New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick always places the highest of emphasis on special teams as a potential difference-maker between winning and losing games.
"Special teams always has a huge impact on the game," Belichick said during a conference call on Monday. "We talk about it being a third of the game and it's probably pretty close to that.
"Certainly those are plays where points are involved on field goals or the ball is being exchanged. A lot of things can happen when the ball gets exchanged or attempts to be exchanged."
In Sunday's 41-13 win against the Dolphins, special teams was a deciding factor as the Patriots earned an early boost of momentum on Jamie Collins' field-goal block that Kyle Arrington returned for a touchdown. It was the Patriots' third field-goal block of the season -- the others blocked by Chandler Jones and Chris Jones.
The block turned into the Patriots' first score of the game and the play proved to be the separating factor in the team taking a 14-13 lead into halftime.
After the game, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who played a role in the block by pushing the line of scrimmage, talked about the perfect execution by the entire unit.
"That was the best -- I mean, we practice that to a 'T'," Wilfork said. "We got the perfect look we wanted and we executed it well. And always say, if you don't execute at this level, you're in trouble. I think tonight we executed and it showed tonight."
Belichick agreed with Wilfork that the play was executed to near perfection.
"I think it was really well-executed all across the board," Belichick said. "It was kind of an unusual play where normally on kick blocks you see the player on the line of scrimmage and somebody goes through a gap and penetrates and gets a line on the flight of the ball.
"But, this time Jamie started behind the line of scrimmage, the play opened up with Vince [Wilfork] and [Sealver] Siliga and [Jamie] was able to shoot the gap there with his athleticism and length and able to time it and get his hand on the ball."
On top of a block to prevent points, Arrington was able to locate the ball and return it 62 yards for a touchdown. Instead of giving up three points, the Patriots scored seven of their own.
"Kyle's role on that play was to do what he did which was occupy the wing and if the ball was blocked to put himself into a position where he could react to the block and scoop and score, which is exactly what he did," Belichick said. "A lot of times when you come from the left or right outside the line and where Kyle goes diving across the kicker, the opposite corner or opposite end guy in case the ball is blocked, he is in position to do that on the other side, so Kyle was doing what he was supposed to do on that play and took advantage of it."
Belichick acknowledged it's difficult to prepare for every special teams situation because of all of the variables that occur during a game, but he is confident and proud of his staff's ability to prepare for those situations.
"We put a lot into [special teams] and coach [Scott] O'Brien and coach [Joe] Judge do a great job every week of game-planning and preparing our players to execute our plays but also are aware of situations and opportunities and matchups that occur in those areas," Belichick said.