It appeared the ghosts were still out in Carolina on Sunday — even a full week after Halloween — as the New England Patriots picked off Sam Darnold three times in a 24-6 victory over the Carolina Panthers.
While J.C. Jackson’s two interceptions may have been the most impactful — one a pick-six and the other coming in the end zone — it was Jamie Collins’ snag that was easily the most impressive.
“The play Jamie made, I don’t know how many players in the league can make that play,” head coach Bill Belichick said postgame. “Not very many, but it was a tremendous play.”
“Just that catch, he was five yards away from the quarterback. He threw it as hard as he could,” Belichick later added with a grin. “Pretty tough catch.”
While Belichick was left impressed, Collins himself knew he had that trick in his bag.
“As Bill says, ‘Practice execution becomes game reality,’” Collins said postgame. “I always do it in practice and it just so happened to come together in the game.”
Collins, who checks in around 260 pounds, is well known for his freakish athleticism on and off the field — whether it be returning interceptions for touchdowns or backflipping down hills at practice. Fellow linebacker Dont’a Hightower even added that Collins is known for catching low flying field goals in practice as well.
“It’s something about me that's just always going after the ball,” Collins said. “It’s just something I always do, I do stuff, I just do it.”
Now sitting at 5-4 and just a half a game out of first place in the AFC East, the Patriots would certainly like Collins to keep doing stuff like that.