FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Dont'a Hightower has been named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the Patriots 38-31 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. It marks the second time in his career that he has earned a Player of the Week Award. He earned 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 on Oct. 16.
With the score tied at 24 midway through the third quarter, Hightower blocked a Chicago punt attempt that was recovered by LB Kyle Van Noy and returned 29 yards for a touchdown. The score put the Patriots ahead, 31-24, and gave them the lead for good. It was the first blocked punt of Hightower's career and the first blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown for New England since 1996. This accolade is the first Player of the Week Award for the Patriots since RB Dion Lewis won AFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 16 last season and the first Special Teams Player off the Week Award since K Stephen Gostkowski earned the award for Week 11 of 2017.