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New England Patriots catch break on botched punt

A nearly disastrous play turned out to be a good break for the New England Patriots.

With 2:28 remaining in the first half of the Patriots' 43-22 win over the Indianapolis Colts, New England set up to punt from their own 44-yard line. Long snapper Danny Aiken darted a snap a mile over punter Ryan Allen's head.

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The ball bounced down to the 3-yard line where Allen corralled it.

Allen should have kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety.

Instead, the wayward punter tried to throw a pass. Two defenders crushed Allen as he gathered the ball and fumbled it. Luckily for him, the ball was batted out the back of the end zone.

Of all the bad things that could have happened -- a touchdown or a first-and-goal for the Colts -- a safety was clearly the best option.

A Patriots interception on the subsequent Colts possession put a stamp on that point.

Allen went to the locker room following the play. He didn't return to the game with a shoulder injury.

The Patriots took a 21-12 lead to halftime and it could have been much worse after the bad snap.

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