Panthers rookie Jeremy Chinn scores on fumble returns ... on back-to-back plays

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Eric Edholm
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In what might be an NFL first, Carolina Panthers rookie safety Jeremy Chinn scored fumble-return touchdowns on back-to-back defensive plays.

The last time any player had two scoop-and-scores in the same game? Fred Evans, for the Chicago Bears against Washington ... all the way back in 1948.

It’s believed to have happened only one other time in the league’s annals, back in 1920 by Al Nesser for the Akron Pros.

Both of them earned their pair of scores in the same quarter of their respective games. Records are sketchy from the early days of the NFL, but it doesn’t appear that either of them accomplished the feat on consecutive defensive snaps.

The official clock ticked a mere 10 seconds between Chinn’s touchdowns.

On Chinn’s first score of the game, the Minnesota VikingsKirk Cousins was sacked by the Panthers’ Zach Kerr and Chinn took the loose ball back 17 yards to give Carolina a 14-10 lead.

Then after the Panthers’ kickoff, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook slammed into a pile of defenders and looked to be stopped. He was stripped by Chinn, and the rookie scooped it up and ran it back 28 yards for another score.

Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn runs with the ball 28 yards for a touchdown after recovering a fumble.
Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn returns a fumble 28 yards for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 29, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Cook was hurt on the play and headed to the medical tent after Chinn’s second score.

Meanwhile, Chinn — the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month for October — put two feathers in his cap for a Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign. He entered the game as one of the favorites for the award and has to leave Sunday as an even bigger favorite.

Not bad for a player who came from FCS-level Southern Illinois and barely got recruiting attention from FBS schools coming out of high school.

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