Anatomy Of A 100 Yard TD Kickoff Return
By FirstDown PlayBook on Sep 25, 2019

When we see a kickoff return for 100 yards or more we often think that one special player just made that happen. However, in many cases there is a lot more to it. There is always a lot of effort and execution by the others on the return team. Also, there is often some good coaching that went into the play.

The Detroit Lions ran a kickoff back against the Eagles on Sunday and it was executed about as well as it could be. Long time NFL veteran special teams coach John Bonamego certainly saw a few of these things going into the game.

First, they had to know that they could get the return out to the field which is hard to do in the NFL. Normally one of the 5’s or the 4 on the kickoff coverage would cut this return off from ever getting back out to the wide side of the field.

Secondly, they certainly understood that they needed to double team #94 and #58 out to the field side for the Eagles. Usually this is because the player or players getting doubled are very good. They did this and they did it very well. These two Philadelphia Eagles cover guys were eliminated from the coverage at the point of attack.

Finally and maybe most importantly, Bonamego and his staff must have seen on tape that they could get #41 over to the return side to gain an extra blocker. When this happens it is never good for the kickoff cover team. The Eagles needed to get either #32 or #23 involved so that #41 would have to block them to get the play started.

As it turned out #41 for the Lions was able to block to the return side and now the Lions had the numbers in their favor. One hundred yards later the Lions were celebrating in the end zone. As is the case many times in an NFL game, the Lions won a close three point game and can look to this special teams play as a major reason why.


FirstDown PlayBook is the only Digital Football PlayBook that gives you access to over thirty five thousand football plays, schemes and technique help all designed by coaches and players with NFL experience. FirstDown Playbook is also the official PlayBook resource of USA Football and Football Canada..