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Inside the Numbers: All-time kickoff return touchdowns


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants and their fans witnessed something at once both rare and unprecedented on Sunday, when Dwayne Harris returned a kickoff 100 yards for the deciding touchdown in a 27-20 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

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Harris' big play was just the Giants' 23rd kickoff return touchdown, 21 in the regular season and two in the postseason, in their 91-year history. The Giants have played 1,312 games, including 1,264 in the regular season.

Some Giants kickoff return touchdown factoids:

• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harris' touchdown with 7:01 remaining on Sunday 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.

• Eighteen different players have accounted for the Giants' 21 regular season kickoff return touchdowns, starting with Jack Hagerty vs. the Buffalo Bisons on Nov. 5, 1929.

• Three players share the franchise record with two kickoff return touchdowns: Clarence Childs (1964 and 66), Rocky Thompson (1971-72) and Willie Ponder (2004-05).

• Ron Dixon never accomplished the feat in the regular season, but he had both of the Giants' postseason kickoff return touchdowns. Both were in the 2000 postseason, and both runbacks were 97 yards, the latter accounting for the Giants' only points in Super Bowl XXXV vs. Baltimore.

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

• After Tunnell's 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 one-yard line.

• The shortest kickoff return touchdown was a 38-yarder by Jason Sehorn against Tom Coughlin's Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 23, 2000. Sehorn scooped up an onside kick and scored.

• After Jimmy Patton scored on a 98-yard return vs. Washington on Oct. 30, 1955, the Giants did not win another home game in which they returned a kickoff for a touchdown until Dec. 10, 1995 (Thomas Lewis, 91 yards, also vs. Washington).

• The Giants are 12-9 in regular-season games and 1-1 in the postseason when they return a kickoff for a touchdown.

• In the regular-season, 12 of the scores were at home, nine on the road.

• The Giants have returned only two regular-season opening kickoffs for touchdowns, most recently by Ponder vs. Pittsburgh on Dec. 18, 2004 (91 yards). They lost both games. But they are 1-0 when scoring on the opening kickoff in the postseason.

• Harris joined the Giants this year after four seasons with the Cowboys. He is only the third player in NFL history with a kickoff return touchdown vs. a team for which he played the previous season. The others were 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).

• In addition to Harris' kickoff return, the Giants scored Sunday on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's 58-yard interception return. As reported on Sunday, it was the first time the Giants scored on interception and kickoff returns in the same game since that victory over the Yankees in 1951, when, in addition to Tunnell's score, Tom Landry picked off a pass and brought it back 55 yards for a touchdown. It was the first time the Giants hit that daily double in a regular-season game in 64 years. But they did in a postseason game just 15 years ago. On Jan. 7, 2001, Dixon returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a score, and Jason Sehorn picked off a pass and ran it back 32 yards for a touchdown (the famous play in which he controlled the ball on the ground, jumped up and raced to the end zone) in a 20-10 victory over Philadelphia in an NFC Divisional playoff game.

• Before Sunday night, the Giants had last scored defensive and special teams touchdowns of any kind in the same game on Sept. 5, 1988, when Tom Flynn returned a blocked punt 27 yards for one score, and Jim Burt scooped up a fumble and ran it back 39 yards for another touchdown.

• Harris' touchdown was the Giants' first on special teams since Nov. 10, 2013 when Damontre Moore blocked a punt by Oakland's Marquette King, and Cooper Taylor picked up the ball and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown.

And in non-kickoff return news…

• In addition to his interception return touchdown, Rodgers-Cromartie scored on a 57-yard fumble return on opening night in Dallas. He is the first Giants player to have two defensive touchdowns in the same season since linebacker Kawika Mitchell in 2007 (also one interception and one fumble return).

• DRC has seven career touchdowns (six on interception returns), the fifth-highest total among active defensive players. Oakland's Charles Woodson has 13; Carolina's Charles Tillman and Washington's DeAngelo Hall have nine, and Denver's Aqib Talib has eight.

• The Giants had three interceptions vs. Dallas one week after they had three in Philadelphia. It's the first time they had at least three picks in back-to-back games since Sept. 21-25, 2014, when they had three vs. Houston and four at Washington.

• The Giants lead the NFL with a plus-10 turnover differential (Denver and Green Bay are tied for second at plus-6).

• In two games this season vs. Dallas, the Giants had seven takeaways and no turnovers.

• The Giants have had four takeaways in each of their last two games, the first time they've done that since Oct. 21-28, 2012, against Washington and Dallas.

• When the Giants defeated Dallas, Tom Coughlin became the 23rd coach in NFL history to win at least 100 regular-season games with one team. He is one of just seven to accomplish that feat and also win at least two Super Bowls with that team.

• In his 20-year career as a head coach, Coughlin has 168 regular-season victories and 12 more in the postseason. He became the 11th coach in history to win at least 180 total games. Just ahead of him on the career list is Hall of Famer and former Giants coach Bill Parcells (183).

• The Giants were 3-1 in October. Since Coughlin joined the Giants in 2004, they are 36-11 in October, the NFL's second-best record in the month in that span. New England is 40-9.

• The victory over Dallas not only enabled Eli Manning to tie Phil Simms' franchise record for regular-season victories at 95, it was Manning's 50th triumph at home. Manning is 50-38 in home games: 25-19 in Giants Stadium and 25-19 in MetLife Stadium. He is also 1-0 as a visiting starter in each stadium.

• When Matt Cassel started for Dallas Sunday night, he became the 30th different quarterback to start for an NFC East team since Manning's first start on Nov. 21, 2004. Philadelphia has 11 starters, and Dallas and Washington 10 apiece. Donovan McNabb started for both Philadelphia and Washington. He counts in each team's total, but only once in the division's total.

• On Sunday, Pittsburgh's Landry Jones made his first NFL start and became the 167th different quarterback to start in the league since Manning took over the Giants' job.

• Manning threw neither a touchdown pass nor an interception in either game this season vs. the Cowboys. That has happened nine times in his 174 starts. The Giants are 5-4 in those games.

• The Giants were outgained by 171 yards Sunday night (460-289). That was their highest yardage deficit in a victory since Oct. 5, 1997, when they defeated … Dallas, 20-17, despite getting outgained by 262 yards (428-166).

• The Cowboys had 27 first downs to just 13 for the Giants. It was the Giants' first victory when they had so few first downs, their opponents had so many, and they had at least 14 fewer first downs than their opponents since Oct. 28, 2012. That day, the Giants won in Dallas, 29-14, despite a first downs discrepancy in the Cowboys' favor of 28-11.

• The Giants' time of possession of 21:56 was their lowest in a victory since Dec. 6, 2009, when they owned the ball for just 21:10 in a 31-24 victory over … Dallas.

• The Giants' 13 penalty yards Sunday was their lowest total since they had one yard on Dec. 1, 2013 at Washington.

• The Giants won despite completing only 13 passes, their fewest number of completions in a victory since Dec, 29, 2013, when they had 12 in a victory over Washington. Manning had 10 of those completions before sitting out the second half with an ankle injury.

• The Giants rushed for a season-high 132 yards against Dallas without an individual back getting at least 10 carries. That last happened on Nov. 12, 2000, when they ran for 135 yards, and Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber each had a team-high nine carries.

Gameday photo timeline from the Giants Week 7 win vs. Cowboys

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