New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

  • Hunter Henry may have saved the Patriots from certain doom on Sunday.

    Despite a clutch fourth-quarter touchdown drive, the Patriots were still clinging to a two-point lead as they and the Miami Dolphins lined up for an onside kick with just 1:04 left in regulation. If the Patriots – who had most certainly not been sharp in the clutch lately – boner’d another one, if something went haywire and the Dolphins recovered that kick, they would’ve been vulnerable to a game-losing field goal. Nick Folk’s missed extra point loomed large, for a moment.

    But none of that happened. Instead, Hunter Henry calmly and cleanly absorbed the onside kick into his body, officially killing any hopes of another Miami Miracle. A nondescript play, but a hard one to make under high pressure, and Henry was able to do it with no problems – after playing the whole game on offense.

  • Henry played 60 offensive snaps (including two final kneeldowns and excluding pre-snap penalties) in the Patriots’ 23-21 win over the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. That’s good for a snap percentage of one hundred. It was much-needed, with Jonnu Smith out due to a concussion and Matt Sokol the next man up at tight end.

    Henry did his part on offense with five catches for 52 yards, including an impressive 29-yard connection with Mac Jones on third-and-6 in the second quarter (watch above), and blocked every run play. That onside kick recovery was simply the capper on a quietly heroic effort for the increasingly reliable tight end.

    “I think I feel like that every week. I feel like a guy that this team can rely on, to be dependable in the run game, pass game, protection,” Henry said after the game. “I try to do as much as I can for this team.”

  • Jones loved it. He wasn’t surprised to see Henry be the one to cleanly field the onside kick without even a hint of worry.

    “I think Hunter is just a great all-around, savvy football player,” Jones said in his postgame presser. “He has a great understanding of not only the tight end position, but for example that right there, staying calm, fielding the ball. Not the easiest thing to do when the game is on the line.

    “That’s just who Hunter is. He’s a laid-back, easygoing guy. I love Hunter. Excited to grow with him throughout the years, all that. He did a great job.”

  • At tight end, the Patriots may be looking at depth concerns heading into 2023, with Smith looming as a likely cap casualty after two disappointing seasons. But Henry has been contributing in notable ways for the offense in the second half of 2022, despite his receiving numbers (along with the entire offense) taking a step back.

    Sunday was a reminder of why he’s likely a piece the Patriots can rely on to be a key contributor through next season, and perhaps someone they’d want to try to keep around longer.

    After beating the Dolphins, the Patriots are 8-8 heading into Week 18, when they’ll have an opportunity to make the AFC Playoffs with a win over the Buffalo Bills. We’ll continue to cover all things Patriots for you here at 985TheSportsHub.com.

  • Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster 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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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