Chad Ryland may have just saved his job with the Patriots

New England Patriots v Denver Broncos
New England Patriots v Denver Broncos / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

Maybe it's not your desired outcome since most Patriots fans have already set their sights on the 2024 NFL draft. But Chad Ryland's game-winning 56-yard field goal was quite the unexpected way for the Patriots to beat the Broncos on the road in a game no one believed they could win.

The rookie kicker has been one of the more problematic players on the team this year due to missing seven field goals before Sunday's game. He made matters worse by adding another in Denver and throwing in a missed extra point.

It had all the makings of a kicker who would be waived come Monday morning, or maybe on Tuesday, given tomorrow is Christmas, or at least a guy who wouldn't be on the roster in 2024. But that all changed after Bailey Zappe led a game-winning drive to give Ryland a chance to give them the lead, leaving just two seconds left in the game.

There wasn't much hope he would be successful, not just because he had already made heartbreaking misses earlier in the game that would've allowed them to avoid this predicament, but because it was an extra long kick that not many can make in the NFL today.

Since he had already missed a 47 yarder before halftime, what are the chances he would be one 9 yards further out?

Well, that's exactly what happened, and it sent a shockwave through Patriots Nation. It sent the fans into a whirlwind of emotions, most of which were feeling conflicted between celebrating a hard-earned win and mourning the presumed loss of the second overall pick in the upcoming draft.

No matter your reaction, it's hard not to be happy for Ryland, who has faced a lot of scrutiny this season, which escalated even more with his performance in the first half. Although most of the criticism has been warranted, seeing a young player be knocked down for every minor thing he does is never enjoyable.

So, seeing him hit the game-winner was a cool way to redeem himself.

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