Final

Chargers 20

(1-2, 0-2 away)

Seahawks 27

(2-1, 2-0 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:15 PM ET, September 26, 2010

CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA 

1 2 3 4 T
SD 0 0 12 820
SEA 0 10 7 1027

Top Performers

Passing: P. Rivers (SD) - 455 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: M. Tolbert (SD) - 17 CAR, 73 YDS

Receiving: A. Gates (SD) - 7 REC, 109 YDS, 1 TD

Leon Washington's 101-, 99-yard kickoff returns for TDs lift Seahawks by Chargers

Associated Press

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

How close was Seattle's dynamic running back from 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 on Sunday.

Pete Carroll's crew is a surprising 2-1 and tied at the top of the mediocre NFC West. And Washington looks like a colossal steal after Seattle grabbed the versatile back from the New York Jets for a fifth-round pick during April's draft.

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.

When Washington was traded, Seattle brought in a bit of an unknown. Washington had 3 1/2 productive seasons with the Jets, but his entire career was jeopardized by the gruesome compound leg fracture last season.

Thirteen seconds at the start of the second half should put those questions about Washington to rest.

Washington caught the second-half kickoff 1-yard deep in the end zone, and other than a couple of flailing hands grasping at his shoes, went untouched for the longest kickoff return in Seahawks history. Seattle's time-management meltdown at the end of the first half that cost them points suddenly didn't look so bad.

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 in for a TD 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 led San Diego to the Seattle 14 before a pair of false starts backed up the offense. On fourth-and-15 at the Seattle 19, his pass for Gates at the goal line was knocked away by Roy Lewis.

Rivers got one more chance after San Diego's defense held. Starting at his 45, Rivers completed passes of 16 yards to Buster Davis and 25 yards to Malcom Floyd. His final chance was intercepted by rookie safety Earl Thomas with 6 seconds left.

Finally, the normally exuberant Carroll could smile and get a bear hug from defensive line coach Dan Quinn.

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.

San Diego played without rookie running back Ryan Mathews (injured ankle). The Chargers also lost star linebacker Shawne Merriman to a calf injury in the first quarter and starting right guard Louis Vasquez to a knee injury. Along with the injuries, San Diego turned over the ball five times and Rivers was sacked another four times.

Receiver Patrick Crayton indicated the special teams problems were the result of players not taking their responsibilities seriously.

"Right now, [special teams] coach [Steve] Crosby is [ticked] off. I don't blame him. The guys who are sitting in the meetings are not taking him seriously when he tells you to do a certain thing on a kickoff," a frustrated Crayton said. "He's been in this league I don't know how many years. He's been around a while for a reason, obviously. You have to take this stuff seriously."

Seattle will feel fortunate to slip away with the victory considering all its errors. Matt Hasselbeck threw a 9-yard touchdown to John Carlson in the first half, but also threw an interception at the goal line.

Branch appeared to score on 42-yard TD in the second quarter, but had the touchdown reversed on replay as Chargers safety Paul Oliver punched the ball loose from behind for a touchback.

And there was the end of the half when Seattle failed to get any points after having first down at the San Diego 11 with 29 seconds left.

"We're not going to win like that all the time," Carroll said. "It took something out of the ordinary."

Game notes


Dan Fouts held the San Diego franchise record for yards passing with 444, accomplished twice. Rivers' total was the most allowed by the Seahawks. ... Thomas became just the second rookie in Seahawks history to have two interceptions in the same game. Kenny Easley was the first. ... Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillian raised "12th Man" flag before the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SD
SEA
1st Downs2713
Passing 1st downs
228
Rushing 1st downs
54
1st downs from penalties
01
3rd down efficiency
6-146-13
4th down efficiency
0-20-0
Total Plays7856
Total Yards518271
Yards per play6.64.8
Total Drives1314
Passing429203
Comp-Att
29-5319-32
Yards per pass
7.55.8
Interceptions thrown
21
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-263-17
Rushing8968
Rushing Attempts
2121
Yards per rush
4.23.2
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-61-4
Penalties11-835-32
Turnovers52
Fumbles lost
31
Interceptions thrown
21
Defensive / Special Teams TDs02
Possession36:0423:56

Passing Leaders

SDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rivers29/534558.6224-26
SEAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Hasselbeck19/322206.9113-17

Rushing Leaders

SDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Tolbert17734.3013
Sproles11616.0016
SEACARYDSAVGTDLG
Forsett17633.7028
Hasselbeck351.705

Receiving Leaders

SDRECYDSAVGTDLG
Gates710915.6128
Floyd69716.2125
SEARECYDSAVGTDLG
Carlson56112.2137
Branch56012.0041

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERSDSEA
seaFG11:31Olindo Mare 23 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 4:38
03
seaTD0:57John Carlson 9 Yard Pass From Matt Hasselbeck (Olindo Mare Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 41 yds, 0:22
010
THIRD QUARTERSDSEA
seaTD15:00Leon Washington 101 Yard Kickoff Return (Olindo Mare Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 80 yds, 2:14
017
sdTD12:39Malcom Floyd 3 Yard Pass From Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 80 yds, 2:14
717
sdSF4:34Matt Hasselbeck Sacked By Brandon Siler In End Zone For -7 Yards
Drive info: 2 plays, -7 yds, 0:04
917
sdFG0:41Nate Kaeding 29 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 44 yds, 3:54
1217
FOURTH QUARTERSDSEA
seaFG11:32Olindo Mare 23 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, 6 yds, 0:59
1220
sdTD6:44Antonio Gates 12 Yard Pass From Philip Rivers (Philip Rivers Pass to Legedu Naanee For Two-Point Conversion is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 65 yds, 4:48
2020
seaTD6:39Leon Washington 99 Yard Kickoff Return (Olindo Mare Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 99 yds, 0:00
2027

Research Notes

Leon Washington is the Jets and now Seahawks all-time leader in kicks returned for touchdowns (4 with NYJ, 2 with SEA). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Washington is the only player who is the all-time leader in kickoffs returned for touchdowns for two different teams.

ESPN Stats & Information