3. Ryan Allen's Insane Punt
Is this the most majestic special teams play by a Patriots kicker since Adam Vinatieri? Probably, right? It doesn't win overall special teams because the Wes Welker Broncos fumble in overtime is the greatest in that time frame. But is this the best kick?
Danny Aiken skips the snap into the end zone, which is terrifying with the Patriots down three against the then-#1 defense in the league in the first quarter.
Ryan Allen recovers the ball and just boots it to the moon, has it bounce off of the ISS, and land roughly 80 yards away near the 20 yard line. And then Matthew Slater shows why he's the best gunner in the league and makes the stop.
This is how special teams players can shift the field and this is why the Patriots invest so heavily in that forgotten facet of the game.
14. 2012 1st Round Picks
This is how the Patriots finished their Week 15 game against the Dolphins: with Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower combining to sack Ryan Tannehill. All three were first round picks from 2012.
This is the exact reason why the Patriots finally cashed in their chips in the first round, after years of trading down and accumulating second round picks. In 2012, the Patriots traded up in the first to get Jones and Hightower to be the cornerstones of the defense to restore the defense back to a degree of legitimacy, after a horrifying 2011 season (yes, that wound up with a trip to the Super Bowl).
Hightower developed into a top 3 linebacker in the NFL this season. Chandler Jones is a quality edge defender. This is why the Patriots ponied up in the draft for these players.