Leave it to a former baseball player to throw a walk-off touchdown pass.
Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson capped a forgettable performance with an unforgettable score, connecting with Golden Tate for a 24-yard touchdown pass on the game’s final play to give Seattle a controversial 14-12 win over Green Bay.
Although Packers safety M.D. Jennings appeared to have possession, Tate got his hands on it, too, and officials ruled it a simultaneous possession which is ruled in favor of the offensive player.
“Good call,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the win moved the Seahawks to 2-1. “(Wilson) has to make things like this happen if he wants to be big time.”
Wilson looked as if he were somewhat less than up to the challenge through most of the second half.
Trailing 12-7 with 8:44 to go in the game, Wilson still had a chance to lead the Sea-hawks to victory, and benefited from a Green Bay roughing-the-quarterback penalty and then a pass interference call.
But on fourth-and-3 from the Green Bay 7 with 2 minutes to play, Wilson threw incomplete in the end zone when Tate and teammate Sidney Rice occupied a tight space. Tate made a leaping try for the ball and appeared to obstruct any shot at a reception by Rice.
But the defense stopped the Packers and Wilson took the field again with :46 to play. He completed a 22-yard pass to Rice, but threw incomplete twice to set up the final pass to Tate.
“When it got down to it, he made stuff happen,” Carroll said of Wilson. “He’s growing, he’s competitive, and he’s really cool.”
“The second half we definitely could have done a better job,” Wilson said. “But we learned that you never give up it was a pretty spectacular win.”
Asked about Wilson’s leadership in the huddle down the stretch, tackle Breno Giacomini said:
“He just calls the plays and leaves it up to us to go execute.”
It was Wilson’s third NFL start and first exposure in prime time.
He put together an efficient first half, completing five of 10 attempts with a 41-yard touchdown pass to Tate giving the Seahawks a 7-0 lead.
But while the Seahawks focused on the rushing game, Wilson did not even attempt a pass in the third quarter.
He finished with 10 completions in 21 attempts for 130 yards and a passer rating of 99.3.
Until the offense stalled in the second half, Wilson benefited from solid line blocking, which also created running room for Lynch (25 carries for 98 yards).
It also kept Wilson upright and largely untouched.
That would have been considered an upset in its own right as the Packers led the league in sacks coming into the game, with linebacker Clay Matthews having six himself.
The Seahawks’ offense schemed around Matthews, occasionally going to an unbalanced line – flopping left tackle Russell Okung to the right side – away from Matthews.
A number of times they lined up two tight ends to that side, or brought a tight end in motion to help Okung with Matthews.
A flurry of penalty flags marred the game. The Seahawks were whistled 14 for 118 yards and Green Bay had 10 penalties for 127 yards. The Seahawks enhanced their record as the league’s best on Monday Night Football, having now win six straight. Punter Jon Ryan quietly contributed to the Seahawks’ field position, averaging 51.5 yards on six punts, including a 73-yarder in the second period.
Inactives: Seahawks – S Winston Guy, CB Danny Gorrer, CB Bryan Maxwell, G Lemuel Jeanpierre, G James Carpenter, WR Doug Baldwin, DT Jaye Howard. Packers: WR Jarrett Boykin, S Sean Richardson, CB Davon House, RB James Starks, LB Terrell Manning, LB Jamari Lattimore, TE Tom Crabtree.