Honestly, it was an exciting game to watch. Despite Seattle totally dominating the first half. Pushed the Packers around like it was nothing. I seriously got sick of how gleefully the announcers talked about how awesome Seattle is and this is what we can expect from them all year and isn't it great how they can demonstrate it against the Pack that was supposed to be so good. At least the Packer D played well enough to limit Seattle to a single TD. Did the announcers bother to point that out? How despite the Seattle Defense manhandling GB so thoroughly, they were held to only 7 points in the half? Ha!
Then the Packers came out with a revised game plan second half. Instead of passing every down, they mixed in a healthy dose of run plays. Maintained forward progress, got a first down every few plays. No big plays. Nope, none. But more important than anything else, kept our offense on the field. Turns out it's a lot easier to see how good Green Bay's defense is when the opposing offense never hits the field. 3 and out 75% of the time has a bigger impact when you take the field 4 times than it does when you take the field 16.
Or something like that. Point is, Green Bay controlled the game indisputably the second half. Held the ball, like, 25 minutes. Scored two field goals. Then a TD. Missed the 2 point conversion, but took a 12-7 lead.
Intense, exciting come back. Especially, remember, after Seattle had spent the first half demonstrating what a great team they were. And they were still ground down by Green Bay in the long game.
Then came the final drive. Less than 2 mins left on the clock. Green Bay had just kicked the ball back far enough that Seattle had a long field in front of them. And they began marching down it. Moved the ball further that drive than they had the whole 2nd half. Got a couple first downs. Got as far as their own 40 yard line before Green Bay stuffed them. Hard. Forced a long pass on 3rd and 32(!). Seattle put the ball up, heading straight for a receiver being dogged closely by a GB defender. The defender won the fight to get between the ball and the receiver, had a great chance to intercept it, so the receiver wrapped up the GB defender and the ball bounced off his hands, pass broken up. The officials could have, and looking at the replays should have, called offensive pass interference on Seattle. But OPI is rarely called, right? No one really expects it, even when the foul is that blatant.
But what no one really expected was when the official called pass interference against Green Bay! Seriously?! Seattle's player had Green Bay's wrapped up in a bear hug? And the Packers get the pass interference penalty? Yep. A 38 yard penalty for a Seattle first down. Bringing them into field goal range.
Now . . the game had been plagued by bad calls. I understand all the games have been so far this year. And probably both teams had benefitted from bad calls over the course of the game. It would probably be pointless to try and figure out who benefitted most. You just laugh, shrug and play on, right? What was clear, painfully clear, was that no call in the game had been that absurdly wrong.
Not yet anyway.
Green Bay held Seattle again. With 8 seconds left in the game they were still over 30 yards out of the end zone needing a TD to win. Last play of the game, a few players from both teams skirmish around the QB, but most of both teams sprinted to the end zone and waited for the Hail Mary. It came to the back left corner, two Seattle receivers in the area, four Packers. The defenders surrounded one receiver, totally cutting the second off from the ball. The surrounded receiver hauls off with a violent shove of one defender. I mean, not even remotely defensible as "bumping", but blantantly violent enough to legitimately disqualify him as a legal receiver. Everyone jumped for the ball. Green Bay intercepted it. As the intercepting player came down, Seattle's receiver reached in and tried to rip the ball out of his hands. Both players hit the ground hanging on to the ball, a scrum ensued, when it cleared, Green Bay still had the ball. Two officials were standing right there. One signaled an interception for Green Bay, the other (senior) official a fair catch and touchdown for Seattle.
The play was reviewed. Watching the replay, maybe you could the make the case that as fast as everything happened, maybe it looked like both players simultaneously got hands on the ball, in which case it would go to Seattle.. In slow motion, it becomes apparent that is not really the case, though. And yet they let call on the field stand.
Oh man. I do understand that sometimes games are decided by bad officiating. And when it happens, we should consider that it's not just a bad call that won the game for Seattle. They played extremely well the first half and because of that were in a position where one touchdown would win them the game. But man, I have never seen any calls as bad as those last two of the game. I mean, this is a perfect example of why good officiating matters. The NFL needs to get its scabs off the field and put real officials back in charge.
2 weeks ago