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Chargers Just Kicking Themselves


SAN DIEGO — Fans at Qualcomm Stadium cheered mightily Sunday whenever the Charger cheerleaders performed in the end zone. More than just an appreciation of the fine art of cheerleading was involved.

The cheerleaders were the only local personnel to cross the goal line as the touchdown-less Chargers lost, 20-12, to the Seattle Seahawks, dropping the Chargers to 0-4.

Charger quarterback Ryan Leaf completed 16 of 26 passes for 153 yards.

But a 69-yard interception return by Seahawk cornerback Willie Williams midway through the third quarter gave Seattle an eight-point lead.

It was the seventh interception for Leaf, who has passed for only one touchdown. He has 27 turnovers and three touchdown passes in 14 career NFL games.

"That was the game right there," Leaf said. "It came down to one play. I make it, we win; I don't, we lose."

When Leaf left because of a sprained right wrist, he was greeted by a chorus of boos from a crowd of 47,233 as he trotted to the locker room.

Backup Jim Harbaugh led two drives into Seattle territory in the fourth quarter but both faltered. One ended when Harbaugh's pass was intercepted, the other after a holding penalty and two incomplete passes.

"We've got to find a way to get out of this four-game skid we've put ourselves in," Harbaugh said. "It's a hole we dug ourselves."

The Seahawks, last season's AFC West champions, are 2-2. Coach Mike Holmgren rejected the notion that the victory was inartistic.

"Please don't use that word ugly," Holmgren said. "No win is ugly."

All of the Chargers' scoring came on John Carney's first-half field goals of 41, 28, 24 and 45 yards. Two of the kicks were set up by Seahawk fumbles.

The Seahawks led, 13-12, at halftime.

Along with their two touchdowns, the Seahawks also got field goals of 25 and 26 yards by Kris Heppner

Seahawk quarterback Jon Kitna completed 11 of 21 passes for 196 yards and a 68-yard touchdown to Darrell Jackson with 59 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

The Seahawks were helped on the play when Charger defensive lineman Darren Michell jumped offside. Two flags were thrown and Charger safeties Michael Dumas and Rodney Harrison seemed to freeze.

Jackson caught the pass and sprinted past Dumas and Harrison for the touchdown. The Seahawks declined the penalty and took a lead they never relinquished.

"It was weird," Kitna said, "it seemed like Darrell was the only one moving."

Harrison said, "It's frustrating enough to lose games but it's even more frustrating to lose them the way we lose, by doing stupid things."

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