- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2005

Clinton Portis can live with it when Santana Moss scores a long touchdown. It’ll be fine when David Patten and Chris Cooley eventually reach the end zone.

But Mike Sellers, who is almost exclusively a special teams player and blocking H-back?

“Everybody is scoring except me,” Portis said after yesterday’s 20-17 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks. “I guess teams don’t know who to key on between me, Cooley, Santana, James Thrash and Patten.

“But if [tight end Brian Kozlowski] scores before me, then I’m going to be pretty upset.”

Portis, the Redskins’ starting running back, has not scored this season, but the Redskins are getting production from unlikely sources.

Sellers, a reserve H-back, and starting tight end Robert Royal caught touchdown passes of 4 and 1 yards, respectively, against the Seahawks.

Five of Royal’s 14 catches since the start of last season have gone for touchdowns, but Sellers hadn’t reached the end zone since 2001.

“Everybody knows I’m a blocking back, and they tend to just let me be,” he said.

Royal scored the Redskins’ first touchdown yesterday when quarterback Mark Brunell found him open on the left side 2:39 before halftime.

That kind of performance has earned him the nickname “Red Zone Royal.”

“A friend of mine in [Louisiana] gave it to me, and then Ryan Clark found out about it and made a towel with the name on it,” he said. “We always have the plays available. It just so happened today that the coverages they played allowed Mark to get us the ball.”

Sellers had 26 catches and eight touchdowns in 72 games in his career before yesterday. He caught only one pass for the Redskins last season even though he played in every game.

“It was me or Cooley getting the ball because we were the only two receivers on the field,” Sellers said. “When the play was called, I got a little antsy coming out of the huddle because I wanted to make sure I got open. It had been awhile.”

Said right guard Randy Thomas: “That guy works hard, so I’m glad for him. It boosts everybody’s confidence when a guy like that who plays all the special teams gets a chance to score a touchdown.”

Cooley led the Redskins in touchdown catches last season (six), and he also contributed to the passing game yesterday with four catches for 61 yards.

“I got lucky a couple of times to get behind some linebackers and Mark threw it right to me,” he said. “We’re finding a way to move the ball and are getting a lot of big chunks of yardage. It’s really opening up a lot of things for us.”

Patten: Good call

David Patten drew a key pass interference call in the third quarter, a penalty that set up a Mike Sellers touchdown that gave the Redskins a 14-3 lead.

The questionable call on Michael Boulware came on a third-and-10 play from the Seattle 33.

Patten ran a post pattern to the goal-line and went up for the catch. Boulware appeared to make minimal contact from behind, but officials called the penalty and gave the Redskins the ball at the 4.

“There’s no such thing as luck. It’s part of the game, and the referees are here to make the calls,” Patten said. “I don’t ever expect the flag to come, I expect to make the catch.”

Six inches from victory

Kicker Josh Brown hit the left upright on a 47-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of regulation that could have won the game for the Seahawks.

“If I had hit it six more inches inside, we were fine,” said Brown, who missed another 47-yarder in the third quarter. “I wasn’t really worried about the distance. It’s just one of those unfortunate incidents. It’s hard to know exactly how to react in this situation.”

The Seahawks intercepted Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell in the final minute, giving Seattle the ball at the Washington 33. The Seahawks ran two plays, gaining 4 yards, and called timeout with one second remaining.

“I would have liked to have gotten closer,” coach Mike Holmgren said. “On the second-down play, we didn’t block very well and we really didn’t have a choice. And I wasn’t going to throw the ball.”

Holmgren also said he didn’t consider centering the ball in the middle of field, as Redskins coach Joe Gibbs did for kicker Nick Novak in overtime.

“He’s comfortable kicking it from any angle,” Holmgren said.

First start

As expected, first-round pick Carlos Rogers made his debut as a starter in place of injured cornerback Walt Harris.

Rogers, the ninth pick in April’s draft, made some mistakes but finished with seven tackles, one of which forced a fumble by Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander.

“It’s always special to go out there with the first group and know you’re starting, but you just have to relax and stay calm,” Rogers said. “You go out there too over-psyched, things can happen to you. The first two series, I played a little too deep on certain things. Their play-action and quick game got me off stride a little bit, but once I settled down, everything was all right.”

Back in the lineup

Ryan Clark started the final 11 games of the 2004 season at strong safety, replacing Matt Bowen after he suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Clark, however, missed so much time this summer because of a bad knee that he was listed as inactive the first two games this season.

But with Pierson Prioleau sidelined because of a bad hamstring yesterday, Clark surprisingly got the nod over Bowen.

Clark was beaten by Darrell Jackson on a 6-yard slant that tied the game with 1:23 left in regulation but was all smiles after the victory.

“I got a little tired because I hadn’t played in awhile, but for the first game, I think I did pretty well,” said Clark, who had reinjured his knee in the Sept. 1 preseason finale at Baltimore. “I got beat on that play. I was thinking something else and they ran against my leverage. But I directed the traffic pretty well.”

Bragging rights

Cornerback Shawn Springs played his first seven seasons for the Seahawks. Yesterday’s game was his first against his old teammates.

“I had mixed emotions,” Spring said. “I had close, personal ties with a lot of those guys, but I didn’t talk to any of them before the game. I had a little insight into their players, so I could talk to my teammates [about how to play them]. I’m glad to win this one. I love being here in Washington.”

Gotta be the shoes

Clinton Portis likely will hear from the NFL this week for a uniform violation. The Redskins wear white shoes, but Portis wore black cleats yesterday. “Nike didn’t send me any shoes this week,” he said. “I thought they looked sweet.”

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