Reynaud recognized again for big performance in return game

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 10:10pm

Darius Reynaud’s performance Sunday was not one of a kind.

To be precise, the Tennessee Titans return specialist became the 13th player in NFL history, albeit the first in franchise history, to return two punts for touchdowns in a single game.

Still, that performance was singled out among all others Wednesday when he was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the final week of the regular season.

It was the second time this season he earned the honor. The first was in Week 3, when he scored on a kickoff return and threw a lateral that helped create Tommie Campbell’s touchdown on a punt return in an overtime victory over Detroit.

Baltimore return man Jacoby Jones and Pittsburgh kicker Shaun Suisham were the only others who earned multiple AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors in 2012. Reynaud and Jones shared the league lead with three combined kick returns (Jones took back two kickoffs and one punt) for the season.

“I’m glad that it happened the last game of the season, just to give those fans something to look for, for next year,” Reynaud said following the Titans’ 38-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. “I pray about it every time before the game, about getting in the end zone. I ask God that’s where I want to be.”

His prayer was answered when he got there on a 69-yard return with 33 seconds to play in the second quarter. He was doubly blessed when he went 81 yards for a score 2:06 into the third quarter.

“The first one was blocked well,” Reynaud said. “I’d seen all the coverage in the middle of the field. …  When I hit the sideline I didn’t see nothing but green, I just hit the hole after that.  On the second one, I saw all those guys on the right side.  It was a right return.  So when I planted and I slipped, I turned back around and I saw all my blockers to the left side.  They made good blocks and I just finished after that.”

The last player to return two punts for touchdowns in the same game was Reggie Bush with New Orleans in 2008.

Reynaud finished the season with a 13.2-yard average on 31 punt returns. It was the fourth-highest average in team history behind only Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, who had the top three. Reynaud also averaged 23.4 yards on 53 kickoff returns.