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Across the board, the Patriots have had their moments on special teams this season, one of many reasons they went 12-4, won the AFC East, and earned the No. 2 seed in the conference playoffs. In fact, this season may have been the finest in Scott O’Brien’s 21 years as an NFL special teams coach.
In nearly every statistical category, the Patriots had the edge over their opponents on special teams. Stephen Gostkowski was 38 for 41 on field goals, didn’t miss an extra point, and had the second-most kickoff touchbacks in the league. The Patriots averaged 10.8 yards per punt return and allowed 7.6. They averaged 24.0 yards per kickoff return, compared with 20.8 for opponents.