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Patriots get revenge over Colts with big special teams play

Watch: Patriots’ Jonathan Jones blocks a punt against the Colts

When the New England Patriots took on the Indianapolis Colts last season, special teams played a vital role in the 27-17 defeat. So much to the extent that earlier this week, Matthew Slater called it the units worst game of last season.

As the Colts came to Foxboro on Sunday for a rematch, the Patriots were ready to get the sour taste from last year out of their mouths.

“I don't know if it’s revenge from last year, but it was kind of on our radar to go after them on special teams,” Jonathan Jones said postgame.

Go after them is what they did. After the Colts blocked a punt for a score against New England last season, Jones himself closed on punter Matt Haack for a punt block in the second quarter.

The block was a well-designed play from New England’s special teams unit. Jones, who was split out wide covering gunner, snuck down toward the ball before breaking into the backfield at the snap to record the block. It was something the Patriots saw on film during the week and took advantage of.

“We had that dialed up on punt to go after him pretty early,” Jones explained postgame. “It’s a lot of rhythm. They're kind of doing the same thing, same thing throughout the year. Something we worked on throughout the week to go after them and we were able to connect on it.”

“Jon [Jones] timed it up perfectly,” Bill Belichick said. “It was well designed by Cam [Achord] and Joe [Houston]. They timed it well, hit well.”

In a day that the wind impacted the kicking game at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots used it to their advantage on that play. With the ball moving in the breeze, New England were able to attack Haack’s direction by figuring out how we played the wind.

“Affected a lot,” Belichick said of the wind. “Pretty strong to their bench. Just about all the kicks went to their sideline. We had the kickoff return to their sideline, the punt return to their sideline. Kicked with the wind into their bench. That’s where we got the block from.”

Jones’ block was recovered by Brenden Schooler at the three-yard line. Two plays later, Mac Jones found Rhamondre Stevenson for a touchdown — New England’s lone offensive score of the day — to extend their lead to 13-0.

“We pride ourselves on that, playing complimentary football, setting up our offense up on a short field,” Jonathan Jones said. “We were able to get after it. That was a big play early in the game — kept momentum going. And we buy into that, defense, special teams, offense, when we together like play like, makes games easier.”

The Patriots have been awfully close on blocking kicks the past few weeks, most noticeably rookie Jack Jones on field goal blocks. It’s something the team practices and prides themselves in every week, and the work paid off against Indianapolis.

“We do a block that kick kind of emphasis every week,” Jonathan Jones said. “It’s kind of something we want to go after. Don't let up on [special] teams.”