Patriots pull off the coolest blocked kick ever
We often say that the NFL is a copycat league.
The Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots might have given us the most creative examples of that axiom yet during their matchup Sunday night.
One of the little wrinkles that Mike McDaniel has added to the Dolphins’ offense is the use of motion right at the snap, giving Tyreek Hill and other speedy receivers a change to get almost a running start on a play. While NFL rules dictate that players cannot be moving towards the line of scrimmage at the snap, the Dolphins use motion to give their receivers a jump on routes that work laterally, or perhaps bend laterally before breaking vertically.
This was something we saw in Miami’s Week 1 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, and something we saw again from the Dolphins Sunday night in their 24-17 win over the Patriots.
New England used motion against the Dolphins Sunday night, but not like you might expect. While the Patriots offense certainly used motion, the play in question actually involves New England’s field goal block unit.
Late in the third quarter the Dolphins set up for a 49-yard field goal attempt. But New England was able to block the kick, thanks to Brenden Schooler, and a little bit of presnap motion:
BLOCKED KICK : #MIAvsNE on NBC : Stream on #NFLPlus https://t.co/FhXtx7w3wW pic.twitter.com/Algkk6q1IN— NFL (@NFL)
Schooler is that flash of red you see coming in off the left side of the field goal block unit, crashing down the line of scrimmage and right to the block point to prevent the field goal. This replay angle shows just how Schooler timed this perfectly:
What a setup and impressive speed from @SchoolerBrenden @Patriots : #MIAvsNE on NBC : Stream on #NFLPlus https://t.co/FhXtx7w3wW pic.twitter.com/E0ttYrlvSq— NFL (@NFL)
According to telemetry data from Next Gen Stats, Schooler was traveling at 12.70 miles per hour when the ball was snapped, and was up to 13.19 mph at the block point:
Patriots special teamer Brenden Schooler got a running start before blocking Jason Sanders' 49-yard field goal attempt.Schooler was traveling 12.70 mph when the ball was snapped and 13.19 mph when the kick was blocked.#MIAvsNE | #ForeverNE pic.twitter.com/oMNQSHUAxW— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats)
After the game, the special teamer talked about the design, and the opportunity.
“Just had the right opportunity,” Schooler said. “Count out my steps properly and just time it up well. Everybody else on the field did there job well so I could go execute mine.”
“As soon as the ball was snapped, I felt myself and the momentum carrying I knew I was going to get there,” he added. “Just wanted to make sure I got a hand on the ball - or something where I could stop the ball — and hopefully one of us would pick it up.”
Schooler also gave credit to the coaching staff for the idea, and film study, necessary to make the play happen.
“[Joe] Judge, [Joe] Houston, and Cam [Achord] they dialed up a really good scheme for that block and saw a weak point on their field goal operation. We worked it during the week and felt pretty confident about it going into the game,” Schooler outlined.
The successful block from Schooler might have impacted another field goal try from Miami later in the game. With just over two minutes remaining, Miami kicker Jason Sanders tried to put the game away with a 55-yard field goal. Schooler again aligned outside, and came in motion to try and block the kick.
While he did not get home, Sanders pulled the kick wide, and New England took over with a chance to tie the game in the closing minutes. According to Schooler, his pressure off the edge impacted the play.
“Talking with our specialists, they feel when there’s pressure at their feet,” Schooler explained. “Once you get a block like that, it’s hard for anybody to kind of dial in and stay focus. So, once you get pressure on a kicker like that it’s a little bit easier to get him rattled. Once we had that block, I didn’t want to be offsides but I wanted to definitely have him feel pressure coming off the edge again.”
New England might have lost on Sunday night, but they might have given us the coolest blocked kick in league history.
And a new schematic tweak to track the rest of the season.
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28 of September 2023