Jakeem Grant kept a promise to his three young children Monday night.
He has a four-year-old son and twin daughters who are three.
“I talked to before every game. I always tell them, 'Daddy's going to make a touchdown for you,'” Grant said. “That's my whole motivation every game.”
Grant continued: “I promised my little ones right before the game that I would make a touchdown for them. And I had to.”
Grant is a man of his word.
He caught a 25-yard bullet from Jay Cutler early in the second half of the Dolphins’ 27-20 win over the Patriots.
It was the first receiving touchdown of Grant’s two-year career, and a validation of what he has long argued: That he is more than a gadget player and kick returner.
The undersized Grant made an tough, leaping catch, and beat Patriots corner Malcolm Butler to the ball.
“It was a go route,” he said. “If he was pressed or, at least, within five yards of me, then I had a go. I thought it was going to be an over-the-shoulder ball. Jay threw it up, trusted me, and I had to come down with the ball.”
So yes, the kids are happy. And yes, the Dolphins won in no small part because of that catch.
But there was broader significance to the play.
“I wanted to make a play for the team,” said Grant, who finished with two catches for 42 yards. “I just wanted to show the coach that you can trust me in those type of moments.”
If he had finished with two touchdowns instead of one, that trust would have been complete. Instead, Grant let what would have been a game-clinching bomb from Cutler slip through his fingers. Drops plagued his rookie year, but he had been better at catching the ball in Year 2.
“The one that got away,” Grant said. “I have to just look it in. Over-the-shoulder ball, I should have just, instead of sticking my hands out too early, I should have just ran through it, used my speed, and caught it with my arms. I let that one get away from me. It hurts. It hurts because that could have been another touchdown, and that could have been a big play for the team. It could have took the air out of the stadium. I definitely wish I could have that one back, but it's going to be things like that that happen in your career. You've got to just overcome it.”