BOSTON -- When Marcus Jones became the first player in the NFL to return a punt for a touchdown this season, he won the game for the Patriots over the Jets. He also pretty much guaranteed himself a Special Teams Player of the Week honor.
That became a reality on Wednesday, when the NFL announced that the rookie returner had indeed earned that honor. Jones' 84-yard punt return touchdown in the waning seconds of Sunday's game broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Patriots a hard-earned 10-3 win.
Jones is now the fourth Patriots rookie since 2000 to be named Special Teams Player of the Week, joining Jake Bailey (twice in 2019), Bethel Johnson (2003) and Laurence Maroney (2006).
The NFL noted that Jones is now just the sixth player since 1970 to score a game-winning touchdown on a punt return in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime, and it was the second-latest such score since 1970. Jones crossed the goal line with 5 seconds left on the clock, whereas DeSean Jackson scored with no time left on his memorable game-winning return for the Eagles against the Giants in 2010.
The Patriots have now had a player named Special Teams Player of the Week after both of their victories over the Jets. Kicker Nick Folk took home those honors after the Week 8 win over the Jets for his five field goal performance.
Jones, 24, was a third-round pick by the Patriots out of Houston. In his collegiate career at Troy and Houston, he returned six kickoffs for touchdowns and three punts for touchdowns.
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