The Seattle Seahawks' defense and special teams units came up big in several key moments during Sunday's 27-20 win over the San Diego Chargers. Some of the biggest contrbutions came from players acquired during the 2010 NFL Draft.
First-round safety Earl Thomas had six tackles on Sunday, but his biggest contribution was his pair of fourth-quarter interceptions of Philip Rivers. Thomas added a quarterback hit in the fourth quarter, blitzing Rivers on an incomplete pass in the red zone.
In his Qwest Field debut, second-round wide receiver Golden Tate caught all four passes that were thrown his way for 33 yards. Tate also showed his game-breaking ability on punt returns, totaling 44 yards on two returns in the second quarter, including a long of 31 yards.
Seahawks fourth-round cornerback Walter Thurmond replaced an injured Marcus Trufant in the base defense in the third quarter, and posted a career-high 8 tackles, including one on special teams. Thurmond also broke up a 3rd down pass in the end zone that forced the Chargers to kick a field goal.
Fifth-round safety Kam Chancellor made a brief appearance in dime personnel, but the 6-3, 231-pounder came up big on special teams, leading the team with a pair of special teams tackles and forcing a fumble as part of the kick coverage unit.
Leon Washington isn't a rookie, but the Seahawks acquired him from the New York Jets for the latter of their two picks in the fifth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft. (The Jets selected fullback John Conner, aka "The Terminator".)
Washington saw limited duty on offense, but will likely pick up NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after averaging 63.3 yards on four kick returns, including two returns for touchdowns in the second half.
Washington's 101-yard touchdown return at the start of the second half was a Seahawks' record, and with the addition of a 99-yard return in the fourth quarter gives him the two longest kick returns in franchise history, and he becomes the franchise's all-time leader in kick return touchdowns. Washington's 253 return yards were a single-game high in team history, eclipsing the 231 return yards former running back Maurice Morris gained on October 20, 2002.
In addition to the team records, Washington's returns on Sunday were the two longest of the 2008 Pro Bowler's career, and his single-game return yardage were a personal best. Washington's previous mark was 198 kick return yards, which occurred on September 22, 2008 against the San Diego Chargers.
Seventh-round defensive end/linebacker Dexter Davis recovered the fumble forced by Chancellor, and replaced the injured Aaron Curry as a defensive end in dime personnel on the final two drives of the game.
Seahawks first-round offensive tackle Russell Okung and fourth-round defensive end E.J. Wilson were inactive.
In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you’d like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.