When the Cowboys took over with 1:49 remaining and trailing by two, owner Jerry Jones believed the stage was set for his team to finally get over the hump.
“I thought, not that it was ordained, but that it was going to be our time,” he said, “and the way [Kyle] Orton had been playing, he went to his receivers well, he went to the right people, receivers most of the time, and I was very surprised. Their back made a really great play on (the interception).”
That back was Brandon Boykin, who came up with an interception on first down to stamp the Eagles’ ticket to the postseason.
“It was happiness,” said the second-year corner out of Georgia. “Everybody jumped on top of me. I just wanted to really make sure the offense got back out there and do what they were supposed to do and take a knee, so I wasn’t relaxing until then. But everyone was happy.”
The Cowboys sent four receivers out on first down, including Jason Witten, who drew double-coverage from Mychal Kendricks and Patrick Chung. That set up a one-on-one between Boykin and Miles Austin.
“I saw Miles Austin cut inside, and I knew they were trying to open up that hole in the middle because as soon as you catch it there is nobody there. They were able to try and get a lot of yards off of that.”
You can see in the picture below the space that Boykin is talking about.
At the very least, Boykin needs to secure the tackle in this spot to avoid the big play. He ends up doing much more than that.
“I really kind of undercut him at the last second and was able to get my hands on it… I had a little help from the quarterback also, he didn’t throw it exactly where he probably should have. The biggest thing is catching the ball, securing it.”
He did, and Jones was left to stew in his box.
That pick gave Boykin six interceptions on the season, good for second in the NFL. That’s a particularly impressive feat considering that, as a slot corner, he was only on the field for about 50 percent of the snaps this year.
That hasn’t stopped him from making big plays. He was the one that intercepted Robert Griffin III back on November 17 with 32 ticks remaining to preserve a 24-16 Eagles lead. In Green Bay, he thwarted a Packers scoring drive with an interception in the end zone that he returned 76 yards. The 23-year-old has been pretty big-time.
“You watch how hard he works when we’re in training sessions and his attention to detail and all those other things. It pays off,” said Chip Kelly. “He made the play in the Redskins game and he made this play. It seems like he comes up at a good time which is good for us.”
Boykin said the Orton pick was the biggest moment of his young career.
“It’s a complete blessing. It’s awesome to be able to finish the game like that but we have to shift our focus quick,” he said. “You don’t get a lot of time to celebrate it. It’s good, but we’ve got to get ready.”