EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11: Isaiah Trufant #35 of the New York Jets returns a blocked punt 18-yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys during their NFL Season Opening Game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Jets can attribute their Week 1 victory over the Cowboys to numerous sources, but it was special teams that took the game over in the final minutes. A blocked punt tied the game. Nick Folk's clutch 50 yard kick won it.
This brings me back to a point I made in preseason. Think about how the team is saving a roster spot for injured special teams standout Logan Payne. He made the team over a guy in Patrick Turner who had a better preseason at their natural wide receiver position. If you are a special teams standout, you might make a play that will win a game. The same is not true of a developmental guy buried on the depth chart who does not contribute on special teams.
Close games against good teams can be decided by a few plays including those on special teams. Even though Joe McKnight and Nick Folk were virtual locks to make the roster, fringe players who make big plays can be very valuable.