The New England Patriots have something special in Jake Bailey.
The rookie punter took home AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for the second time in his young NFL career after turning in a stellar performance in Sunday’s 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Bailey punted eight times at Lincoln Financial Field. Five of them traveled 50-plus yards, including each of his last three (54, 55, 54), with an overall average of 47.6 yards per punt.
Following Bailey punts, the Eagles began drives at their own 3-, 5-, 6-, 12-, 12-, 20- and 21-yard lines, finishing with just 13 total punt return yards.
“He’s really played well for us this entire season,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Bailey, whom the team traded up to draft in the fifth round this spring. “He’s been so valuable to this team, and he proved it out there (Sunday). … He’s been great for us.”
It took New England’s previous punter, the effective Ryan Allen, four years to win two Special Teams Player of the Week awards. Bailey, who also took home the honor following a Week 3 win over the New York Jets, needed just 10 games.