DENVER – Wide receiver
The Broncos return man found the end zone twice during the regular season on electric returns, but Holliday had never enjoyed a performance quite like the one he turned in Saturday night, which happened to be Special Teams Coach Jeff Rodgers’ birthday. In fact, no player in NFL history had, as Holliday recorded not one, but two historic returns in his team’s playoff opener.
The 5-foot-5 return man got his record-setting performance going on his very first touch of the afternoon. Holliday caught the first punt of the game while moving backwards and started his forward momentum at his own 10-yard line. He angled toward the sideline before turning upfield at the numbers, beating one tackler near his own 25-yard line before cruising the rest of the way to the end zone along the sideline.
“After that opening touchdown – we had talked about the whole week that we thought that special teams was going to win this game,” Holliday said.
The play marked the longest postseason punt return for a touchdown in NFL history — and the first such score in Broncos franchise history. And it wasn’t Holliday’s only historic play of the evening.
The former track star at LSU fielded the opening kickoff of the second half 4 yards deep in his end zone near the right sideline. Holliday quickly burst toward the middle of the field, eluding a pair of defenders between the hashes with a sharp turn toward the right sideline. From there, nothing but green grass stood between Holliday and the end zone as the speedster found the end zone for his fourth touchdown of the year in the return game.
“We went into halftime and the game was tied up 28-28, so it was like 0-0 to us,” Holliday said. “We just came out and Coach told us to set the tempo when we come out for the second half. When we got the kickoff, I just ran it back for a touchdown.”
It was another memorable display of speed, as it established a new postseason record for the longest postseason kick return in NFL history. Combined with his first-quarter score, it made him the first player in NFL history to score on both a punt return and a kick return for a touchdown in the same season.