Anatomy of a Play: Ginn's back-to-back 100-yard kickoff returns

Last weekend against the Jets, Ted Ginn became the first player in NFL history to have two 100-yard kickoff returns in the same game. They were the first and second kickoff return touchdowns of his career, and they came during a week in which he lost his starting job at wide receiver.

Maybe Ginn was fresher from not running as many routes on offense. Maybe there was some extra motivation. Maybe it was just coincidence. Whatever it was, Ginn made two of the deciding plays in the Dolphins' victory.

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The first was a great playcall.

While studying film during the week, Dolphins special teams coach John Bonamego noticed something in the Jets' coverage unit that Miami could exploit. The Jets' kickoff team ranked as one of the best in the NFL before last Sunday. They earned that ranking because they had attacked aggressively to the ball in their first seven games. Bonamego designed a return that would take advantage of that aggressiveness.

The play began with the Dolphins blockers setting up as if it was a middle return and Ginn attacked as if it was a middle return. That action drew the Jets to the middle, including and most importantly, the two defenders on the Jets' outside left -- these two players must play with tremendous leverage and discipline, so as to not let anything get outside of them with a running start.

Unfortunately for the Jets, that is exactly what happened.

Ginn's timing was perfect. Just after the Jets defenders were convinced and committed to stopping a middle return, Ginn cut to his right. Because it was a game-planned cut-back, there were no herky-jerky moves by Ginn. He broke so smoothly and so quickly that the Jets had no time to react.

Normally, an aggressive kickoff unit wins every time. They attack through blocks, suffocate running lanes, and get to the ball carrier before he can do anything. But this time, it hurt the Jets. Ginn broke contain, with speed, and had a running start toward the end zone.

On the second return, Ginn initially made a mistake but then corrected it with tremendous athleticism.

The play was designed to go up the middle. It was like a running play where the blockers set up to create a lane. Ginn was supposed to follow his fullback closely and get through the crease.

But like a young tailback often does on a negative running play, Ginn left his fullback too early, before the blocks could be set up. One of the Dolphins didn't have a chance to get a hand on his man, and that unblocked defender was headed directly at Ginn.

As for the incredible run that happened next, I'll just say: Watch the video.

With just over 100 yards of offense last Sunday, these back-to-back kickoff returns saved the Dolphins from what would likely have been their fifth loss of the season.

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