Another game-winner, another weekly honor.
New England Patriots kicker Nick Folk was recognized as the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time this season after booting a last-second 50-yard field goal in his team’s Week 12 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Folk also earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors for Week 9 after his 51-yard field goal beat the New York Jets.
The 36-year-old specialist has been one of the Patriots’ most consistent players this season, going 19-for-21 on field-goal attempts and 20-for-22 on extra points. He has not missed a field goal since Week 2, converting 19 straight over the last 10 games.
“We have a tremendous amount of confidence in Nick,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a Thursday morning video conference. “He works very hard at his job and handles the responsibility that comes with it as well as he could. He’s got great poise and great demeanor, and I think everybody feels very confident when he goes out on the field, which is a great feeling.
“And it’s something that you have to earn. That’s not something that’s given to you or you just pick up along the way. You have to go out there and earn it, and he’s certainly done that.”
Folk was out of the NFL in 2018 and kicked for the Arizona Hotshots in the Alliance of American Football in 2019. He joined the Patriots during the 2019 season — replacing an ineffective Mike Nugent, who replaced an injured Stephen Gostkowski — and kicked well, but he did not re-sign this summer until midway through into training camp.
Upon returning, Folk easily won a camp battle against fifth-round draft pick Justin Rohrwasser and has been a steady leg for New England throughout the 2020 campaign.
“I’ve been really fortunate to play with some really good kickers over the course of my career, and I’m learning a lot from Nick this year,” Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater said this week. “I think just his approach to the game, his approach to his craft, it says a lot about what this means to him.
“I think it’s a testament to why he’s been able to last so long in this league, and it’s great to see him have the success that he’s having this season, because he certainly has worked very hard at it.”
The 5-6 Patriots are scheduled to visit the 3-8 Los Angeles Chargers this Sunday.