KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A fourth-quarter special teams play shouldn’t go unnoticed as a key part of the Chiefs’ 24-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11.
Punter Dustin Colquitt boomed a 51-yard punt from the Chiefs’ 45-yard line with 2:56 left on the clock. The ball bounced shy of the goal line and it appeared the Seahawks would have a touchback to start at its own 20-yard line for a potential game-winning drive.
Excellent downfield coverage by wide receiver Junior Hemingway, however, had a say in Seattle’s field position.
The third-year pro hustled to the ball, knocking it back to teammate Albert Wilson, who in turn knocked it back for linebacker Josh Martin to eventually down the ball at the 4-yard line.
“I know we needed that one,” Hemingway said Sunday, “especially with them getting the ball back. With them backed up, that was a plus for the defense.”
Hemingway, who beat his man down the left sideline, said he eyed Seahawks punt returner Bryan Walters the entire time to take a cue on how to react to the football.
“If he was going to catch it, I was just going to hit him,” Hemingway said. “When he moved, that told me to look up. I looked up for the ball and it hit the ground, I thought it was going to go in the end zone, but it didn’t. It was just spinning in the air. I was like, ‘I’m about to go get this one.’ I kept running and dove for it, and threw it back.”
Hemingway’s momentum carried him into the end zone after he batted the ball backwards, and he didn’t initially know if his trailing teammates made the save.
The roar of the crowd, however, told Hemingway all he needed to know before he looked back.
“The crowd, they’re always into it, so they’re always going to let you know when it’s a good play,” Hemingway said. “When I threw it back, I heard everybody yell then, and then I looked back again and saw Albert downing it. It was a good play all around the board – special teams, everybody.”
While Wilson made the second play to keep the ball out of the end zone, the rookie wide receiver gave the credit to his veteran teammate.
“Junior came out of the corner of my eye and I didn’t know if he was going to get to the point,” Wilson said. “My plan was to down the ball the whole time and he got there before me, and gave me a chance to make a play. If he wasn’t able to beat his man and get down there and get it out of the end zone, it wouldn’t have been a play without him.”
Seattle took over for its last possession with 2:47 remaining in the game, but couldn’t advance beyond the 20-yard line before turning it over on downs at the 1:13 mark.
Two kneel downs by Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith ended the contest.
And Hemingway’s hustle contributed to putting one of the nails in Seattle’s coffin to extend the Chiefs’ winning streak to five games.
“That was a pretty good play,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said during Monday’s media conference call. “I tell you, both he and Dustin, I thought did a heck of a job on that. I think it was very big. I just think when you say it was a team win, that definitely fits into what made it a team win.”