Clint Gresham said he’s been long-snapping for 10 years and never had a ball drop at the feet of a punter like the one that floated through the frozen air in the first quarter of the Seahawks’ playoff game against Minnesota on Sunday.
And for most of the game, the field goal the Vikings scored after the subsequent short field looked like it might be enough to defeat the scoreless Seahawks.
In the end, Seattle rallied to a 10-9 win, which made Gresham feel like one lucky Hawk.
It didn’t help his buddy, punter Jon Ryan, who was forced to run after fielding the low snap and ended up getting upended and landing on his face short of a first down.
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“He got his nose busted on that play, so he got messed up a little bit,” coach Pete Carroll said of Ryan, before adding that he wasn’t sure if it was actually broken. “It looks terrible.”
Carroll would have preferred Ryan had tried to elude defenders rather than jumping over them. But it should be remembered that Ryan appeared last season on the television show American Ninja Warrior (even though he’s a native Canadian), and trying to leap over obstacles is apparently a pastime.
Ryan was off getting his nose X-rayed after the game and was unavailable for comment.
But Gresham commented for him. “I patted him on the shoulder and said, ‘My bad, man.’ That guy is a soldier. I have so much respect for that guy.”
Wind chills of minus-25 made the ball difficult to handle for everyone on Sunday, and that was true for Gresham, who has the disadvantage of having to throw it while upside down and peering through his legs.
“The ball was so cold it was just difficult to get a good grip on,” said Gresham, a TCU product who has never had a costly errant snap in his six-year NFL career.
“It’s frustrating and it’s a little embarrassing because nobody wants to have a snap like that,” he said. “But I also realize there were some things that played into it and I was able to bounce back and figure out what I needed to do.”
Gresham positioned his hands around an invisible football to demonstrate how he altered his grip.
“I really had to roll my hands over to make sure I had more contact on the ball,” he said. “No, it wasn’t a perfect game, but I’m so thankful for the rest of the team; we were able to rally together and put together the win.”
Ryan bloodied but low snap not lethal to Hawks