LANDOVER, Md. – Jarvis Landry’s first career punt return for a touchdown was a beauty Sunday, and the eventual game-winner in Miami’s 17-10 escape from Washington.
Watching it is one thing, however. Take a listen to what actually was going through Landry’s mind, step by step, as he cruised through, around and eventually past all those Redskins.
“Get vertical, right now,” Landry said when asked what his original thought was when receiving the ball. “It’s just one of the things that we’re taught, just get vertical, find a seam, stretch the coverage.
“Initially we study the punter and know that he’s always kicking to our left, his right. He’s left-footed, you know, and their best gunner was No. 34 (Trenton Robinson) and Zach Bowman and Walt Aikens did a great job on him all day. That allowed me to get, like, 15-20 yards of space when I caught the ball. As a punt returner, that’s what you love.
“That’s just kind of how it happened.”
Sounds easy, but even on a motor scooter most of us couldn’t do what Landry did. His longest punt return as a rookie, by the way, was 32 yards.
Landry’s pass-catching is far better than a second-year player should be, too. The former second-round draft pick from LSU has a string of 10 straight games with at least five receptions.
That’s only a Miami franchise record.
The only player to come close is O.J. McDuffie, who caught at least five passes in eight straight games in 1998.
You’d think there would be more with a team that featured so many great Dan Marino years. It’s a tribute to what Landry has come to mean to Ryan Tannehill. Now if only Kenny Stills can make the same kind of connection. He had one catch for 12 yards in his Miami debut.
Stills could have had a touchdown, of course, if Tannehill had been able to keep a deep sideline pass on target while throwing on the run. The speedy former New Orleans Saint was all alone but the ball was so far off the mark that he couldn’t grab it and keep both feet in bounds.
Again, though, Landry saved the day for a Miami offense that couldn’t get unstuck.
“Went out there and made a few plays,” he said.
Oh, and one of them was a 14-yard run on a handoff. Reminds me of a young Nat Moore in that respect. Nat carried the ball 40 times on a variety of reverses and other plays during his long Dolphins career and averaged better than 6 yards per pop.