New England Patriots punter Jake Bailey is in the middle of a tailspin that some predict will cost him his job sooner rather than later.
The Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, 26-3, to move to 5-4. The defense was dominant, and the offense did enough not to screw things up, but Bailey continues to freefall from where he was in 2020 when he made the Pro Bowl to his current concerning status.
Bailey punted the ball seven times in the Patriots’ win on Sunday, but he only averaged 38.7 yards per punt. Bailey’s day also included a woeful 7-yard punt that prompted a pretty hilarious reaction from veteran NFL play-by-play announcer Greg Gumbel. Here is a clip of Gumbel’s reaction to Bailey’s bad punt.
While winning is always paramount, it was another tough day at the office for Bailey, whose stock has fallen dramatically over the last two seasons. There are questions about whether he will remain on the roster for the rest of the season.
Twitter Reacts to Bailey’s Folly
HGTV star Chris Lambton drops a hardcore take on Bailey’s potential future with the Patriots.
Lambton’s take may sound like an overly emotional reaction to a player’s bad game, but he might be closer to the mark than some may think. Bailey came into Sunday’s game averaging career lows in almost every category.
His 42.9 yards per punt and 35.5 net yardage per attempt are career lows. What’s even more concerning is the downward trend. After his breakout season in 2020, Bailey’s numbers have spiraled down each year. The leash for kickers and punters is usually not a long one.
WBZ’s Michael Hurley also gave Bailey the business on Twitter after his tough start.
NFL analyst Taylor Kyles was left wondering if Bailey was “okay” as he watched him continue to struggle on Sunday.
WEEI’s Khari Thompson called Bailey’s 2022 season a “nightmare year.”
One fan used a funny DJ Khaled gif as hyperbole to describe how bad Bailey’s punting has been this season. Twitter is undefeated, and there is clearly no three-knockdown rule in its bout with Bailey.
Patriots Defense Bailed Everyone Out
New England had a whopping nine sacks in the win over the Patriots. Josh Uche and Matthew Judon each had three, and the other sacks were sprinkled about a lively defense that forced Colts QB Sam Ehlinger to run for his life all afternoon.
The Patriots offense wasn’t especially sharp today. The offensive line committed three more penalties, and Jones was sacked four times. The run game was only serviceable, as it produced 70 yards on an underwhelming 2.5 yards per carry.
On the bright side of the special teams’ performance, Nick Folk was a perfect 4-for-4 on the day on field goals. Also, rookie return man Marcus Jones continues to make an impact.
He had one solid kickoff return for 32 yards and three opportunities fielding punts. He averaged 11.4 yards per return on those returns, which helped New England stay in control of the field position game. On a day where neither offense was on fire, Jones’ play in the return game was more important than the number suggests.
The Patriots have a bye next week before they return to rematch the New York Jets, who bounced back from their Week 8 loss against New England to upset the Buffalo Bills.