For those keeping track, Harmon has two interceptions against the Dolphins, two against the Steelers, one against the Ravens, and one against the Texans. Roethlisberger has to see Harmon in his nightmares.
The Patriots free safety typically plays as the fifth defensive back when opposing teams are slinging the ball, trying to tie the game. So in a sense, Harmon acts as the Patriots closer. He’s asked to come on the field to stop the other team in crunch team and he’s found a way to win the game for the Patriots.