Antrel Rolle's misplay turns into a big play

One of the biggest plays of the Giants game on Sunday was actually a mistake by the defense. But it was one in which they were able to recover and keep the Raiders out of the end zone.

On second-and-3 from the Giants’ 6 in the third quarter, the Raiders were driving towards a touchdown that would have given them a two-possession lead. The Raiders started out with Terrelle Pryor under center with two backs behind him: fullback Marcel Reece and running back Rashad Jennings. The Giants were in a straight 4-3 look with Antrel Rolle at safety but pinching up because they were close to the goal line.

Reece went in motion to the Raiders’ right, which allowed linebacker Keith Rivers to step up to the line of scrimmage. Antrel Rolle was supposed to follow Reece across the formation to cover him, but he got stuck. Uh-oh.

“I put myself in a bad situation,” Rolle said. “It was a miscommunication on my part.”

Rolle was stuck in the middle of the field with his guy going wide. So what did he do? He called for Jacquian Williams, the other outside linebacker, to cover Reece. After initially stepping up to the line of scrimmage, he did. Middle linebacker Jon Beason then had to shift to his left to take Williams’ place. And Rolle, well, he became the middle linebacker.

"There was nothing else left for me to do but go out there and make the play,” Rolle said. “When all else fails, see ball and go get ball. That’s my mentality.”
That’s what happened. Beason filled in the right side of the Raiders offense (where Williams would have been) and Rolle came up to tackle Jennings.

“My job, my fill, was to put the ball back to ‘Trel who, on the motion, became the mike backer behind the shade,” Beason said. “He’s a big physical safety, he made the play, it was huge.”

It wasn’t a thunderous hit, but Rolle played it very well, sliding behind Jason Pierre-Paul, watching the ball, and wrapping Jennings up around the ankles until help could arrive to finally get him to the turf.

At the 1.

Just shy of a touchdown.

It gave the Raiders first-and-goal at the 1, but they eventually settled for a field goal and a 20-14 lead that the Giants were able to overcome.

“It’s not always going to be perfect,” Rolle said. “You’re not always going to be in the right place at the right time. You have to play beyond the Xs and Os, and we did a great job of adjusting today.”

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