By Eric D. Williams The News Tribune
MIAMI, Fla. — The big play should have been more than a footnote in the outcome of the game, but Leon Washington will take it just the same.
The Seattle Seahawks return man’s 98-yard kick return for a touchdown gave him eight for his career, tying an NFL record with Cleveland’s Josh Cribbs.
Washington had not returned a kick or punt for a touchdown since Dec. 12, 2010, a 92-yard kick return for a touchdown in a 40-21 loss to San Francisco.
But Washington had been close a few times this season, including an 83 yarder in the season opener at Arizona, and 69-yard kick return at St. Louis in Week 4.
“There’s no consolation prize after a loss like that,” Washington said. “But I’m just glad I was able to score on that play. My wife was in the stands saying I had to get it, so with her pushing me, I knew I had to go out and do it.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he predicted the big play on the sidelines after Miami scored with just over eight minutes left to tie the game at 14-all.
“I turned over to two of my guys to my left and I said watch because he’s going to return it right here to the house,” Wilson said. “That’s Leon though; I know he’s going to do something special.”
Carroll turns conservative
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll is known for getting all hormonal, but he actually played things close to the vest in a tight game during a couple instances where he’s known to gamble.
Carroll curiously chose not to go for it on fourth-and-a-yard from Miami’s 38-yard line in the second quarter, punting it instead.
It would have been about a 55-yard field goal attempt for Steven Hauschka, who has a career long of 54 yards. And Carroll has twice let Hauschka attempt 61-yard field goals.
After a Jon Ryan punt, the Dolphins took the ball and drove 94 yards on eight plays, with Reggie Bush scoring on a 21-yard run and taking a 7-0 lead.
Carroll also passed on a potential 53-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter after a Bobby Wagner interception, choosing to take a delay of game penalty instead and punt the ball.
The Dolphins failed to score on the following possession.
“I was really on it, thinking about it,” Carroll said, when asked why he didn’t go for it. “But at that time we thought we’d kick the ball deep. We were playing good enough. We thought if we put them backed up again, we might be able to make a play.
“The call that we were thinking, I just wasn’t ready to call it right there.”
Watch out for those sprinklers
Toward the end of the third quarter, about a dozen automatic sprinklers turned on at Sun Life Stadium, and a few players ran for cover.
Field judge Buddy Horton, a Tacoma native, was the first to back peddle off the field as a sprinkler sprayed water his way.
After about five minutes, grounds crew workers at the stadium managed to get the sprinklers turned off.
“I leaned over to Mike Rob (Robinson) and told him that I’ve seen a lot of things in my lifetime, my short lifetime, but I’ve never seen the sprinklers go off,” Wilson said. “I told him that when I was in Richmond, Virginia, I was playing in high school and the lights went out right in the middle of a play.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all, I’m not sure if somebody hit it on purpose or what, but it’s all right. The funny thing was that most of the guys out there, at least our guys, are just so used to the rain.”
In somewhat of a surprise, cornerback Walter Thurmond was a healthy scratch for a second straight week. The University of Oregon defensive back was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list a few weeks ago, but Carroll chose not to put him on the 46-man active roster for a second straight game. Carroll touted Thurmond’s play-making ability and speed as a nickel cornerback, and Seattle had trouble stopping Miami slot receiver Davone Bess, who finished with a game-high seven catches for 129 yards. … Along with Thurmond, receiver Charly Martin, cornerback Byron Maxwell, offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy, offensive tackle Mike Person, and defensive lineman Jaye Howard and Greg Scruggs were inactive for the Seahawks. … Linebacker Leroy Hill suffered a right ankle injury, but returned to the game. Guard James Carpenter suffered what appeared to be a right leg injury during the game, but returned.