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Thursday, October 14, 2010
Stopping Seattle's Washington a tall order

By Jeff Dickerson

Leon Washington
Leon Washington's two kick returns for touchdowns keyed Seattle's upset of San Diego on Sept. 26.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Seattle's Leon Washington has the Bears' attention.

The No. 1 kick returner in the NFL, Washington ran back two kicks for touchdowns (101 yards, 99 yards) against the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 26, and is averaging an eye-popping 40.4 yards per return.

"Washington is a north-and-south guy who's strong but also has the ability to bounce it outside," Bears special teams coach Dave Toub said. "You put the tape on, and he gets your attention immediately. Guys are really focused this week, and it's going to be a great challenge for us.

"They do everything well on special teams. Seattle blocks well, and they have a great returner. On Washington's second return against the Chargers, he broke a couple tackles, and it was just a terrific individual effort. On the first one, it was just well blocked."

The Bears -- led by Danieal Manning, Devin Hester and Johnny Knox -- have the edge almost every week in the return game. This matchup, however, may be a wash due to Washington and Seahawks punt returner Golden Tate, who averages 18 yards per return.

"[Seattle] is ranked ahead of us on kickoff returns, as they are with Golden Tate on punt returns," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "It'll be a challenge for us to contain both of their return guys. We have two pretty good return guys we like as well. It will be a good part of the game to watch to see how that goes."