Slay explains how he made his huge INT against Dolphins originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
It was the biggest play of the game and it should probably be no surprise that Darius Slay made it.
He has that nickname for a reason.
“I’ve been in that position a lot, big-time, big-time moments,” Slay said. “Sunday night, I done made a lot of plays on these big days. That’s why my name Big Play, really. I make big plays in critical moments and do what I can do.”
It wasn’t a perfect game for the 32-year-old cornerback but his interception off of Tua Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter of the Eagles’ 31-17 win over the Dolphins was huge. The Dolphins were driving down the field — they made it to the Eagles’ 24-yard line — with a chance to tie the game at 24-24.
But on 3rd-and-8, Tagovailoa tried to get the ball deep down the field to running back Raheem Mostert on a wheel route and Slay was able to jump it.
“Just being a ballplayer really,” Slay said. “Coach called a great defense that I could have great eyes, see the vision of the quarterback and the receiver. Waddle had ran a route that had kind of led me to the running back so, shoot, I covered my dude but I had vision at the quarterback and saw the ball not being thrown to my dude. I just made a play really.”
On the play, Slay was in coverage on receiver Jaylen Waddle but the Dolphins had some spacing issues on this design. Like Slay said, Waddle’s route led him into the area of the wheel route and Slay was able to break on it and pick it off.
When did Slay decide to break?
“When I know it’s not intended for my guy,” Slay said. “I was covering my guy, my guy ran a double move, I was in good position. I thought, ‘Oh, he might be throwing it here.’ But then I thought it’s too short. So then I saw the running back coming my way too so I thought this is not intended for Waddle, so I can come off my guy and try to make a play, which I did.”
Slay picked off the pass — the 28th interception of his career — and returned it 16 yards to set up the Eagles’ drive at their own 17. The offense then went on an 83-yard drive to give them the 14-point lead they finished with.
It was a huge swing in the game.
Linebacker Zach Cunningham was in coverage on Mostert on the play. Some Dolphins fans wanted him to be called for defensive pass interference and maybe they would have gotten that call if the ball actually got there. But instead, Slay got to the ball.
“I didn’t really see Slay until I turned around and he was right there,” Cunningham said. “I didn’t even see him. I was covering my man. I for sure appreciate it. Good play. I love it.”
The Eagles haven’t had the same secondary in back-to-back weeks all season. Even Slay missed their Week 6 loss to the Jets with a knee injury. But he looked healthy as he returned against the Dolphins.
“That’s how you answer,” Slay said. “That’s what the great teams do in this league. They answer back. Don’t let it dwell, don’t let it linger. We did a great job coming out there, handling business, being physical. Went out and compete every play.”