Josh Huff named NFC special teams player of the week

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A flash of brilliance to begin Sunday’s win vs. Tennessee has garnered Eagles rookie returner Josh Huff the NFC’s weekly special teams honor.

The NFL has named Huff the conference’s special teams player of the week, the league announced Wednesday morning. Huff’s 107-yard kickoff return score on the game’s first play gave the Eagles a lead they would not relinquish in a 43-24 victory over the Titans.

The touchdown — Huff’s first as a professional — was a reminder of the Eagles’ exceptional skill and diligence on special teams. It also highlighted the playmaking ability of Huff, a third-round pick from Oregon.

Huff received the opening kickoff seven yards deep in the endzone. He encountered traffic around his own 15, but his teammates opened a lane, with tight ends Zach Ertz and James Casey, wide receiver Brad Smith and safety Nate Allen getting good blocks. This gave Huff the instant he needed to spy the crease and dart through into the clear nearest the Philadelphia sideline. Another tight end, Trey Burton, would get another key block a little downfield.

By the time Huff reached his 30, Titans kicker Ryan Succop was the closest pursuer. Succop took a decent angle, but the 5-11, 206-pound Huff was too quick. The rookie got the edge, and he delivered a little stiff-arm to boot.

Now, Huff was well on his way to setting up the Eagles in Titans territory. But could he finish the deal? It all rode on whether he could fend off speedy, long-striding Titans cornerback Brandon Ghee, who had an angle and was making up ground.

But here, Huff showed some moves that would make a defensive lineman proud. He braced for contact with Ghee around the Tennessee 30, then struck Ghee was his left hand to create some space. Then, Huff delivered the decisive blow, hitting and pushing Ghee about the facemask around the 20. This sent Ghee off-balance, and he tumbled to the ground at around the 15.

From there, Huff was off to the endzone, and the Eagles were off and running against the Titans, the result of some splendid team execution and tantalizing individual talent. Vision, patience, quickness, speed, power, leverage — Huff emptied out the bag to leave the Titans in the dust.