Just when the anger and complaints from a weekend of contempt toward replacement officials couldn’t get any hotter, a disputed call trumps it all.
Replacement ref rage peaked Monday night thanks to Seattle’s Golden Tate, and a bizarre touchdown call that will be debated, questioned and re-ignite frustrations over the locked-out officials.
Tate pushed a Green Bay defender out of the way, wrestled another for the ball and was awarded a touchdown on the final play to give the Seahawks a 14-12 victory over the Packers.
The game wasn’t over for another 10 minutes after both teams went to their locker rooms and were summoned back to the field for the extra point. But that was just the cap to one of the most bizarre finishes in recent memory.
“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,” he said.
Russell Wilson threw the 24-yard touchdown pass, and the crew of replacement officials agreed Tate caught the pass.
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” before the crowd at CenturyLink Field erupted in celebration.
“We both had possession of it. I don’t even know the rule but I guess the tie goes to the receiver,” Tate said.
Asked later if he got his hands on Wilson’s pass first, Tate wasn’t so sure.
“I think so. ... Oh, well, maybe he did. But I took it from him,” Tate said.
Elliott told a pool reporter after the game that the play was ruled as simultaneous possession that was confirmed by the replay official.
“They both possessed it,” Elliott said.
The Packers were far from convinced that Tate had possession. Jennings said he had the ball pinned to his chest the entire time. A handful of Packers players began venting on their Twitter accounts right after the game, posting protest messages to their followers — many of them too profane to print. Offensive lineman T.J. Lang even challenged the NFL to “fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.”
Others took to Twitter to speak their minds.
NBA MVP LeBron James tweeted: “I simply just LOVE the NFL to much to see these mistakes. I’m sick like I just played for the Packers.”
Eagles acquire new punter
The Philadelphia Eagles signed two-time Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar to a two-year contract and released Chas Henry.
McBriar, a 33-year old native of Australia, played eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys from 2004-11. He played with the Eagles in the preseason and was among the final cuts.
McBriar’s average of 45.3 yards per punt ranks fifth in NFL history. Philadelphia also signed long snapper Kyle Nelson to the practice squad.
Around the league
The Washington Redskins signed cornerback David Jones and waived-injured cornerback Crezdon Butler. … The Indianapolis Colts signed cornerback Darius Butler and released offensive lineman Trai Essex. … Denver Broncos linebacker Joe Mays received a one-game suspension and a $50,000 fine from the NFL for the hit that dislodged Texans quarterback Matt Schaub’s helmet and took off a piece of his ear. … The New York Jets signed running back Jonathan Grimes from the Houston Texans’ practice squad. … The Buffalo Bills released veteran punter Brian Moorman and signed free agent Shawn Powell. … The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent linebacker Vic So’oto and released linebacker Carl Ihenacho. … The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent safety Eric Frampton and placed starter Barry Church on injured reserve. Church ruptured his Achilles’ tendon Sunday. … The Kansas City Chiefs put cornerback Jacques Reeves on injured reserve with a hamstring issue. … The Detroit Lions signed punter Nick Harris and placed punter Ben Graham on injured reserve with a left calf injury.