- The Washington Times - Monday, November 4, 2002

SEATTLE Kenny Watson took the DVD "The Sum of All Fears" with him on the long plane ride west from Washington on Friday. He flew back home last night having calmed any fears he or anyone else on the Redskins had about him filling in for injured two-time Pro Bowl running back Stephen Davis.
Watson who made the Redskins as an undrafted rookie from Penn State in 2001 rushed for 110 yards on 23 carries and added 42 receiving yards on four catches in his first NFL start as Washington beat Seattle 14-3 yesterday.
"I had to fill some big shoes," Watson said. "Stephen was in my hair all week, telling me to get ready and telling me some things I needed to look forward to. I tried to play the game in my head all week. I'm a little nervous before every game but I was lot more excited than usual."
After only playing in one game (on special teams) as a rookie, Watson carried eight times for 62 yards when Davis was hurt at Tennessee in Week 4. And Watson took a screen pass 62 yards for his first touchdown against New Orleans in Week 5. Last Sunday, he rushed 15 times for 67 yards in a victory over Indianapolis after Davis was hurt. But Watson still felt he had to show yesterday that he could be a reliable back for 60 minutes.
"Our goal was to come out and set the tone and I think we did that by getting two scores early," Watson said. "We came out throwing, which helped spread things out for the running game, and the offensive line did a great job blocking, which made it easy for me. Playing full time for the first time, it was important to give the O-line confidence that [he and rookie backup Ladell Betts] could get the job done."
Watson took a pitch 12 yards on the game's fourth play, gained 5 yards on his next carry and then bulled through the middle of the Seattle defense for 23 yards to start Washington's second series. That series culminated with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Shane Matthews to Darnerien McCants.
Betts jump-started the Redskins' third series with a 25-yard dash and Watson followed with a 4-yard run and a 12-yard tackle-breaking jaunt to the Seattle 19. Just three plays later, it was 14-0 thanks to Matthews' 19-yard toss to Rod Gardner.
Watson had 79 of Washington's 152 first-half yards and added 27 more (out of 50) in the third quarter. And as was the case after Davis sprained his right knee in the second quarter against the Colts, Watson was a clock-consuming battering ram in the final minutes. He carried on Washington's final five plays, going over 100 yards in the process the first Redskin other than Davis to do so since Terry Allen against Chicago five years ago.
Redskins guard Tre Johnson said Watson reminded him of the hard-running Allen, who posted consecutive 1,300-yard seasons in 1995 and 1996.
"Kenny Watson is something special," Johnson said. "He runs north-south. He ain't no dancer. He hits that hole and he doesn't go down with the first shot. He falls forward. You love a guy like that."
Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels, who returned to the lineup after missing the Indianapolis game with a sprained ankle, was excited to watch the 5-foot-11, 214-pound Watson deliver as many hits as he took.
"There was a physical toughness about our offense today," Samuels said, beaming.
Watson, whose only 10 college starts came at receiver, hadn't handled the ball so often since he was a senior at Harrisburg (Pa.) High School in 1995.
"Now you're going to know how I feel on Mondays," teased Davis, who walks like an old man the morning after most games because of the pounding he takes. "I wanted to play today [especially against Seattle's last-ranked run defense], but I knew this morning that I couldn't go. That was the best thing for the long run. I'm very proud of Kenny. He did a great job."
Betts contributed 37 yards on five carries, but the day clearly belonged to Watson.
"I want our No. 1 guy back as soon as he's ready, but you saw today that we have a couple of other guys who are very capable," running backs coach Hue Jackson said.

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