EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ellis Hobbs was 25 yards from the
end zone during his record-breaking kickoff return when he peeked
at the video screen on the Meadowlands scoreboard.
"I'm not going to lie. I looked up," the New England returner
said with a big grin. "When you know you're out of danger and guys
behind you are blocking, there's nothing wrong with a little
Hobbs set an NFL record by taking the second-half kickoff 108
yards for a touchdown Sunday in the Patriots' 38-14 victory over
the New York Jets.
The play also tied the record for the longest in NFL history,
matching the 108-yard missed field goal returns by Chicago's Devin
Hester last season against the Giants, and the Bears' Nathan Vasher
the previous season against San Francisco.
"I just kept moving forward," said Hobbs, who scored on a
kickoff return for the first time in his three-year career. "When
you start going, you can feel it opening up more and more. You just
want to head for that end zone. I always try to find that sixth or
seventh gear, the gear they don't even make."
With many of the fans at Giants Stadium still returning to their
seats from the halftime break, Hobbs caught Mike Nugent's kickoff
deep in the end zone and surprisingly ran it out.
"It was one of those deals that when he started to run, you
yell: 'No! No! No! ... Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!"' Patriots receiver
Wes Welker said.
Hobbs made a few cuts to the left sideline and took off
untouched down the sideline and into the end zone to give New
England a 21-7 lead 14 seconds into the third quarter.
"I didn't even think about kneeling that ball," Hobbs said.
"We're taking them all out. They pay me to make plays. They don't
pay me to take knees. This isn't college. This isn't high school.
We're in the NFL. They pay me to return the ball and guys in front
of me to block. Why not give them something to celebrate and
The previous record for longest kickoff return was 106 yards,
held by three players: Green Bay's Al Carmichael in 1966, Kansas
City's Nolan Smith in 1967, and Roy Green of the St. Louis
Cardinals in 1979.