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Top 10 kick return touchdowns of 2010

New rules got you down? This will help. Joe Fortenbaugh

Print This March 23, 2011, 04:00 PM EST

23.

That’s the number of kickoffs that were returned for touchdowns during the 2010 regular season. But after the NFL announced on Tuesday that kickoffs would be moved from the 30 to the 35-yard line, fans, analysts and players alike expressed concern over one of the most exciting elements of the game being hit with a serious limitation.

Matt Bowen did an excellent job discussing the new kickoff rule Wednesday morning, but we’re going to take a different approach this afternoon.

If the excitement that is shared from the kicking game is coming to a close, we might as well look back on some of the best return touchdowns from the 2010 season.

Here are the top-ten kick return touchdowns from last year. As always, I have a feeling that those of you who disagree won’t hesitate to let me know.

10. The Buccaneers refuse to go away

Game: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
When: Week 9 (November 7, 2010)
Distance: 89 yards

The Falcons led by as many as 14 points in this divisional matchup, but the feisty Buccaneers refused to go quietly. Trailing 27-14 late in the third quarter, Michael Spurlock made his move…

Editor’s Note: I apologize for the quality of this video, but it’s the only one I could find. Skip ahead to the 2:11 mark for the score.

Tampa went on to lose 27-21, but not before they gave the Falcons their best punch.

9. Stephens-Howling sets the tempo

Game: Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals
When: Week 3 (September 26, 2010)
Distance: 102 yards

Tough day for Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski. Not only did he miss three field goals (including a game winner from 32 yards), but the Pro Bowler’s opening kickoff was taken 102 yards to the house while he failed to make a tackle.

8. Spiller keeps it close

Game: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
When: Week 3 (September 26, 2010)
Distance: 95 yards

The Bills entered this Week 3 divisional showdown having lost 13 straight games to the New England Patriots. Quarterback Tom Brady hit wide receiver Randy Moss for a 35-yard touchdown pass at the start of third quarter to open up an eight-point New England lead, but rookie running back C.J. Spiller quickly responded…

Buffalo hung tough, but ended up losing 38-30.

7. REVERSE!!

Game: Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans
When: Week 2 (September 19, 2010)
Distance: 89 yards

14 seconds. That’s all it took for the Ben Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh Steelers to grab control of this Week 2 slugfest at Tennessee that featured seven Titans turnovers.

Antonio Brown gets the score, Mewelde Moore gets the assist.

6. Percy makes ‘em pay

Game: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
When: Week 6 (October 17, 2010)
Distance: 95 yards

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo hit wide receiver Roy Williams for a two-yard touchdown with just 29 seconds to go in the first half to give Dallas a 14-7 lead at Minnesota in this Week 6 matchup.

Unfortunately for Wade Phillips, the momentum from that touchdown didn’t last very long.

Harvin opened up the second half with a 95-yard return that knotted the score at 14 and set the stage for a 24-21 Vikings victory.

5. Ford turns on the afterburners

Game: Indianapolis Colts at Oakland Raiders
When: Week 16 (December 26, 2010)
Distance: 99 yards

Now this is how you start a football game.

Note: Jacoby Ford is fast. Watch how quickly he beats kicker Pat McAfee (#1) to the sideline.

Sadly, Ford’s return wasn’t enough to trigger an upset, as the Colts went on to beat the Raiders 31-26.

4. Stefan Logan gives Detroit a reason to cheer

Game: St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions
When: Week 5 (October 10, 2010)
Distance: 105 yards

At 0-4, everything that could go wrong in 2010 did for head coach Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions.

Then came a Week 5 date against Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams

Logan’s touchdown broke a 3-3 tie in the second quarter and paved the way for a 44-6 blowout win.

3. Leon Washington gets busy

Game: San Diego Chargers at Seattle Seahawks
When: Week 3 (September 26, 2010)
Distance: 99 yards

2010 was the year the San Diego Chargers demonstrated how an awful special teams unit could cost you a spot in the postseason. Having let the always-dangerous Leon Washington torch the kickoff team for a 102-yard touchdown to start the second half, the Bolts battled back from a 17-0 deficit to tie the game at 20-20 late in the fourth quarter.

Then, as only a glutton for punishment would, the Chargers kicked the ball to Washington once again…

2. David Reed breaks free

Game: Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans
When: Week 14 (December 13, 2010)
Distance: 103 yards

Leading 21-7 at the beginning of the third quarter, Ravens rookie returner David Reed decided to jumpstart the second half of this Monday night showdown by driving a stake through the hearts of the thousands of Texans fans in attendance at Reliant Stadium.

Following Reed’s touchdown, the Texans went on to force overtime after rattling off 20 unanswered points. Sadly, Houston couldn’t close the deal as a Matt Schaub pick-six closed the show just over three minutes into the extra frame.

1. Don’t call it a comeback

Game: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When: Week 13 (December 5, 2010)
Distance: 102 yards

Trailing 24-14 with just over ten minutes to play in a pivotal NFC South showdown, Atlanta’s Eric Weems took a Tampa kickoff 102 yards to the house, triggering a 14-point rally that paved the way for a thrilling 28-24 Falcons victory.

Were there any great returns that I missed? Feel free to let me know in the comments section.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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