It was only fitting that Devin Hester would break Deion Sanders’ all-time NFL punt return touchdown record in a “primetime” matchup.
Midway through the second quarter of Thursday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Hester returned a Michael Koenen punt 62 yards for a touchdown, the 20th of his career.
Hester, paying tribute to the former Falcon Sanders, high-stepped the last 15 yards into the end zone and had this to say of his record-breaking performance:
“It’s tough to break the record of the guy who is my No. 1 mentor. I’m kind of emotional right now,” he said, according to ESPN.
Hester, who also had a rushing TD and forced a fumble, wasn’t the only Falcon to have a big night; coming off a dismal performance against the Bengals in Week 2, Matt Ryan went 21-24 with 3 TD passes, reports ESPN. Coach Mike Smith had this to say about his star QB: “No one ever doubted that Matt Ryan would come back and have a good game after his game last week.”
Julio Jones had 161 yards through the air and a pair of touchdowns, while Stephen Jackson added one on the ground, leading the Falcons to a 56-14 victory.
Next week, Atlanta will bring its high-octane offense on the road, as they look to pick up their first back-to-back wins of the 2014 season.