Gunner Olszewski’s monster game against the Los Angeles Chargers earned him the first weekly honor of his NFL career.
Olszewski was recognized as the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 13 after he returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown and had additional returns of 61 and 14 yards in the New England Patriots’ 45-0 victory Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
The second-year wide receiver/return man also caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham in the win.
Olszewski, who joined the Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of Divison II Bemidji State in 2019, has been remarkably productive in the return game of late. He also had a punt return touchdown called back for a penalty in New England’s Week 12 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
In nine games as New England’s primary punt returner this season, Olszewski is averaging 26.9 yards per runback on nine attempts.
“Gunner?s worked extremely hard and overcome a lot,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said after the Chargers game. “He?s not a big guy, but he?s got a big heart, and he plays hard.”
A Patriots player has earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors in each of the last two weeks. Kicker Nick Folk was recognized after kicking a 50-yard game-winning field goal against the Cardinals. Folk also earned a Player of the Week nod for Week 9 after his 51-yard game-winner beat the New York Jets.
Former Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy was the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week for Week 13. He tallied eight tackles, three sacks, five tackles for loss and a pass breakup for the Miami Dolphins in a 19-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.