Ted S. Warren, Associated Press
SEATTLE — 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.
Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman tweeted "These games are a joke," while 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."
Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach even tweeted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's office phone number, saying in a separate tweet that if the ending Monday did not spark an end to the lockout "this season will be a joke."
"Just watching in the back room, I think if you asked Golden Tate to take a lie detector test and ask him did he catch that ball or did M.D. catch that ball, M.D. caught that," Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings said. "It was clear as day ... at least that is what my eyes saw."
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.
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