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Monday, October 2, 2023

Watch: Former Oregon Ducks’ star Christian Gonzalez gets his first NFL interception for the New England Patriots

Christian Gonzalez recorded another first in his brief NFL career.

The New England Patriots’ rookie cornerback recorded his first sack during Week 1. Gonzalez snagged his first NFL interception during the Patriots’ 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Gonzalez outjumped Dolphins’ wide receiver Tyreek Hill to intercept a pass from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa early in the fourth quarter.

“ ‘Gonzo’ learns every day. He’s a smart kid, and really pays attention and tries to do what you ask him to do,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said on radio station WEEI in Boston. “That was an outstanding interception that he had. That was sort of a similar play that came up in Miami last year, where Tyreek kind of went up and took the ball away from us … This was one where Gonzo went up and took the ball away from Hill. Really good play by him. Not only a breakup, but made the catch and hauled it in.”

Gonzalez has received a baptism by fire in his first two NFL games, going against two of the best wide receiver tandems in the league.

He and the Patriots’ secondary faced Hill and Jaylen Waddle on Sunday. The two receivers combined for nine receptions – 15 targets – for 126 yards and a touchdown. Gonzalez was up against A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith during the Patriots’ 25-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. Those two combined for 14 receptions – 20 targets – for 126 yards and a touchdown.

“He’s gone up against some of the best receivers in the league the last two weeks,” Belichick told WEEI radio. “Those experiences will pay off for him down the road.”

Gonzalez finished the game with six total tackles against the Dolphins, tied for second on the team. Gonzalez has posted 13 total tackles in two games, tied for second on the defense and his 11 solo tackles is tied for second as well.

Gonzalez, the Patriots’ first-round (No. 17) pick in the 2023 NFL draft, is already looking like one of the steals of the draft and he is well on his way to earning at least an All-Rookie team selection.

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