Hung out to dry
- Dec 28, 2006
- Reaction score
- Cordova, TN
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Maybe it was one of the goat horns that suddenly was sprouting out of Malcolm Jenkins' helmet that caused perhaps the biggest play of the season for the New Orleans Saints.
The cornerback, who had been beaten badly, somehow chased down Dallas Cowboys receiver Roy E. Williams and popped the ball loose deep in Saints' territory. Just moments earlier, it seemed the Saints were about to let a shot at a repeat of the NFC South title and the Super Bowl championship fade away.
"It could have been a catastrophe,'' Jenkins said.
That's no exaggeration. Jenkins' play helped the Saints defeat the Cowboys, 30-27, in a bizarre Thanksgiving game at Cowboys Stadium. Jenkins chased Williams knowing he had to make more than a tackle. He needed something close to a miracle.
After all, Jenkins was a big part of the reason why Williams was running free downfield and the Saints were about to blow a game that seemed so winnable early on.
With Dallas leading 27-23, Williams caught a slant pass from Jon Kitna. Jenkins said he took a bad angle in coverage and a cornerback slipped. That left Williams running free down the middle of the field with three minutes remaining. If Williams scored, the Saints would need two possessions to have a chance. Even if he didn't score, the Cowboys might have been able to run out the clock or, at worst, kick a field goal.
"If I just tackled him there, the game is over,'' said Jenkins, a second-year pro who made the transition to safety after playing cornerback as a rookie.
With Williams running free, cornerback Tracy Porter was the only New Orleans player downfield and Williams had a lot of room to beat him. As Williams got near Porter, he tried to wrap the ball up. Jenkins was in pursuit from the blindside.
At the New Orleans 11-yard line, Jenkins caught up to Williams and somehow popped the ball free.
"It kind of fell right into my stomach,'' Jenkins said. "All I can say about that is God is good.''