Go figure that the smallest guy on the team can make the biggest plays. At 5’5″170 pounds, Trindon Holliday has done just that two weeks in a row.
In the Denver Broncos’ 36-14 win over the Carolina Panthers, Holliday ran a punt back 76 yards for a touchdown. Last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, it was a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“Two weeks in a row with a kickoff return for a touchdown, I just can’t tell you what that does for the entire team, especially on offense,” Peyton Manning said.
Holliday’s big return this week came at a great time. On their previous possession, the Broncos scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Brandon Stokley to tie the game 7-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Broncos’ defense got a quick three-and-out which was highlighted by Elvis Dumervil sacking Cam Newton and forcing him to fumble. The Panthers recovered and were forced to punt from their own 26-yard line.
Holliday caught the ball and took it up the right side of the field to make it 14-7.
“Any time you score I think it changes the game,” head coach John Fox said. “They went right down the field and scored on us, we answered it, and it was still kind of nip and tuck. Every once in a while it gets like that in a game. That was an explosive play in the game that changed the momentum at that point.”
It’s a surprise that Holliday was released by the Houston Texans. He had three returns for a touchdown in preseason. Once he hit the market, the Broncos quickly signed him.
“We knew it was a need from the end of last season in free agency when we lost Eddie Royal to the Chargers,” Fox said. “He had been our return man, a very efficient return man. We kind of just kept looking. When he became available, we dove in.”
Holliday saw plenty of action off of the Panthers’ nine punts. Aside from running one back for a touchdown, he had a 21-yard run back on another punt, and a 27-yard run on a kickoff.
Holliday did so well that the Broncos even put him on the field on offense. He lined up in the backfield and caught a 15-yard pass from Manning on his first play. On his second play, he caught a 2-yard pass.
Holliday made a statement on Sunday. He may not draw the same kind of attention that Devin Hester does, but he’s on his way there.