BOSTON (CBS) -- Who says Devin McCourty has lost a step?
The 31-year-old Patriots safety has been in the cross hairs recently, with some going as far as saying he should be in a retirement home instead of New England's defensive backfield. His critics have been loud since McCourty surrendered a pair of touchdowns against both the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts in recent weeks, many of them saying he's lost a step in his ninth NFL season.
But McCourty came up with the play of the game in New England's Monday Night Football victory over the Buffalo Bills, and showed that he still has some blazing speed in the open field. The Patriots were holding on to an 18-6 lead late in the fourth quarter when a Buffalo touchdown was overturned on a replay review. The Bills were facing a third-and-15, looking to put those points back on the board. But as quarterback Derek Anderson locked on to tight end Charles Clay, McCourty read his eyes perfectly and undercut the route. He plucked the ball out of the air in stride and raced 84 yards to the house, putting the Patriots ahead 25-6.
McCourty was clocked at 22.05 mph on the return, the second touchdown of his career. According to Next Gen Stats, McCourty is the fastest speed by a ball carrier this season. Not too shabby for a guy who has supposedly lost a step.
"I guess I gained a step back for tonight," McCourty smirked at the podium following the win, New England's sixth of the season. "I'm not really worried about me losing a step; I just go out there and play and today I got to showcase a little bit of the speed. [I'm] 31, so hopefully I can hold on to that speed for a little while longer."
McCourty was joined by his twin brother, Jason, in the end zone, who is convinced that he was actually sprinting faster than his brother.
"I highly doubt it," Devin said skeptically.
We may never know which McCourty twin was running faster that play, but veteran linebacker Kyle Van Noy said it's pretty obvious that Devin can still turn on the jets when needed.
"Did you see those high knees? He had perfect form. What a ballplayer he is," Van Noy said of McCourty. "A lot of people don't understand what he does for this team with his leadership on and off the field. Being able to do so much and take on so much volume that is thrown at him, its pretty insane. To have a player like that and a leader like that, I'm humbled to play with him."
Van Noy gave McCourty the highest praise possible, saying he looks forward to McCourty one day being enshrined in the Patriots Hall of Fame.
"I hope he gets that red coat," said Van Noy. "We call him red coat all the time; he deserves it."
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