BOSTON (CBS) — It’s not the weekly award you’d expect Dont’a Hightower to win, but the Patriots linebacker has some new hardware for his mantle.
Hightower made the most of a rare appearance on New England’s punt-rush team Sunday afternoon in Chicago, blocking a punt third quarter punt in the Patriots 38-31 win over the Bears. For that, Hightower has been named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Hightower absolutely owned tight end Ben Braunecker on the play, bulldozing him out of his way to get to punter Pat O’Donnell. Hightower got his arms up and O’Donnell’s punt attempt hit him in the chest, giving Hightower the first blocked punt of his career:
It was quite the highlight for Hightower and the Patriots. Kyle Van Noy scooped up the loose ball and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown, putting the Patriots ahead for good, 31-24, midway through the third quarter.
This is the second time of Hightower’s career that he’s earned a Player of the Week Award, having been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 6 of 2016 after recording 13 tackles and a sack in the end zone for a safety in a win against the Cincinnati Bengals.