Malcolm Butler has learned more than a few lessons in nearly three-and-a-half seasons as an NFL cornerback.
One is that, whenever a ball-carrier is reaching for the pylon, do everything possible to try and punch the ball loose. Another is that there’s nothing that can change the results on the field, so accept them … especially when they go your way.
‘He was near the pylon and I punched at it and the ball came loose’
Both of those came into play Sunday in the New England Patriots’ 24-17 victory against the New York Jets. It was Butler who caused the ball to come loose as Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was reaching to get it inside the pylon for what was initially ruled a touchdown and later reversed in a highly controversial ruling from NFL headquarters in New York.
“We always tell the backs, ‘Don’t reach out for the pylon unless you, for sure, have it,’ and I just drilled (that) in my head,” Butler told Steve Torre and Bill Lekas on The Sunday Drive. “I don’t know how did I think of it like that, but he was near the pylon and I punched at it and the ball came loose and I told the ref that the ball was loose. The play got overturned and (we were) lucky to get that.”
‘I had a little confidence in my speed’
Asked if he felt “fortunate” by the ruling, Butler said, “Hey, you call it how you want to. We got the (win), man.”
Butler further helped the Patriots’ cause by intercepting Jets quarterback Josh McCown late in the first half to set up a Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski touchdown.
‘If we were the best we could be in Week One, that’s not a good idea’
“I just believe in our safeties,” Butler said. “Robert Anderson, he’s a real fast receiver and he tried a couple of ‘nine’ balls, deep routes, and I was there, so I had a little confidence in my speed. And then the safety was in range there also, so I just took a chance and took a hard break, turned around, took a peak and the ball was right there.
“It was a slow start (to the season), most definitely (for) myself and the team. But if we were the best we could be in Week One, that’s not a good idea. We’re getting better each and every game. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to go, because you don’t want to reach your limit Week Five, Week Four. (Otherwise) you’ll be done by Week 12, Week 13.”
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