We cannot know the un-knowable. We cannot know the sum effect penalties called and penalties un-called, or plays made and not made would have had on the fiasco that will forever be known as “that game against Green Bay”. But one thing is certain, this completely over-controlled yet totally out of control game will be recorded as a win for the Seattle Seahawks.
At half time I thought this article would be about the 8 sacks recorded in the first by a dominating Seahawks defense that kept it close so Marshawn Lynch and the running game could wear down the Packers in the second half. I was going to talk about how the Seattle secondary made one-on-one coverage look easy against some of the best in the league. I was even going to go into the trouble Russell Wilson was having getting anything going in the second half against a tightened up Packers defense. But none of that seems important now.
The Seahawks did precisely what they had to do to win this game, not a single thing more. When the Seahawks 4th down pass to either Tate or Rice got tipped out of play at the 1:45 mark, most people probably believed that was game over. I certainly did. But the Hawks D held firm and with the help of 3 time outs, Wilson and the offense got the ball back with 46 seconds left at around the Packers 45. A couple of plays later what appeared to be offensive pass interference against Sydney Rice was called as defensive pass interference placing the ball at about the 24 with about that 20 seconds left, much to the displeasure of MNF host John Gruden. After a couple of misfires, it came down to one last play.
Wilson took the snap, fell back, looped around to his left to buy time, and as the game clock went to zero, launched an arching spiral into the arms of what seemed like the entire defensive backfield of the Packers and a couple of Seahawks in the left corner of the end zone. Golden Tate and the Packers M.D. Jennings both went up for the ball, Jennings appeared to have intercepted the ball. But while still in the air, Tate plunged his arms into Jennings’ chest and somehow pulled enough of the ball away that by the time gravity reversed their upward momentum and pulled them to the turf the “co-posession rule” came into effect; or at least that’s how one replacement referee called it. The other official didn’t give the TD signal but seemed to signal a touchback. Tate was awarded the catch for a TD giving the Seahawks the win.
Confusion, and an extended wrestling match between Tate and Jennings ensued, with neither side knowing what the call really was whether one official was overruling the other or what??? After a few tense moments of not knowing for sure and the ruling on the field being a touchdown, word came down from the review booth that it was indeed a touchdown for Seattle. Pete Carroll started jumping like a kid getting a shiny new bike on Christmas morning and the crowd went nuts.
The Packers understandably walked off the field in disgust believing they should have been given the interception, and the Seahawks began their celebration. Neither team had the least desire to return to the field to do the inconsequential point after touchdown. (Notable is the fact that had the Packers kicked the PAT on their earlier touchdown instead of missing on a 2 point conversion, the score would have been tied at this point). After 7 or 8 minutes and a call to the league office, the officials managed to get enough players on the field to kick the extra point and finish what may well be the most incredibly concluded, hard fought, and worst officiated game in Seahawks history. Score: Seattle 14, Green Bay 12. There were bad calls all the way through this game that absolutely had an effect on the score. What the real score would have been we’ll never know. We’re just left with neither side feeling good about what happened on this first ever game winning play as time expired on MNF.
One last thing for Green Bay Packers fans: It was a class move for the Packers to come back out and finish the game. This was a game neither team physically won and neither team lost. The final score favored the Seahawks, and as fans we’ll take the win. But we will always have to wonder what this game, the whole game, would have been with real referees.