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NFL 2016: Exciting Returns
Last season featured many exciting plays in the return game. These exhilarating plays, made by some of the game's most dynamic playmakers, started early and kept coming.
Seattle's Tyler Lockett recorded a 57-yard punt-return touchdown in Week 1 and became the first rookie to score a touchdown on his first career punt return on Kickoff Weekend since 2005. In the same game, the Rams' TAVON AUSTIN returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown. The game was the first season opener in NFL history in which both teams scored on a punt-return touchdown.
"He just looks unstoppable out there," says Seahawks head coach PETE CARROLL about Lockett, who was selected to the Pro Bowl as a return specialist. "Those returns are just a bunch of guys working together to get it done. That's the biggest thing we talk about on special teams. Just making a difference to be able to get our offense in the best position possible."
New York Giants return specialist DWAYNE HARRIS had both a punt-return touchdown and kickoff-return touchdown last season. His 100-yard kickoff-return touchdown in Week 7 proved to be the decisive score in a 27-20 victory against Dallas. Harris became just the third player in franchise history with both a kickoff-return touchdown and punt-return touchdown in the same season.
"It's not just about me as the returner," says Harris. "It is the guys up front who open lanes for me. I am just the guy running with the ball and making guys miss. But it starts up front. When they believe in me, it helps the whole team achieve our goal." Arizona's DAVID JOHNSON set a franchise-record with a 108-yard kickoff-return touchdown in Week 2, tied for the second-longest kickoff-return touchdown in NFL history. He is the only player in NFL history to score a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown and kickoff-return touchdown in his first two games to begin a career.
Johnson and Pro Football Hall of Famer GALE SAYERS (1965) are the only rookies in NFL history with at least four rushing touchdowns (eight), four receiving touchdowns (four) and a kickoff-return touchdown.
"He's just a special player," says Cardinals quarterback CARSON PALMER about Johnson. "He covers so much ground with each stride and it's very deceiving. It doesn't look like he's as fast as he is. He's got a long and powerful stride that it almost looks effortless. He's got so much power behind each step."
Tavon Austin, Rams
In Week 1, became the fifth player in the past 20 years to score a touchdown on a punt return and a rush in the same game.
Antonio Brown, Steelers
Recorded his fourth career punt-return touchdown in Week 7, tied for the most in franchise history.
Dwayne Harris, Giants
Recorded a 100-yard kickoff-return touchdown in Week 7 and an 80-yard punt-return touchdown in Week 13, becoming just the third player in franchise history with a kickoff-return touchdown and punt-return touchdown in the same season.
David Johnson, Cardinals
In Week 2, recorded a 108-yard kickoff-return touchdown, tied for the second-longest in NFL history.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
Became the second rookie in NFL history to have both a punt-return touchdown and a kickoff-return touchdown in his team's first three games to start a season.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings
In Week 13, scored on a 101-yard kickoff-return touchdown, the fourth of his career. Patterson has nine career kickoff returns of at least 50 yards, the most in Vikings history.
Darren Sproles, Eagles
Recorded an 89-yard punt-return touchdown and a rushing touchdown in Week 3, his second career performance with a punt-return touchdown and a rushing touchdown, becoming the fourth player to record multiple games with both a punt-return touchdown and a rushing touchdown in NFL history.