Carolina Panthers defensive backs Tre Boston and James Bradberry had explanations for why they pulled up and failed to make the tackle on Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman’s 55-yard touchdown run Saturday.
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was having none of it.
“We’ve got to make that play,” he said. “No ifs, ands or buts about it.”
Given two days – including Christmas – to move on from the Falcons’ 33-16 win, it was apparent Monday that the lackadaisical fourth-quarter play still bugged him.
McDermott’s face turned red and he banged the podium for emphasis in discussing his commitment to effort and intensity.
“We pride ourselves in playing with great effort and we stress it. That’s a big emphasis in our room and that’s how you play winning football,” he said. “We are always going to be coaching effort. Some people say you don’t have to coach it. You’re darn right you have to coach it.”
One play after Coleman converted a third-and-21 with a 31-yard reception, he found a hole on the right side of the Panthers’ defense and began sprinting down the sideline.
Bradberry was trailing Coleman and Boston was approaching from his safety position, and the two converged on him around the Panthers’ 30. Bradberry tried unsuccessfully to strip the ball and Boston eased up thinking Bradberry had him, allowing Coleman to go in for the score.
“I know we were down toward the end of the game. So we needed a play to be made. I was just trying to go for the ball,” Bradberry said. “I figured we had it secured with Tre coming. Just kind of a bad situation.”
Boston, who playing with an injured knee, said he should have had the stop.
“I thought James would make the tackle. I’m a little beat up, so I thought I could let it fall right in front of me. It didn’t happen like that,” Boston said. “You’ve got to go attack things and you’ve got to make a play.”