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Connolly AFC special teams player of week

12/22/2010

Patriots offensive lineman Dan Connolly has earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after his 71-yard kickoff return in Sunday night's win over the Packers, the team announced. The return was the longest by a lineman since that statistic was first instituted in 1994.

Connolly plays in the wedge on the return team and received the bouncing kickoff as the Packers were attempting to keep the ball away from explosive returner Brandon Tate.

But Connolly provided his own unexpected explosiveness.

The kickoff return was one of the key plays in the game, coming after the Patriots fell behind 17-7 late in the second quarter. It set up a 2-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Aaron Hernandez.