With 13:50 left in the 2nd quarter of the Panthers game against the Lions rookie WR Keoloha Pilares returned a kick off 101 yards for a TD, the first kick off return since 2003. It was an obvious relief for a fan base and a unit that had done nothing but struggle all season. Now it was only one play but there were other players who made an impact on special teams besides Pilares, in particular on kick coverage.
The Panthers recent roster moves all involved players expected to help with kick coverage and Ron Rivera singled a few out if you didn't already notice:
Panthers coach Ron Rivera pointed to Vaughan, Richie Brockel and Kion Wilson as players who made a difference in special teams play and could have long-term impacts on the team.
"What's happening is there are some veteran guys that we brought in and expected bigger things from them and we haven't gotten it so we're going to move on.
"We're going to find the young guys and start plugging these guys in," Rivera said.
I would say those were some good changes. I've loved seeing Brockels enthusiasm all season but it was also nice to see I guy like Vaughan, who was hardly considered a ST type of guy, make two tackles. I know many will knock Vaughan for his horse collar tackle and penalty but he did apparently save a TD (for a moment anyway).
Consequently, based on the TD and other fine play I'm going to give our Special Teams the Power Play of the Week award!