FOXBOROUGH – The New England Patriots‘ defense continues to make history, and safety Kyle Dugger was at the center of it against the Miami Dolphins.

With the Patriots’ offense going through another dry spell, Dugger stepped up and made the play of the game when he intercepted Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater before running the ball 39 yards for a touchdown that put New England up 16-14 in the third quarter.

Dugger’s pick-6 was a third touchdown of the season, the Patriots’ fourth straight game with a defensive score and the Patriots’ seventh defensive touchdown of the season — a franchise record.

Dugger explained that the Patriots’ coverage on the play allowed him to make a play on the ball, which was a pass to Trent Sherfield over the middle on a third-and-15.

“Just cover-two dropping as the middle player. Got some odd drops, saw my threat was eliminated, so I was able to get my eyes back to the quarterback and get around to the backside vertical,” Dugger said. “Once I got my hands on the ball, I know I needed to score. It helped the team greatly. That was the goal.”

Dugger, who was a punt returner in college, knew exactly how to read the Dolphins’ offense when they turned to playing defense.

“High entry, as the coach would call it. High entry from a couple O-linemen,” Dugger said. “Really just saw a little gap at the very end. I think it was the quarterback in a way. I saw high entry from the O-lineman, a small gap. I knew I had to get into it to get in the end zone.”

While Dugger played his pick-6 cool, his teammates were in awe. The safety should hope that Pro Bowl edge rusher Mattew Judon is helping negotiate his next contract based on what he said following the game.

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“I think you’re going to have to write Kyle a blank check, that’s how good he is right there,” Judon said. “Just for him to get that interception and then turn it into offense, that’s a one-man band. It just seemed like every week we come up with one. We’ve got to keep doing it, keep focused on it. That’s the goal. For Kyle to do that, it was a really unbelievable play.”

Devin McCourty, who Dugger spoke glowingly about on Sunday, believes that players like Dugger speak to the character of the Patriots as they fight for a playoff berth.

“I don’t know what game I said it after or before, but I don’t think we have the men in that locker room that have the character to quit,” McCourty said. “I think each guy in that locker room all has a story of how they got here. We got a guy like Jon [Jonathan] Jones undrafted, Kyle Dugger, D-II guy, [Matthew] Judon, D-II guy, two of our best players on defense. I think that character, just that determination to be on top as individuals I think motivates this team to stick together and play together.”

McCourty also mentioned how the Patriots’ defense has taken pride in their touchdown streak and how happy he is to see Dugger be at the center of it.

“We talked last night about scoring on defense is something we’ve done now four weeks in a row. It’s something that’s given us a great boost as a team,” McCourty said. “As soon as Dug caught it, if you watch the film, you probably see everybody trying to get a block. You can see Dug going, ‘I’m not going out of bounds, I’m finding a way into the end zone.’

“Any time a guy like Dug, one of our best players overall on the team, gets the ball in his hands, third touchdown of the year. We needed him today. Stepped up big. I would say over the latter part of the season he’s played great football. Really proud just to be able to be in there with him. His production and studying, his process throughout the season, it’s no wonder it’s paying off. The guy has been tremendous.”

Kyle Dugger has certainly picked up some mementos this season with his three touchdowns. But that isn’t where his focus is at with the Patriots in a win-and-in situation when they take on the Buffalo Bills in the regular-season finale next weekend.

“They don’t come back to my house,” Dugger said of the footballs from his touchdowns. “I don’t keep that kind of stuff. I’m making sure I’m trying to get the next win, next thing I can do to help the team honestly.”