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Nelson Agholor speaks on costly fumble vs. Ravens: "That guy came from nowhere"

FOXBORO -- Though you'd never be able to tell from the final score, the Patriots really were in position to beat the Ravens on Sunday. With one more stop and one more score, New England could have held a two-possession lead in the second half, against a team that blew a 21-point lead of its own a week ago at home.

But that stop didn't come, and the Patriots saw a 20-14 lead turn into a 31-20 deficit in short order.

Still, New England had a chance. And when Nelson Agholor caught a pass deep over the middle and took off running, momentum was shifting in the Patriots' favor in the fourth quarter. Briefly, anyway.

With Agholor focused up the field on his 28-yard catch-and-run, rookie defensive back Kyle Hamilton was in hot pursuit from behind. Hamilton alertly punched at the ball while making a tackle, knocking it free from Agholor's grasp. Veteran cornerback Marcus Peters managed to recover the loose ball before it bounced out of bounds, giving Baltimore possession and -- more importantly -- cutting a potential Patriots scoring drive off at the knees.

The Ravens ended up scoring, putting the game out of reach at 37-26, which stood as the final score.

After the loss, Agholor spoke about the costly error.

"Yeah, that was tough. I mean, the most important thing, and we talk about it, is ball security. That loses games, and I had an opportunity at the end there, you know, made a play, could have been a big play, and at the end of the day, guy comes out nowhere and he makes the big play," Agholor said. "It's the ones you don't see, so you have to make sure you're holding it secure enough that no one can dislodge it."

While Agholor stressed the importance of securing the ball from his own perspective, he also acknowledged that Hamilton made a great play to catch him off guard.

"When you make explosive plays, you've just gotta run away from everybody. That guy came from nowhere, and he made a great play," Agholor said. "And I hate to be on the other side of a play like that, but I have to pay respects to a guy like that for a good play."

Bill Belichick has obviously stressed the importance of protecting the ball on offense and forcing turnovers on defense throughout his Patriots tenure, and he said it's awfully hard to win a football game when you're giving away the football in the fourth quarter.

"You're not going to win turning the ball over in the fourth quarter," Belichick said. "You're behind, you gotta be aggressive. But still on those, we've got to do a better job than we did on those plays, for sure." 

Coming off a game last week when he caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, Agholor had just two receptions for 41 yards in this one. He said the fumble might have been a result of getting a bit greedy and trying to do too much.

"Ball security was a big factor, and my part in it, you know, that ball security at the end, I had an opportunity to secure a first down and secure good field position for us," Agholor said. "So it's tough when that happens, but you move on. You focus on it. We know what it's like. We prepare for ball security. And for me, just run a little bit more aggressive. If my eyes are on two guys upfield, maybe I just get upfield and take what I already have."

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