SEATTLE – While the Green Bay Packers were trying to figure out exactly what had happened to them, the Seattle Seahawks were celebrating.
Calling his team’s 14-12 victory an “extraordinary win,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wasn’t about to apologize for the fact that his team won – on a 24-yard Hail Mary-esque touchdown from quarterback Russell Wilson to wide receiver Golden Tate as time expired – on a play that figures to live in NFL infamy.
“(From) what I understood from the officials that it was a simultaneous catch, that’s how he called it,” Carroll said of the play, on which Tate – according to the replacement officials working the game, anyway – came down with the ball in the end zone along with Packers backup safety M.D. Jennings. “Tie goes to the runner. Good call.”
For his part, Tate didn’t have a doubt that he indeed had simultaneous possession of the ball with Jennings and that the call was correct.
“We both had position of the ball, and I didn’t know the rule, but I guess if it’s a tie it goes to the receiver,” Tate said. “I was just trying to keep possession of the ball. The guy who was fighting me was strong. So I was just trying to hold on to it until our guys pulled him off of me. I didn’t know if they called touchdown, interception, or incompletion. I didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t hear anything I just tried to keep fighting for the ball.”
Asked if he believed he had the ball first, Tate replied, “Yes, I think so,” but when asked if Jennings might’ve had it first, he added, “Maybe he did, but I took it from him.”
Wilson, who found himself on the short end of last-second Hail Mary touchdowns in losses to Michigan State and Ohio State during his only season at the University of Wisconsin last year, basked in the joy of having won a game in that fashion.
“I’m not sure about karma, but I think you learn from those experiences for sure,” Wilson said. “I’ve understood throughout all of those experiences that I’ve had, the good times and the bad times, when you lose them, it’s one of those things where you can truly never give up. You have to just keep trusting in what you’re doing, and have a clear understanding, and a clear mind in what you’re trying to do in those situations, know that you may have to throw the ball away over somebody’s head, or throw out of the end zone, or whatever the situation is, to keep the clock going, and keep the time, and keep your chances going. We came down with the catch there.”
As for the lockout, which has kept the regular NFL Referees Association officials on the sideline while there’s been little progress in negotiations, even Carroll acknowledged that the madness has gone on long enough.
“It’s time for this to be over,” he said. “My hat’s off to these officials, they’re doing everything they can to do as well as they can. They’re working their tails off. It demonstrates how difficult it is. It’s a very, very complex process to handle these games and make these decisions. There’s nothing easy about it, and it takes years and years of experience to pull it off properly and in a timely fashion and to keep the flow of the game alive and all that. (But) it’s time for it to be over. The league deserves it, everybody deserves it.”
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