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Seahawks stun Packers on controversial final play 14-12

AP Photo/Stephen Brashear | BDN
AP Photo/Stephen Brashear | BDN
One official (left) signals a touchdown by Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate, obscured, on the last play of an NFL game against the Green Bay Packers, Monday night, Sept. 24, 2012, in Seattle. The other official (right) is signaling a touch back. The Seahawks won 14-12.
By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

SEATTLE — In a bizarre ending that capped a tough weekend for replacement officials, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 on Monday night.

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 both 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 CenturyLink Field erupted in celebration.

It was nearly 10 minutes before the teams were brought back for the extra point.

The final decision is only going to fuel debate about the replacement officials coming off a weekend filled with disputed calls.

None will be debated more than this one. Seattle (2-1) won its second straight, while Green Bay (1-2) and 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 — all 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 threw over 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.

Cedric Benson‘s 1-yard touchdown run with 8:44 to go put Green Bay up 12-7. Aaron Rodgers scrambled on third-and-1 was initially ruled short, but a review changed the spot to give the Packers a first-and-goal chance from the 1-yard line, setting up Benson’s score.

Rodgers completed 26 of 39 passes for 233 yards.

Seattle drove back, but Wilson’s lofted pass to the left corner of the end zone on fourth-and-2 from the Green Bay 7-yard with two minutes remaining was high. Tate jumped for the pass but couldn’t pull it in.

Wilson was 10-for-21 for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

Benson helped drag the Packers into the red zone for the first time to open the third quarter. A sharp cutback allowed him to gain 9 yards during the drive. Two Seattle penalties pushed the Packers along, too.

On third-and-5 from the 10, Rodgers shuffled forward, back, then forward again to avoid pass rushers before throwing to an open Donald Driver. The ball hit Driver’s hands, bounced off, and by the time he pulled it in, he was out of bounds.

Green Bay had to settle for a 29-yard field goal from Mason Crosby with 8:07 left in the third, cutting Seattle‘s lead to 7-3.

Crosby hit a 40-yard field goal with 1:14 left in the third to pull Green Bay within 7-6. Green Bay dominated the ball in the third quarter with 13-play and 11-play scoring drives, gaining 111 yards in the period after only totaling 87 yards in the first half.

Seattle‘s Chris Clemons tied Derrick Thomas‘ NFL record with four first-half sacks. Thomas did it against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 8, 1992. The four sacks also tied a Seahawks franchise record.

Marshawn Lynch carried 16 times in the first half, and all those runs paid off when play-action froze the Packers’ defense with 6:22 left in the second quarter.

Wilson pulled the ball back from Lynch, then lofted a pass to Golden Tate, who ran past two Green Bay defenders for a 41-yard touchdown.

The five-play drive, helped by two Green Bay defensive penalties, put Seattle up 7-0.

Defensive end Bruce Irvin made an impact early on national television. The Seahawks surprised many by drafting him 15th overall out of West Virginia. Irvin showed why the Seahawks drafted him so early by sacking Rodgers twice in the first quarter.

That was just the start. Clemons upstaged Irvin by sacking Rodgers four times in the first half. Rodgers was sacked eight times in the first half by the Seahawks defense, tying the most times Rodgers has been sacked in a game. He was also sacked eight times against the Minnesota Vikings in 2009.

The opening 15 minutes was a stalemate. Rodgers was under constant pressure and the Packers didn’t make it past midfield in the first quarter.

Wilson led the Seahawks past the 50 just once.

The teams combined for seven penalties and six first downs. The game was scoreless after one quarter.

NOTES: Wide receiver Doug Baldwin and guard James Carpenter were inactive for Seattle, along with safety Winston Guy, cornerback Danny Gorrer, cornerback Byron Maxwell, guard Lemuel Jeanpierre and defensive tackle Jaye Howard. The Packers were without linebacker Jamari Lattimore, wide receiver Jarrett Boykin, safety Sean Richardson, cornerback Davon House, linebacker Terrell Manning and tight end Tom Crabtree. … Former Seahawks quarterback and current ESPNanalyst Trent Dilfer raised the 12th Man flag pregame. … Seahawks punter Jon Ryan boomed a 73-yard punt in the second quarter, second-longest in Seahawks history. Ryan owns the record with a 77-yard punt.

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