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Best and Worst: Patriots Special Teams PFF Grades vs Chargers



Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Derius Davis (12) is tackled by New England Patriots Matthew Slater (18) and Ty Montgomery II (14) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. Ty Montgomery was New England highest rated special teams player in Week 13 by Pro Football Focus (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Special teams has been a source of pride for the New England Patriots for decades. But the 2023 team cannot seem to live up to the lofty expectations set by their predecessors. Despite having several players specifically on the roster for their work on special teams, there has been far too many breakdowns. This is the second year in a row with such problems, and Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers was no different. As they do every week, Pro Football Focus graded all the individual players in the game. A look at the best and worst from New England’s special teams grades.

PFF Grading System

Before getting into the best and worst Patriots performances from Sunday, a quick review of what the numbers represent. Their are five possible tiers a grade places a player in:

  • 100-90 = Elite
  • 89-85 = Pro Bowler
  • 84-70 = Starter
  • 69-60 = Backup
  • 59-0 = Replaceable

New England had only one player on offense (Cole Strange) score over a 70 against Los Angeles. Five defensive players came in over that mark, led by Mack Wilson, Sr., who shows up again on the list below. Only three scored over 70 on special teams. That is just the cutoff to be a starter, which illustrates just how poorly the offense and special teams was on Sunday.

Best of Week 13

Ty Montgomery (88.3). He was part of the coverage teams for both punts and kickoffs. In only eight snaps on special teams, Ty Montgomery made two tackles, which led the team.

Jahlani Tavai (71.4). Tavai played in every facet of special teams. He was in on 18-of-21 special teams snaps. Tavai made the only solo special teams tackle aside from Montgomery. It is especially impressive given his large workload on defense. He also came very close to a punt block.

Mack Wilson, Sr. (71.4). The Patriots highest ranked defensive player by PFF also ties for the second highest special teams grade. He played everything but the field goal block team (two snaps) and assisted on a tackle.

The only New England Patriots players to score a 64 or better were Jabrill Peppers (67.4) and J.C. Jackson (64.9). However, Peppers and Jackson played three snaps and one snap respectively on special teams.

Worst of Week 13

Brenden Schooler (48.3). Schooler registers the only score under 50 here. He played in all 21 special teams snaps, but had no tackles. The Patriots special teams units were only credited with two missed tackles, and Schooler was given both.

Cody Davis (51.7). Like Schooler, Davis is only on the roster for his special teams play. So it is disappointing for New England to see another special teams player at the bottom of this week’s grades. His performance mirrors that of Schooler, but without the missed tackles.

Marte Mapu (54.7). The rookie played on punt and kickoff coverage. He was also in for two punt returns. He put up no statistics, but whatever he did do was not enough to get a passing grade from PFF.

Pharaoh Brown (10 snaps), Josh Uche (three snaps), and LS Joe Cardona (seven snaps) were the other special teams players that fell below a score of 60 in this week’s Pro Football Focus grades.