Nate Gerry actually played well Sunday.
Except one play.
Gerry had a game-high 10 tackles, a tackle for loss, a QB hurry and a sack in the Eagles’ 17-10 loss to the Patriots Sunday.
And a blown tackle.
A really, really, really ugly one.
That whiff was responsible for the game’s pivotal play, Rex Burkhead’s 30-yard catch and run that set up the Patriots’ only touchdown, the game-winner.
Gerry was in perfect position to bring Burkhead down for no gain, maybe a yard, but Burkhead broke free and raced down the left sideline before Avonte Maddox finally brought him down at the Eagles’ 30-yard-line.
Six plays later, Julian Edelman’s TD pass to Phillip Dorsett gave the Patriots their only touchdown.
I tried to use my left hand to wrap him up and I grabbed a lot of his towel and not much of his leg, so I didn’t really have much support to anchor down, and he got out of it,” Gerry said. “I just couldn’t finish the play is all it was. … I should have shot higher instead of trying to shoot low. A lot more thinking in tackling nowadays, I feel like. I’ve just got to play fast. I was a little hesitant.
With Kamu Grugier-Hill missing three games and Nigel Bradham four, Gerry has played a lot this year, and it hasn’t been all bad.
He’s played a career-high 391 defensive snaps and played a career-high 73 on Sunday.
He leads the Eagles with two interceptions and also has two sacks, including one of Tom Brady Sunday.
Gerry is one of only five players in the NFL with two sacks and two interceptions and only the third Eagles linebacker since Jeremiah Trotter in 2001 with two sacks and two INTs in the same season. DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks both did in 2013.
But ask anybody who watched Eagles-Patriots about Gerry and they'll only remember one play.
Which is understandable.
It’s a tackle he has to make.
Burkhead, who preceeded Gerry by four years at Nebraska, is 5-10, 215 and not exactly a big-time playmaker. That was only his second career reception of 30 yards or more in seven NFL seasons.
Gerry took the loss particularly hard.
If he simply makes a routine tackle, the Patriots would have had 2nd-and-10 on their own 40-yard-line in a 10-10 game. And who knows.
The 30-yarder was the Patriots’ longest offensive play of the game by eight yards.
It’s hard,” Gerry said. “That drive turned into the only touchdown for them. Obviously, it hurts. You don’t ever want to say one play wins or loses you a game, but sometimes it does come down to that and that may have been one of those times. Obviously, it hurts me deep down to see how many yards I gave up. But I just have to learn from it and move on.
You know watching film with the other linebackers Tuesday wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience.
You have to watch the good and the bad,” he said. “Don’t try to be too hard on yourself sometimes, but at the end of the day it’s hard not to be.
At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Gerry really should be a situational linebacker playing primarily in clear passing situations. He’s had to play too many snaps out of necessity.
He’s 7th on the defense is snaps but 4th in tackles. But he knows it’s the one tackle he didn’t make that everybody will remember.
Until he gives them a reason not to.
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