More often than not, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly elects to defer the opening kickoff in favor of getting the ball to start the second half.
But for some reason against the Titans Sunday he wanted the ball first. And 10 seconds later, after the longest play in the history of the franchise, the Birds led 7-0.
“I’m not going to let those guys down,” Josh Huff said. “They cleared the way for me and I wanted to get into the end zone and celebrate.”
Huff is just the latest Eagle to contribute a non-offensive touchdown — the team has a remarkable 10 of them through 11 games.
The 107-yard return to start the game was a resounding show of faith by Kelly in Huff, his former Oregon pupil and a player who has had a very slow start to his NFL career. Especially when Chris Polk, who has a kickoff returned for a touchdown himself, was passed over to start the game (though Polk would field a few kickoff returns himself before the 43-24 romping of Tennessee was through).
Huff has made his share of drops and mistakes this season, but the third-round pick is slowly rounding into form as a versatile NFL receiver and return man.
“He has great speed and also he’s got some size to him,” Kelly said of Huff. “The kicker got a shot at him and he threw a stiff arm and then the safety came over to him, he’s got a physical nature to him and he’s good with his hands.”
The credit though, Huff says, goes to his teammates.
“It was a great set up by my teammates,” the speedster said. “There were one on one blocks up front, they executed well and they made a hole for me.”