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Leon Washington regains 2010 form with long returns
After failing to record a return longer than 54 yards last season, Washington had an 83-yard kickoff return and a 52-yard punt return in the Seahawks' opener.
Seattle Times staff reporter
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Special-teams returns played a huge role in Sunday's game, which wouldn't be all that shocking because Arizona's Patrick Peterson set an NFL record last year by scoring on four punt returns.
Except it was Seattle's Leon Washington whose returns proved pivotal.
His 83-yard kickoff return in the third quarter led to Seattle's only touchdown, and his 52-yard punt return in the fourth quarter helped Seattle take a 16-13 lead when Steven Hauschka kicked his third field goal.
"(He) gave us a chance, really," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Washington. "He lit it up. That and the plays on defense gave us a real chance to be in the football game."
Washington scored on three kickoff returns in 2010, his first season with the Seahawks, but his longest kick return last year was 54 yards. His longest punt return in 2011 was 37.
The Seahawks didn't call for a timeout they didn't possess.
They were, however, given a timeout they shouldn't have had. Sound confusing? It was, resulting in a prolonged huddle between officials in the final minute of the game and postgame clarification from referee Bruce Hermansen, explaining the error.
"It was my error," Hermansen said in a pool report made available to reporters. "We gave them (Seattle) the additional timeout."
Hermansen is one of the replacement officials being used by the NFL after it failed to reach an agreement with the NFL Referee Association on a new collective-bargaining agreement.
The confusion came after Doug Baldwin was injured trying to make a catch in the end zone with 42 seconds left. Baldwin remained on the ground after the play. Initially, officials stated that Seattle was charged its third and final timeout to tend to the injured player. After that announcement, though, Carroll said he was told the Seahawks had not, in fact, been charged a timeout to tend to Baldwin because the clock had stopped because of an incompletion.
"I was told we had a timeout," Carroll said.
Seattle used that timeout after Marshawn Lynch's 2-yard run on first-and-goal from the Arizona 6, a move that resulted in a long conference between the officials.
Hermansen said afterward Seattle should not have had a timeout still available; the Seahawks should have been charged their third and final timeout for the injury to Baldwin.
"The clock has no bearing on the play at all," Hermansen said. "Whether it's stopped or running, we should not have given them the additional timeout."
Kolb the closer
John Skelton won Arizona's quarterback competition in training camp, but it was Kevin Kolb who won Sunday's game as he was summoned after Skelton suffered an ankle injury with less than 9 minutes remaining.
Kolb completed six of eight passes, accounted for 66 of Arizona's 99 yards of offense in the second half and his 6-yard pass to Andre Roberts was the game-winning score.
"I don't think there was ever any lack of confidence in our locker room with either one of our quarterbacks," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "They were very disappointed for John when he was injured. You could see that on the field, but they are very excited for Kevin."
• Arizona's pass pressure was pretty constant on Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who was sacked three times but escaped several other near-sacks.
Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett was asked how tough Wilson is to bring down.
"He's only like 5-7 or so," Dockett said. "It was just one of those things, we had to bend down to go get him. We contained him very well today, but he is going to be an athletic, dynamic quarterback in the future."
• Lynch started Sunday's game after being listed as questionable because of a sore back. He carried 21 times for 85 yards.
• The best catch of the game was made by a defensive back, Seattle's Richard Sherman going to his tiptoes with both feet on the ground as he stretched to catch a ball Skelton was trying to throw away.
"I saw the ball in the air," Sherman said. "I knew it was in my range. I had to leave two feet down, go get it.
• Inactive for Sunday's game: RB Kregg Lumpkin, CB Byron Maxwell, G John Moffitt, G James Carpenter, WR Golden Tate, DT Jaye Howard, DE Greg Scruggs.