Patriots

Pats pull off 'Troy Brown special' with rare feat vs. Chargers

Patriots

The stakes were much lower, but Sunday's Patriots game may have looked familiar to New England fans of a certain age.

The Patriots erased the Los Angeles Chargers 45-0 in Week 13 thanks to a pair of special teams touchdowns in the second quarter: Gunner Olszewski's 70-yard punt return and Devin McCourty's 44-yard return of a blocked field field goal.

That's only the second time New England has returned a punt for a touchdown and returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the same game.

Highlights from Patriots' 45-0 rout of Chargers

The other time? The 2001 AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown had a hand in both of those scores. Here's his 55-yard punt return through the teeth of the Steelers' defense that gave New England a 7-0 lead in the first quarter (Brown's punt return comes at the 1:50 mark):

And here's the blocked field goal in the second quarter -- Brown scoops up the ball and deftly laterals to teammate Antwan Harris, who rumbles 49 yards for a score that put the Patriots up 21-3 (The block comes at the 9:25 mark).

That was all the cushion New England needed en route to a 24-17 win that preceded its upset victory over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

The 2020 Patriots are a long way from the Super Bowl -- they're 6-6 after Sunday's win and on the outside of the playoff picture -- but their special teams have played a key role in their last two victories.

 

That's thanks in part to Brown, who's currently the team's running backs/kick returners coach and apparently showed Olszewski some of his old tricks.