Monday, September 11, 2006

Davis Dons Label of Hero

Crucial stop sparks rally

By Albert Breer/ MetroWest Daily News

Monday, September 11, 2006

FOXBORO - Don Davis knew what might happen, that he had to be ready for play action or a quick-hitting pass.

He also knew - on fourth-and-1 fromthe Patriots’ 7-yard line in the third quarter of yesterday’s 19-17 win - what probably would.

“Sometimes there’s a trick pass,” said Davis. “But you know what? It’s their bigs against our bigs.”

And no one came up bigger than Davis. With the Bills leading 17-7 and threatening to put the game out of reach, the reserve linebacker filled the guard-tackle gap, stymied Willis McGahee a half-yard short of the marker and got the Pats the game-turning shot they needed.

The offense responded with a 12-play, 93-yard drive to cut the deficit to 17-14 and the rest is in the books - a win that probably wouldn’t have been if not for the big stop.

“A fourth down stop is like a turnover,” Pats coach Bill Belichick said. “Those plays don’t go down as turnovers, but they really are. It is no different if you intercepted a pass or recovered a fumble.”

Because of the spot it came in, this one may have been even bigger than that.

Had Buffalo gotten the yard it needed, it would have had three shots to cover 6 yards and push the edge to 24-7. Even a chip-shot field goal would have made it 20-7.

“We wanted to make a statement,” Davis said. “And we hadn’t, we started out not playing like we’d have liked to. But that was a critical point in the game and if you can make those plays at critical points, you’re able to give your offense and your team a chance to win.”

Davis, predictably, was bashful in taking credit.

The way he explains it, McGahee was running a simple lead play off left tackle. The kind of play that calls for inside-the-box players to man-up.

And because the linemen did, Davis’ path to the 234-pound tailback was without interruption.

“It’s just a simple handoff, giving it to McGahee, they got the big fullback (Daimon) Shelton coming in and it’s just power football,” Davis said. “You got Vince Wilfork and all those guys up front, (Richard) Seymour, Jarvis Green. They held them up and my job was just to go in and make the tackle.”

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