SEATTLE – In a bizarre ending that capped a brutal weekend for replacement officials, the Seattle Seahawks somehow beat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 on Monday night at CenturyLink Field in a game that’s certain to re-ignite frustrations over the locked-out refs.
Russell Wilson threw a disputed 24-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate on the final play of the game, a game that finally ended 10 minutes later when the teams were brought back on the field for the extra point.
Wilson scrambled from the pocket and threw to the corner of the end zone as the clock expired.
Tate shoved Green Bay’s Sam Shields out of the way, then wrestled with M.D. Jennings for possession. It was ruled on the field as a touchdown, and after a lengthy review, referee Wayne Elliott came out from under the hood and announced “the ruling on the field stands” and the fans erupted in celebration.
The final decision is only going to fuel debate about the replacement officials coming off a weekend filled with disputed calls.
“Don’t ask me a question about the officials,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “I’ve never seen anything like that in all my years in football.
“I know it’s been a wild weekend in the NFL and I guess we’re part of it now.”
The last game will be debated more than any other.
Seattle (2-1) won its second straight, while Green Bay (1-2) saw its streak of wins in six straight road openers snapped.
Wilson’s heave came at the end of a final frantic drive after Seattle had previously missed on a fourth-down attempt from the Green Bay 7 with 2 minutes left. The turnover on downs appeared to end Seattle’s hopes and cap an impressive second-half comeback by the Packers and Aaron Rodgers, who was sacked eight times in the first half.
Green Bay averted disaster when John Kuhn fumbled on the Packers’ first play following the change of possession, but center Jeff Saturday recovered. The Seahawks held and forced Green Bay to punt from the 4 with 57 seconds left. The 41-yard punt set Seattle up at the Green Bay 46 with 46 seconds remaining.
Wilson hit Sidney Rice for 22 yards on a slant, then went for Tate in the end zone, but the ball was batted away with 18 seconds left. He overthrew the head of Evan Moore on second down, leaving 12 seconds remaining, and missed Tate again at the 5.
Wilson took the final snap with 8 seconds remaining. He appeared to be looking for Rice on the right side of the end zone, but rolled left and threw for Tate, who was in a crowd of three Packers defenders. His shove of Shields was obvious and it was never clear who had possession between Tate and Jennings.
Seattle instantly celebrated while the Packers argued with anyone in a striped shirt. Both teams were eventually shoved to the sidelines as Tate stomped through the end zone in celebration.
Following the review, Elliott’s announcement sent the stadium into delirium and even more confusion ensued until the teams finally returned to the field for the extra point.
“From what I understood from the officials it was a simultaneous catch. Tie goes to the runner. Good call,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Rodgers had quite a different opinion.
“It was awful. Just look at the replay. And then the fact that it was reviewed, it was awful,” he said. “That’s all I’m going to say about it.
“We shouldn’t have been in that position.”
It was Tate’s second touchdown of the game after catching a 41-yard TD in the second quarter to give Seattle a 7-0 lead. He finished with three catches for 68 yards, while Wilson was 10 of 21 for 130 yards.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.