Logan Ryan let one ball slip through his hands Saturday.
When he got a second chance, he did not simply grab it. He held it and planned to do so all the way back to Nashville.
With nine seconds to go, the veteran cornerback intercepted a pass and returned it nine yards for a touchdown that closed out the scoring in the Tennessee Titans’ 20-13 victory over the New England Patriots in a wild card matchup at Gillette Stadium.
“That one’s going on my mantle,” he said.
There were any number of reasons for him to want to turn the takeaway into a keepsake. It was the first postseason touchdown of his career, the first interception against his former team and the exclamation point for a defense that held quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots offense scoreless for the entire second half.
Or maybe he plans to use it as a reminder that every moment – particularly in the playoffs – matters.
Earlier in the contest he missed an opportunity for a similar interception, one he almost certainly would he returned for a touchdown as well. The moment came three plays after the Titans had gone ahead 14-13 in the final minute of the first half. His drop left open the possibility for the Patriots to put points on the board before halftime (they ultimately did not).
“Everyone knows I should have had the one before halftime,” Ryan said. “I was looking at the run before I even secured the catch, and I never do that. I always pride myself on having great hands and I dropped the easiest pick of my career.
“But I had faith. I said the ball was going to come back to me. Every one of my teammates knew that was a fluke and said, ‘Lo, the ball’s going to come back to you again. It’s going to come back to you again.’ And I believed it.”
His interception was the only takeaway by the Tennessee defense in the contest and the first postseason interception by the Titans since Cortland Finnegan got one in 2007 against the then-San Diego Chargers in 2007.
For Ryan, one wasn’t as good as two, but it was good enough for the Titans to win.
“What do you know? It came right back to me again,” he said. “So I appreciate (Brady) for that one.”