Three years after the Fail Mary, the Seattle Seahawks won on Monday Night Football via assault and BATtery.
Down 13-10 with less than two minutes to play, the Detroit Lions again proved their knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Calvin Johnson, on a play that tied him with Herman Moore as the franchise’s receptions leader, tried to stretch a catch into a touchdown catch. An opportunistic Kam Chancellor (pay the man) stripped the ball from Megatron inches from the goal line. Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright, rather than pounce on the ball for a touchback in the endzone, batted it past the back line.
The NFL rulebook, specifically rule 12, section 4, frowns on such behavior:
It is an illegal bat if:(a) any player bats or punches a loose ball in the field of play toward his opponent’s goal line(b) any player bats or punches a loose ball (that has touched the ground) in any direction, if it is in either end zone(c) an offensive player bats a backward pass in flight toward his opponent’s goal line
Lions fans objected. NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino objected. Twitter objected.
I called it!!! You can’t intentionally bat the ball out of the endzone !!! Seahawks get away with cheating again!!
— NickBarnett (@NickBarnett) October 6, 2015
Doug Baldwin tried to shake the ref’s hand. Back Judge not having it. #Seahawks
— Danny O’Neil (@dannyoneil) October 6, 2015
For Seattle fans to argue that the call wasn’t the story of the game is laughable. It also doesn’t matter if fans or players knew the rule. — Rob Guerrera (@StatsOnFire) October 6, 2015
How can an entire NFL referee crew blow a call that decides a Monday Night Football game??? Such a bad look for the league.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) October 6, 2015
— Rosevelt Colvin (@rcolvin3) October 6, 2015
Either NONE of the officials knew the rule, or the back judge somehow missed the intentional bat. Hmmm… pic.twitter.com/6YItdac3tu
— Rob Guerrera (@StatsOnFire) October 6, 2015
The league can’t blame replacement referees this time for the reparations call for Super Bowl XL. A back judge appeared in perfect position to make the call. His popularity might have plummeted in Seattle. But the NFL provides security for such unpleasantries.
The NFL does not review penalties. So, the Seahawks gain possession of a ball they never recovered (Seattle secures turnover if the ball bounced out of the endzone unaided), Russell Wilson makes good this time on a gutsy pass call when the situation screams run, and time expires on the hopes of the Detroit Lions in the game and perhaps the season.
“Of all sad words of tongue or pen,” Lions fans say with John Greenleaf Whittier today, “the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.”