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Special Effort By Special Teams

Posted Sep 29, 2013

The Broncos score two touchdowns on special teams in Sunday's 52-20 win against the Eagles.

DENVER – For the second time in the 2013 campaign, kick returner Trindon Holliday reached the end zone on a special teams play. But in the Broncos’ 52-20 win against the Eagles on Sunday, Holliday wasn’t the only player to score a touchdown for the special teams unit.

In the fourth quarter, linebacker Steven Johnson slid past Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos and got a hand up in time to block Donnie Jones’ punt. Johnson chased down the ball and scooped it up on the 17-yard-line and ran it into the endzone for his first career touchdown.

“It was like a light,” Johnson said. “Usually, I’m blocked. I’m accounted for. I was just unblocked and I was like, ‘Whoa.’ So I went straight to the punter. I didn’t necessarily know what I was going to do and how I was going to block it. I just stuck an arm out and it happened – and then scoop and score.”

That was the last touchdown the Broncos scored on their way to a franchise-record 52 points as it put Denver out in front 49-13. It was the second blocked punt of the season for the Broncos joining safety David Bruton’s Week 1 effort.

Holliday’s 105-yard kickoff return came when the score line was much closer.

In the first quarter after an Eagles field goal made the score 7-3, Holliday tied his own record for the longest kickoff return in Broncos history.

The return score marked his sixth touchdown as a Bronco – including a pair in the 2012 playoffs – putting him alone in second place for special-teams scores in team history.

Holliday said after the game that once he gets one-on-one with the kicker, he feels like he can take it to the house. So after cutting inside of a block by Bruton – the kicker was all Holliday saw in front of him.

"He had the angle, but he didn't make a certain move,” Holliday said of the kicker. “So I just kept it straight."

The play gave the Broncos a 14-3 lead and made the defense, which had just held the Eagles to a field goal, put their helmets back on and head back on the field.

"I think that might be the only time I've ever been really excited and then like, 'Oh, wait, we've got to go back out?'” defensive end Derek Wolfe said.  “That's the only time that's ever happened to me. Their offense is high-powered and they move fast. But I thought we did a really good job of handling it."

Both Holliday and Johnson mentioned that making plays on special teams is something they work on every day in practice.

Those efforts paid off on Sunday as they Broncos proved that they have playmakers in each phase of the game.

“That’s the great thing,” wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said. “We always talk about it every week in practice. Somebody go out and make a play. We had a lot of guys make plays today. Like Steven (Johnson), he had a blocked punt and he scooped it up and scored a touchdown.

“Every week, we (preach) about who’s going to make that play. We had a lot of plays made today.”