Former West Virginia linebacker David Long Jr. came up with his biggest play of the season at the biggest moment of the game Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
The Washington Commanders were knocking on the door at the Tennessee two-yard line with just nine seconds remaining, and trailing by four.
Quarterback Carson Wentz dropped back on 3rd down, hoping to give Washington a victory. But Long Jr. had other ideas.
The West Virginia alumnus shed off a running block by a wide receiver, moved to his right, and dove to intercept the pass at the one-yard line.
He got to his feet, and returned the football to near midfield to run out the game clock, and seal the victory for the Titans.
“I was prepared for the play,” Long Jr. said after the game, still in possession of the football he ripped out of the air.
Upon further review, Long Jr. was deemed down where he intercepted the pass, meaning Tennessee had to run one final play. Regardless, Long’s interception guaranteed his team won the football game.
“It was just a relief, man, because that whole drive they were making plays,” Long said. “We got to that point, and I’m smiling, and I’m like this is what we’re built for. This is what you dream of, don’t panic. [If] somebody makes a play, we walk off the field, and it just ended up being me.”
Long credited the amount of time that Tennessee spends on red zone defensive plays throughout the week, and before each game. Earlier in the game, the linebacker felt he was too aggressive, and thus out of position, on some plays. That was not the case on this play.
“This time I was just calm, collected, and just making sure somebody made a play,” he added.
The play was long’s first INT of the season, and the third of his career. He had a pair of interceptions last season.
Long finished the game with a team-high 11 total tackles, and properly defended a pass in addition to the one he intercepted.