Washington's returns fuel Seahawks' upset

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SEATTLE - Leon Washington made sure to thank everyone else before taking a moment to think a little selfishly.

Seattle's Leon Washington became only the 10th player in NFL history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a game in a win over San Diego on Sunday. He had returns of 99 yards and 101 yards for the Seahawks.   Elaine Thompson/Associated Press
Elaine Thompson/Associated Press
Seattle's Leon Washington became only the 10th player in NFL history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a game in a win over San Diego on Sunday. He had returns of 99 yards and 101 yards for the Seahawks.

How close was Washington to returning three kickoffs back for touchdowns on Sunday?

"A slip away," Washington said.

Two touchdown returns were good enough for the Seahawks.

Washington made up for a Seattle slew of mistakes and missed chances, returning second-half kickoffs 101 and 99 yards for touchdowns to tie an NFL record, and the Seahawks held off Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers 27-20.

With a metal rod in his right leg, Washington was deemed expendable in New York. Sunday, he was invaluable for the Seahawks.

"I really truly appreciate the Jets for letting him go, for sending him here for pretty much nothing," Seattle receiver Deion Branch said.

Washington caught the second-half kickoff 1-yard deep in the end zone and went untouched for the longest kickoff return in Seahawks history.

His dash midway through the fourth quarter was the clincher. Rivers had just pulled San Diego (1-2) even with a 12-yard pass to Antonio Gates and 2-point conversion to Legedu Naanee with 6:39 left.

Fifteen seconds later, Seattle was back in front. Washington got lost in a pile, squirted free and raced 99 yards to give Seattle its final advantage. He is the 10th player to return two kickoffs for a touchdown in a game.

He might have gotten a third, but Washington slipped trying to make cut during a 33-yard return at the end of the third quarter.

"My thing is not to get satisfied, don't get complacent and always give glory to God and work hard," Washington said. "I'm a talented enough football player to play football, I was born to play football. I just go out every week and work hard and know eventually good things are going to happen."

Rivers finished with a career-best and franchise record 455 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns. He picked apart Seattle's maligned secondary for much of the second half, only to get turned away twice in the final 3 minutes deep in Seattle's end.

Rivers completed 29 of 53 passes and had two touchdowns and two interceptions. Gates finished with seven catches for 109 yards and a score, one of nine players to catch passes.

"To make it as simple as you can: five turnovers ... two special teams touchdowns, that's a recipe for a loss," Rivers said.


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