Leave it to Bill Belichick to give NFL fans a call to be in awe of, as evidenced by the Patriots coach’s decision to deploy a never-before-seen special teams formation against the Dolphins on Sunday night.
With the Dolphins up, 17–3, in the third quarter, kicker Jason Sanders looked to boost the lead with a 49-yard field goal attempt from New England’s 31-yard line. As Miami prepared to snap the ball, Belichick elected to send safety and budding special teams ace Brenden Schooler in motion to get a running start in an attempt to block the kick.
As fate would have it, Schooler’s rush proved effective, resulting in a well-time blocked field goal recovered by Patriots safety Kyle Dugger on the NE 47. To make the already standout play even more impressive, Schooler was clocked in at an absurd 12.70 mph when the ball was snapped and 13.19 mph when the kick was blocked, according to Next Gen Stats.
Here's another look at it:
Thanks to the block from Schooler, a noted pupil of special teams legend Matthew Slater, New England went on to cut the deficit to seven with a touchdown two drives later.
Needless to say, the amazing defensive play rightfully earned a plethora of reactions on social media, with many fans and pundits in disbelief over Belichick’s gutsy, heads-up to keep his club’s chances alive:
Say what you want about Bill Belichick— Jordan (@JReber16) September 18, 2023
and the Patriots the last few seasons, but man they’re always at the cutting edge of NFL ingenuity. https://t.co/zm01xw7OXZ
The Cover 0 call into the blocked field goal into the challenge is an all-time run from Belichick— Theo Ash (@TheoAshNFL) September 18, 2023
New England Patriots highlights tonight, ranked:— Brandon DuBreuil (@CoversBDB) September 18, 2023
1. Blocked field goal formation
2. Belichick’s red flag of disgust
3. … there is no 3
Belichick just broke the internet by having a creative blocked field goal play lined up and having the challenge flag in his sock— Cole Adams (@coleadamss) September 18, 2023
He’s so back
Belichick is a cheat code... the rest of the league has been playing catch up his entire career with the patriots. Not all legal stuff but seriously. I bet at least 5 other teams try this relatively soon. 💭 Wow what an idea. People are faster when already in motion 😂 https://t.co/SDeeQY3n3K— Drew_MoneyNotMath (@Drew5Stone) September 18, 2023
Not a huge thing. Buy Patriots blocking FG using a defensive man in motion could be a radical mod to special teams play in football. That doesn’t happen often…— Thomas Finan, PhD, FSA (@tjfinan) September 18, 2023
Timing this so perfectly is wild https://t.co/GvYzyGjUNG— Ben Gretch (@YardsPerGretch) September 18, 2023