He never gave up hope.
After squandering a chance to win the game in Seattle’s second-to-last drive of the contest, failing to bring in a one-handed grab in the end zone, Seahawks receiver Golden Tate received a final chance at redemption.
And on a fourth-and-10 play from Green Bay’s 24 that started with 8 seconds remaining, Tate made the play of the season so far for the Seahawks, fighting off four Green Bay defenders for a jump ball in the back of the end zone to give Seattle an improbable, 14-12, win over the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field on Monday night.
“I had the ball in my hands the entire time, so I had a feeling it was going to be a touchdown,” said Tate, who plans on giving the ball to his mother, whose birthday was Monday. “So I was just hoping and trying to maintain the ball until the official saw it in my hands. Thankfully, it was a touchdown.”
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The official closest to the play, side judge Lance Easley, ruled a touchdown for Tate, who had the ball tied up along with Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings. By rule, simultaneous possession is awarded to the offense.
The play was reviewed by the league’s replay official, and confirmed a score.
Tate got away with a blatant push against cornerback Sam Shields, elevated and fought the ball way from Jennings in a scrum in the back of the end zone.
Of course, the Packers did not see it the same way.
“I felt like I had total control of the ball,” Jennings said. “I was very shocked. But, the refs got the last say, so it is what it is.”
Added Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings: “I think if you asked Golden Tate to take a lie detector test and ask him did he catch the ball, or did M.D. catch that ball, M.D. caught that. It was clear as day.”
The contest was presumably over, but both teams were called back to the field to kick the extra point before the game could conclude, because it’s considered an extension of the final play.
The game was marred by 24 penalties between the two teams, and took three hours and 16 minutes to complete, leaving players and coaches frustrated by the herky-jerky pacing of the contest overseen by replacement officials.
“It’s time for it to be over,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said, when asked about the referees’ handling of the game. “My hat’s off to these officials. They’re doing everything they can to do as well as they can. And they have great pride in their work and everything, but it just demonstrates how difficult it is.”
Tate finished with three receptions for 68 yards, including Seattle’s first touchdown, a 41-yard bomb on a skinny post that staked Seattle to a 7-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
For awhile, it looked like the defense would make that lead hold up.
Seattle sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers eight times for a loss of 39 yards in the first half. Coming into the contest, Rodgers had been sacked eight times in two games.
Defensive end Chris Clemons notched four of Seattle’s sacks in the first half, tying a team record for sacks in a game held by Jacob Green, Michael Sinclair, Michael McCrary and Darryl Tapp.
Clemons’ four sacks in the first half also tied a league record held by former Kansas City outside linebacker Derrick Thomas, set in 1992.
The Seahawks didn’t record a sack in the second half, falling three short of the team record of 11, which happened against the Raiders on December 8, 1986.
After shutting down Green Bay in the first half, Seattle could not get off the field on third down in the second half. Green Bay scored on their first three possessions of the second half. Mason Crosby made field goals from 29 and 40 yards out.
And the Packers took their first lead of the contest on a 16-play, 81-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Cedric Benson, putting Green Bay up 12-7 with 8:44 to play.
A Rodgers’ pass on the two-point conversion to James Jones, which would have given Green Bay a seven-point lead, was knocked down by Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner.
While Green Bay’s offense purred, Seattle’s offense sputtered to the tune of minus-1 yards in the third quarter.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson did not attempt a pass in the third quarter, as the Seahawks relied on a conservative game plan with the defense playing well.
Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch finished with 98 yards on 25 carries.
Wilson completed 10 of 21 passes for 130 yards, two touchdowns and a 99.3 passer rating.
The Seahawks improved to 2-1 on the year, tied with San Francisco for second place in the NFC West, and a game behind surprising division leader Arizona (3-0).
Getting to 2-1 is a good omen for Seattle. Since 1999, the Seahawks have made the playoffs the past four times they’ve started the season 2-1, including two years ago when Carroll led the Seahawks to the playoffs in his first season with Seattle, becoming the first team to make the postseason with a losing record at 7-9.