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Travis Benjamin punt return takes wrong turn in Chargers’ loss to Patriots

By in Press Enterprise on October 30, 2017

By Jack Wang

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — This one was bad.

The Chargers’ three-game winning streak ended Sunday with a 21-13 loss to the Patriots. In a mistake-filled outing at Gillette Stadium, perhaps no play looked as comically awful as Travis Benjamin’s muffed punt return.

Less than six minutes into the second quarter, the Chargers receiver backpedaled toward his own 10-yard line, hoping to field a 54-yard punt by Ryan Allen as it drifted towards the sideline. The ball bounced off Benjamin’s hands, but he caught it again after one bounce. So far, so good. He was the fastest player on his team, and possibly on the field. All was not lost.

But then, Benjamin lost track of his own position. He ran closer and closer to his own goal line, his eyes trained upwards as he looked for a hole. One never appeared. Four seconds after he first dropped the ball, he instead found himself surrounded by Patriots. They dropped him into the end zone, putting two points on the board with a safety.

SAFETY. #LACvsNE pic.twitter.com/Tsf60mPp3K

— NFL (@NFL) October 29, 2017

“That was a huge play in the game,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “You have to have some awareness of where you are on the football field. And he did not.”

New England Sports Network described it as “incredibly dumb.” Sports Illustrated called it “the worst punt return of the year.” Both CBS Sports and Yahoo! Sports suggested that it could be among the worst in NFL history.

The Patriots (6-2) got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff, and Stephen Gostkowski ended the drive with a 25-yard field goal. Essentially, Benjamin’s snafu led to five points for New England, opening up what had been a tie game.

Still, Lynn said he had no plans to take Benjamin […]    

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