Monday Night Football did not disappoint, with a thrilling encounter between the host Carolina Panthers and the visiting New England Patriots. The titanic matchup will go down as a classic and even has its own signature play attached, a little something the Panthers worked on before the big showdown. Sometimes, practice makes perfect
|Luke Kuechly wraps Gronkowski up|
They had been practicing it all week. When the time came, the Carolina Panthers' young star linebacker Luke Kuechly knew exactly what to do. With the game on the line and future Hall of Fame Quarterback Tom Brady knocking on the door, the Panthers resorted to a new play recently added to their defensive playbook. Kuechly says that after a tough week of training, he was allowed by Panther coaches to name the play and decided upon 'Center bear hug tight.'
|Defensive holding? Of course not!|
The Patriots last minute drive was in danger of ruining the night for the hosts, and jostling the NFL’s desired narrative of the home team coming good at the end, when in stepped Kuechly. His perfect execution of ’Center bear hug tight,’ – grabbing on to Patriots tight-end Rob Gronkowski and holding him in, well, a bear-hug, while the ball was in the air – saved the day for the home side.
Brady's pass was picked off for an interception as Gronkowski watched helpless, unable to intervene as Kuechly executed a perfect bear-hug on him.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera was positively glowing about Kuechly after the game; ‘That kid works so hard, we just love him to death, we asked him to do a job, and you could all see that bear-hug, there’s no way Gronk was catching that ball, that’s all we ask of Kuechly right there’.
When asked what the Panthers had planned if the referees threw a flag, Kuechly said 'That’s okay, we knew they would pick it right back up.'
|Luke Kuechly getting the job done|
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