For the second time in the last four weeks, the New England Patriots had to send out their kicker to win them a game in its final seconds. In Week 9, Nick Folk made a 51-yard attempt to give the club a 30-27 victory over the New York Jets. Last Sunday versus the Arizona Cardinals, he did the same: Folk split the uprights as time expired from 50 yards away to secure a 20-17 victory in the Patriots’ favor.
Folks’ game-winning field goal — the second longest kick of his season so far behind the game-winner over the Jets — was the high-point of what was again a strong performance by the veteran. Up until that point he had made both of his extra point tries and also was successful on a 22-yard field goal in the third quarter.
His 4-for-4 performance has not just helped New England win its fifth game of the season to improve to 5-6, it has now also earned Folk recognition as the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week — the fourth time in his 14-year career that he has won the award, and the second time this season after said game versus the Jets. Folk is still the only Patriot to be named a Player of the Week in either of the game’s three phases this season.
“We have a tremendous amount of confidence in Nick. He works very hard at his job and handles the responsibility that comes with it as well as he could” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said about his kicker during a media conference call on Thursday.
“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, who first arrived in New England last year as an injury replacement for Stephen Gostkowski, rejoined the team earlier this summer to compete against fifth-round rookie Justin Rohrwasser. While both were released on roster cutdown day and later signed to the practice squad, the veteran was able to carve out the top role and establish himself as a reliable presence in the Patriots’ kicking game operation.
Thus far, the 36-year-old has has made 19 of 21 field goal attempts as well as 20 of 22 point-after kicks. His overall kicking accuracy this year is 90.7 percent and in the top third of the league.