ATLANTA — Brandin Cooks was wide open.
And then he wasn’t.
Brandin Cooks was waving his arms in the back of the end zone and by the time Jared Goff saw him and launched a rainbow, Jason McCourty was faster than a speeding bullet to separate Cooks from the ball and what would have been the go-ahead 29-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.
Jason McCourty, 31-year-old twin brother of longtime Patriot Devin McCourty, first-time Patriot, first-time champion in his 10th NFL season after New England beat the Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII.
“Just running,” McCourty said. “That was a play we came to earlier in the game. They came back to that play and I just took off. I saw Brandin wide open and really wasn’t sure if I was going to get there in time, but I was able to get the ball out of there and live to see another play. That was huge for us.”
“Just back there waiting for the ball,” Cooks said. “Not something we expected, so Jared saw it late and I just got to go up earlier to give myself a better opportunity and not be in the back of the end zone and let the guy get close to me.”
Kyle Van Noy wasn’t surprised.
“You can’t count those McCourtys out, they’re damn fast,” Van Noy said.
Jason McCourty played with his brother and Duron Harmon at Rutgers, but nothing could top this moment.
“It’s a beautiful thing, man,” McCourty said. “God is good. 0-16 [with the Browns] last year, Super Bowl champion this year. I texted Bill [Belichick] and told him, ‘Two McCourtys are better than one.’ I guess he believed that and I know tonight he believes it. … I haven’t had more fun than this season.”
With the 31-year-old McCourty twins contemplating retirement, Patriots owner Robert Kraft told them he wants to keep the good times rolling.
“We’re not letting you guys retire,” he said.
After the game, Jason found his mother.
“My mom definitely shed a few tears,” he said. “She put some of the confetti in her bag. I know she had hoped and prayed for this.”