Just two weeks after signing a contract extension, Tremon Smith delivered the biggest play of his NFL career.
In the first quarter at Jacksonville, Smith fielded a kickoff at the two-yard line and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown. Smith's score gave Houston a 14-3 lead with 1:26 left in the first quarter.
"Tremon is just so explosive back there and he's been close before," Head Coach David Culley said. "Our special teams this week did a nice job of preparation from the standpoint of understanding that if we took care of our business and we blocked well and gave our returners, punt returner and kickoff returner, an opportunity to get through the hole there, then there's a chance to score and they did a really nice job of that."
During his 2018 rookie season with the Kansas City Chiefs, Smith returned a kickoff for 97 yards but was tackled at the New England three-yard line. Smith wanted to make sure he made it to the endzone this time.
"When I broke through the last few tackles, I'm like I can't get caught so I keep looking back, keep looking back," Smith said. "I got to stop doing that and start looking at the Jumbotron. If I stop looking back, I stop slowing down and I won't have to worry about anybody catching me."
The Texans hadn't returned a kickoff for a score in 201 consecutive games. The last touchdown on a kickoff return was in 2009, when Jacoby Jones accomplished the feat. Jones scored on a 94-yard return in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders at home.
Smith's touchdown is the first of his career. He returned one other kickoff on the day, and brought it out to the Houston 33-yard line. When the Texans kicked off to start the second half, Smith dropped Jacksonville return man Jaydon Mickens at the Jaguars' 14-yard line. He also had a tackle on defense.
Catch the Texans at NRG Stadium on December 26 when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers. Kickoff is set for noon CT. Click here for tickets.