Monday, October 22, 2012

Pats knew Ninkovich would come through vs. Jets


Making game-deciding plays against the New York Jets is business as usual for New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich.

Ninkovich, who grabbed two interceptions and scored a touchdown vs. Gang Green in a 2011 game, sealed New England's 29-26 victory over the the Jets Sunday, forcing and recovering a fumble on a sack of Mark Sanchez.

"It was just an edge rush. Jermaine Cunningham did a great job of getting inside on the guard, so it kind of shortened that corner for me and I was able to get around the guy," Ninkovich said. "I saw Jermaine on his legs trying to get [Mark Sanchez] down and he tried to throw it, so I just got the ball, knocked him down and picked up the ball."

Ninkovich's teammates sensed he'd have a big impact this week.

"Rob normally comes through, especially with the Jets," Patriots defensive end Kyle Love said. "Pepper Johnson told him earlier during the week that he normally has a good game against the Jets. That's what happened. He did."

Ninkovich wore multiple hats throughout the game, spending time at both linebacker and defensive end. In Bill Belichick's defensive scheme, that's just par for the course.

"Anything they ask me to do," he said. "It helps the team to be able to play linebacker and then jump down to [defensive] end. Obviously if Dont'a [Hightower] isn't there then I'm able to step in and Jermaine [Cunningham] is able to bump in at [defensive] end.

"We're kind of versatile as far as [the] edge. It's good for us overall for me to be able to jump down to [defensive] end and then have Hightower come in. It just kind of keeps the offense guessing on who's playing what."

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