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Reaction to Connolly's big return

Offensive lineman Dan Connolly's improbable 71-yard kickoff return (check out the highlight above) that set up a touchdown at the end of the first half was a hot topic at the Patriots’ postgame press conferences Sunday night. Here are a few of the comments:

* Coach Bill Belichick: “It was a good run. ... It kinda looked like he was looking to go down but then they just couldn’t find anybody to tackle him. ... It was an alert play by Dan but also by the blocking in front of him to at least get him started.”

* Running back Danny Woodhead: “He’s someone you wouldn’t expect to have the long return. We saw some shiftiness at the end of the run. It was a big play, it set us up to score at the end of the first half.”

* Quarterback Tom Brady: “That was the longest kickoff return ever and the longest [kickoff return]. I’ve never seen anything happen so slow in my life. It was an unbelievable play. I can never imagine anything like that is going to happen. That really was a big play in the game. ... heads up play [by Connolly], smart. They won’t be kicking to him anymore, I’ll tell you that.”

* Nose tackle Vince Wilfork: “He gets a game ball. I’m telling you that right now. To do what he did, he got us pumped. Just to see a big guy running down the field like that. Me, I would have had to take a time out and get subbed in or something.”

* Left tackle Matt Light: "I'll tell you what, Dan Connolly right now probably has the greatest return average in the National Football League. That was incredible, a heck of an effort. I couldn't believe it when I was watching it, to be honest."

* Outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain: "He was like Gale Sayers out there. A much bigger version."

And here's the reaction from Packers coach Mike McCarthy:

"When you kick the ball, you'd like to kick it to an offensive lineman. That should be a positive. We did a very poor job there tackling."