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Philly Special Effect: Touchdown passes from position players to QBs on the rise

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons hauls in the touchdown pass from wide receiver Mohamed Sanu #12 (not in frame) in the third quarter of the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)

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The Eagles scored one of the most famous touchdowns in NFL history when tight end Trey Burton threw to quarterback Nick Foles in the end zone in the Super Bowl last season. The NFL is a copycat league, and this year plenty of teams emulated the Eagles.

In fact, there were 13 touchdown passes thrown by non-quarterbacks this season, the most in a single season in 35 years. Three of those passes came today, when Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills and Lions kicker Matt Prater all threw touchdown passes.

Like the Philly Special, two of those touchdowns were to quarterbacks, with Sanu hitting Matt Ryan and Stills hitting Ryan Tannehill. Today was the first day in the Super Bowl era that two different quarterbacks caught touchdown passes.

The Philly Special is becoming so ubiquitous that defenses should be catching on, and soon quarterbacks won’t be left open on those trick plays. But for now, the Philly Special one of the most effective -- and most fun -- plays in football.