Rookie Washington feels rush of 96-yard kick return
Pittsburgh — Dwayne Washington is new to kickoff returns, but he looked like a natural in the Detroit Lions’ 30-17 preseason win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the fourth quarter, , on his first attempt, Washington fielded a kick at the 4, headed right and found a crease behind the blocks of Zach Zenner, George Winn and Joe Dahl. Washington squared up through the lane, turned on the jets and plowed through the kicker’s desperate tackle attempt before racing past two final Steelers defenders into the end zone.
“They always tell you don’t let the kicker tackle you, so I did all I can,” Washington said. “He kind of chipped my thigh, but I broke through and scored a touchdown.”
The touchdown put the Lions up 24-17 after the two-point conversion and proved to be the game-winning score.
When Washington first started handling kicks last week, the speedy running back appeared uncomfortable at times. During those practices and the team’s mock game last Saturday, there were returns where he looked awkward and indecisive.
Decisiveness wasn’t an issue Friday night.
“I just built up my confidence level and trusted my teammates,” Washington said. “I kind of caught it on the run, which gave me a little advantage and it was all downhill from there.”
Now that Washington has tasted some immediate success, coach Jim Caldwell wants to see some consistency out of the rookie.
“(He’s) a power guy,” Caldwell said. “This is his first outing, he’s got a long way to go, but he did pretty well today.”