EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 27, 2012

Heavy-hitting Spikes' hashtag says it all

On Pro Football
Hector Longo

FOXBORO - For those of you on Twitter, the truth lies in the hashtag, #PoWwWwW.

What better self-description could Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes have come up with in just one word?

If Spikes has proven anything in his two shortened seasons, he is 250 pounds of pure "powwww."

High risk, high reward, high intensity ... all fit Spikes perfectly.

The New York Giants, back in November, were just starting to feel Spikes' wrath when the Florida product strained his medial collateral ligament, costing him basically half the season.

Now nine days away from the teams' high stakes rematch - Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis - Spikes remains a wild card who you wonder if the Giants can contain.

"I feel great. It's just good to be out there running around, make some plays with the guys," said Spikes, who returned for the regular season finale and has played a major role in both playoff wins.

Always gritty on the tackle-to-tackle run, Spikes will have his biggest challenge so far, a Feb. 5 tango with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.

But the linebacker also stepped up last weekend against the Ravens, instilling Bill Belichick with some extra confidence when he made a professional drop and read and plucked a Joe Flacco offering out of the air.

Even though Tom Brady gave it right back, it proved to be the perfect time for Spikes to make the statement.

"I just took my normal reads. I was responsible for the tight end going vertical and I turned into the play and the ball was right there," said Spikes. "I just wanted to make a play and I was able to. I was fortunate to hold on to it, it was a tough catch."

At this point, Spikes remains a wild card, but the Giants can see on film, he is one of the few, real playmakers on the Pats defense.

Tom Coughlin saw the whack on Jake Ballard last time. He also knows that Ballard did his downfield damage late in the game when Spikes wasn't in the picture.

Spikes is ecstatic to have the opportunity to change all that, especially with the reward being a Super Bowl ring.

"I dreamed of this game a few days ago and I had this experience. I thought the SEC championship was big, but this is amazing. I just want to take it all in while I can and get ready," said Spikes, who totaled 36 solo tackles in 8 regular season games.

"Really right now I'm speechless. I just want to enjoy the moment."

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