Kyle Hightower, The Associated Press
2 hours ago
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Patriots may be 0-2, but the day after their 24-17 loss to Miami, coach Bill Belichick and his staff were once again being praised in the NFL for their creativity.
Brenden Schooler blocked a 49-yard field goal attempt by the Dolphins’ Jason Sanders on Sunday night, executing a creative and deceptive play design on special teams.
New England’s players lined up in standard rushing positions on the line of scrimmage with the exception of Schooler, who initially stood about halfway between the sideline and his teammates.
He got off the ground and ran parallel to the line of scrimmage, which helped time his rush perfectly just as the ball was snapped.
His momentum allowed him to easily get around the Dolphins’ rim protector and dive almost untouched for a block that was recovered by teammate Kyle Dugger.
“Once I caught the ball and felt myself in the momentum, I knew I was going to get there and I just wanted to make sure I got the ball or something,” Schooler said.
According to the NFL’s NextGen stats, Schooler was running at 12.7 mph when the ball was snapped and 13.19 mph when the kick was blocked.
Schooler credited the prowess of special teams coordinator Cameron Acord, along with fellow assistants Joe Judge and Joe Houston.
“When they did the report and told us what we were doing, I said to myself, ‘I trust them but I’ve never seen anything like this before,’” Schooler said.
He said any reservations he had about attempting unorthodox blocking were allayed by teammate and special teams captain Matt Slater.
“When he went on the field, he said, ‘You’re going to block this out and just trust what we practiced during the week,’” Schooler recalled.
Defensive tackle Deatrich Wise said the reps Schooler trained all week paid off.
“We knew it was going to work, and he did a great job of executing it well,” Wise said.
Raiders coach and former Patriots assistant Josh McDaniels said he expects other teams will try to make a play.
“If it works, it tends to be stolen,” McDaniels said Monday. “That’s what the coaching profession is all about.”
AP Sports Writer Mark Anderson in Las Vegas contributed to this report.
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