Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
After the New England Patriots went three and out in their first drive on Sunday, rookie linebacker Chris McCain reared back and was focused on doing the best he could possibly do on the punt return team. His role? Try like hell to get to the punter and block the kick and that’s exactly what he did.
In fact, his blocked punt was the first time in team history that the Dolphins have blocked a punt in the first quarter of a season opener. The last time Miami blocked a punt in their first game of the season was against the Buffalo Bills on September 10, 1989 when Jim Jensen blocked a punt in the third quarter. Furthermore, the last player in the NFL to block a punt in his NFL debut was WR Taj Smith of the Indianapolis Colts on December 5, 2010.
McCain also joined Daryl Gardener, Dion Jordan, Kendall Langford, Koa Misi, Derrick Rodgers, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas as the only Dolphins rookies to record a sack in their NFL debuts, according to Pro Football Reference.
Following the game, McCain was like a little kid in a candy store and didn’t want the moment to end. He wasn’t bashful about taking pride in his work on the field either.
"The people, they know who they are who doubted me," McCain said. "Now they see who I am and who we are as a team. Is it mind-blowing? Yeah, it is mind-blowing. It is mind-blowing. A lot of people told me I couldn't be here. ... Getting a sack on him felt good. Blocking a punt felt good. Winning a game felt good. Seeing Cam Wake doing what he do felt good. Everybody was just feeding off energy and I was getting energy from a lot of people. I’m just overwhelmed right now."
McCain is in line to see plenty more snaps with the injuries to Koa Misi and Philip Wheeler along with the news that Dannell Ellerbe was placed on injured reserve. If McCain can keep it up, he will find himself on the field a lot more as the season goes on.