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Steelers Diontae Johnson named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

His 85-yard punt return for a touchdown earned him his first NFL honors with the Steelers

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson was named the AFC special-teams player of the week for his 85 yard touchdown return against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15.

Johnson’s 85-yard return for a touchdown was his first on special teams with the Steelers. It was the first kick return for a touchdown by the Pittsburgh Steelers since week 17 of 2017 when JuJu Smith-Schuster returned a kickoff against the Cleveland Browns. Looking strictly at punt returns for a score, it was the first since Week 14 of 2015 when Antonio Brown returned a punt against the Indianapolis Colts 71 yards to the house. The last time a Pittsburgh Steelers rookie returned a punt for a touchdown was Santonio Holmes in 2006 against the Carolina Panthers.

Johnson also added a 2-yard touchdown reception later in the game. On the day, he had 60 yards on six receptions. During his rookie campaign, he now has five total touchdowns between receptions and returns.

Johnson gave a much-needed boost to the Steelers return game which has been struggling throughout 2019. The Steelers were only averaging 5.75 yards per punt return going into Week 14. After Johnson’s latest performance, the average jumped to 9.18 yards. For Johnson specifically, his average more than doubled from 6 yards to 12.7 yards thanks to his big return.

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