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Dwayne Harris named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week

Dwayne Harris #17 of the New York Giants

Dwayne Harris #17 of the New York Giants carries the ball during a kickoff return in the first half against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 25, 2015 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Getty Images / Renee McKay

Dwayne Harris had won three previous NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors in his career, once each against the Giants, Eagles and Washington. This week he completes the NFC East sweep by winning it against his former team, the Cowboys.

Harris had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Dallas on Sunday that broke a 20-20 fourth-quarter tie in the Giants' 27-20 win.

The return was as historical as it was exciting and significant to the game. According to the NFL, it's the first time a player has ever returned a kickoff for a game-winning touchdown against a team he played for the previous season. Only two other players in league history have even had a kickoff return touchdown against a team they played for the previous season: Bo Roberson (87 yards for Oakland vs. San Diego on Sept. 30, 1962) and Aaron Stecker (98 yards for New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay on Dec. 19, 2004).

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harris' touchdown with 7:01 remaining was the first kickoff return in Giants history that accounted for the deciding points in the fourth quarter of a game in which the Giants trailed or were tied. The previous such return in the NFL was on Jan. 1, 2006 when the Jets' Justin Miller scored the game-winning points in a 30-26 victory over Buffalo on a 95-yard return with 5:58 remaining.

Harris' 100-yard runback tied the franchise record, set by Emlen Tunnell vs. the New York Yankees on Nov. 4, 1951 and tied by Clarence Childs vs. Minnesota on Dec. 6, 1964.

The touchdown was just the Giants' 23rd kickoff return in their 91-year history, 21 in the regular season and two in the postseason. No Giant has more than two. Childs, Rocky Thompson and Willie Ponder each had a pair in the regular season while Ron Dixon had two in the postseason.

Tunnell, though, nearly had a pair in a single game.

After Tunnell's 100-yard touchdown in 1951, Buddy Young returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to score a touchdown for the Yankees. Tunnell immediately had another 90-yard return, but was tackled at the 1-yard line.


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