“In any return, there’s one guy who’s not blocked. And your job as the return man is to make that guy miss. If you can do that, you’ve got a chance to take it all the way.”
Kevin Faulk told me that in respect to Ellis Hobbs‘ NFL record 108-yard kickoff return TD on opening weekend of the 2007 season. (That’s right, you can read Faulk’s comments and more in Game Changers: The Greatest Plays in New England Patriots History.)
I got to thinking about Hobbs’ play yesterday after Brandon Tate took the opening kickoff of the second half 97 yards for a touchdown. (Hobbs’ TD also came on the opening kickoff of the second half.)
Thought about it more as I watched and rewatched the Tate play last night. It’s a really pretty return. Tate gets one really good block (I think it’s Rob Gronkowski who throws it), but other than that, it’s all about the second-year WR/kick returner, who’s healthy for the first time in his NFL career and showing great promise.
The play’s not a game changer, mind you. The Pats had the thing well in hand by the end of the first half. But it did pretty much ice the thing.
NFL.com won’t let me embed the video here, but ya gotta go check it out.