By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
At the end of the day, I'm just happy that Brandon Bolden made the Sports Hub's Adam Jones hem and haw about him for a little bit on Friday night.
My on-air colleague is known for firmly keeping Bolden on his list of Patriots he refuses to give credit to when fans or listeners try to do it. Even Thursday night's game probably won't change that. But if there were ever a night you could at least give Bolden a smidgen of credit, it was the Patriots' 35-14 win over the Giants on Thursday night.
Bolden made a healthy contribution on offense with five total touches for 47 yards and the go-ahead rushing touchdown. But his real impact came on the area that the Patriots re-signed him for, special teams. On a Riley Dixon punt late in the first quarter, Bolden pushed linebacker Nate Stupar back and too close to Dixon, which caused the punt to doink off Stupar's helmet. The ball then fell into the hands of rookie Chase Winovich, who galloped into the end zone for his first career touchdown. It was the first score of the game in a night with a whimsical assortment of them.
“I just made contact with him, and as I was driving him back I really had two options. Either throw him into the punter, or just stick my hand up," said Bolden on the play. "I stuck my hand up, and the ball really just hit off my hand. It was just luck at that point."
Bolden's push helped directly lead to the Pats' second special teams touchdown of the season, and a score that really felt like they needed it at the time. The Patriots scored touchdowns in all three phases on Thursday night and continued to show how, especially if the offense can become more consistent (and maybe add a piece or two), they can beat teams on the scoreboard in just about any way they want.
Like him or not, Bolden was a key piece to reshaping a special teams corps that didn't have its best season in 2018. Now it's looking like as dangerous a special teams unit as any in the league, thanks in part to Bolden's return stabilizing the group. And it's cool that he grabbed that touchdown, too.
"I’m just trying to take advantage of every opportunity I get," said Bolden. "The offense trusts me enough to throw me in there, so I’m just trying to do my job the best I can."
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].