Russell Wilson and The Touchdown That Never Was

1/14/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

On a 3rd-and-goal from the Atlanta Falcons' 11-yard line with 21 seconds left in the first half, Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks - with no timeouts - set up to take a shot at the end zone to cut their incredibly disappointing 20-point deficit to 13. Rather than get a look at the end zone, one of the worst possible plays ensued - Wilson, before he could even go through his reads, was ambushed by Jonathan Babineaux and sacked.

Wilson - very unlike a rookie - was immediately back on his feet following the sack, rallying his troops to the line of scrimmage to get one more shot at the end zone. It took the team a little while to get set, and the clock was closing in on zero. Almost simultaneous with the clock running out, Russell Wilson took the snap and heaved the ball to wide receiver Sidney Rice in the end zone. The refs, however, blew their whistles and disallowed the score, claiming that the ball was not snapped in time.

FOX later showed a replay from a different angle with a game clock positioned in the corner. The replay showed that Wilson clearly didn't get the snap off in time, seemingly by a long shot. I was confused, however. I thought Wilson got the snap off when watching it live, and if he didn't, I was nearly positive it wasn't as late as FOX's replay displayed.

I went back on my DVR and watched the play again - I still thought he got it off in time. I watched it in slow motion - still looked good to me. Then I tried about a hundred times to pause the game at the perfect moment, and I finally came away with this:


Blog Photo - Russell Wilson and The Touchdown That Never Was

This picture was taken from a paused screenshot with :01 left on the game clock (you'll just have to take my word for it). That looks a hell of a lot like a football in Russell Wilson's hands to me. I'm not sure where FOX got that clock they showed with their replay, but watching this play as many times as I did, it seemed clear - according to the clock that was being shown - that Wilson got this snap off.

If you don't believe me, take a look at what well-renowned sports writer Bill Simmons had to say on Twitter (after I had already tweeted my picture, of course):

 
Blog Photo - Russell Wilson and The Touchdown That Never Was

The Seahawks ended up losing by only to points, but you never know how that play being called a touchdown would have affected the game. For all we know, that touchdown could have resulted in the Falcons coming out in the second half with a different defensive strategy/mindset that would have shut down Wilson. I'm not going to go all Skip Bayless on you and say that was definitely a touchdown which would undoubtedly have won the Seahawks this game.

Once again, I'm not even saying that was definitely a touchdown. FOX seemed to have a clear-cut replay of Wilson not getting the snap off. I just think it's strange that their replay showed it so obviously, when my picture - from the live broadcast - shows what appears to be a football in Wilson's hands with :01 on the clock.

Here, however, is what I'd like to see... I'm not sure if that play would have been reviewable (as to whether to not he got the snap off in time) had they let it play out. I've just never seen a situation where that came into play. If it's not reviewable, they should make it reviewable, and the refs should let the play run its course, and review whether or not the snap got off in time afterwards. The NBA essentially does the same thing with buzzer-beating shots, and it works perfectly.

One final time: I'm not saying that the Seahawks were robbed of this game, or that this play was even definitely a touchdown. However, I believe that my previous paragraph would be a good way for the NFL to handle similar plays in the future.
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1/15/13   |   MortonsLaw   |   156 respect

Can't take that sack.  FG there likely changes the end of the game.

1/14/13   |   Jess   |   32868 respect

Dan_B wrote:
Ya know, I agree that it appeared he got the snap off in time. However, my impression was that much of the offense was not set at the snap, so if the play was allowed to count, then there would have been a flag for illegal motion with the 10-second runoff ending the half. 

That's what Pereira said - or false start or something. The line wasn't set, so it wouldn't have counted anyway. 

This loss is certainly crushing. I honestly feel like I'm in mourning (I know that's a little over dramatic, but seriously - I can't lie.) Where was the defense in the first half? I realize we were missing Clem but come on. And what was up with the play calling on both sides of the ball for Seattle? Why didn't we take the points? Of course, as with all "gutsy" calls, if it had worked Pete would have been a genius. It didn't, so we question his sanity. And what the heck - how did this "stout" defense allow 43 yards to get into FG range? 

Would have, could have, should have - so many things that if done differently, the game may have ended on a high note for Seahawks fans. That's the nature of the beast that is the postseason. Atlanta's a good team too - I don't want to take anything away from them. They're legit; I just wish their playoff win didn't have to come against my Hawks yesterday. I hope they can make it past the Niners.

Oh - and does anyone else find it fitting that Seattle's season should end on an interception in the end zone? 

1/14/13   |   Trokspot   |   61 respect

I thought the ball was snapped in time, but the refs were blowing it dead because the Seahawks weren't set.  I was surprised too, when Fox's replay showed that time had "clearly" expired.  I agree with you in either case, let the play run its course, and then have the refs review to see what the correct call is.

1/14/13   |   Dan_B   |   1066 respect

Ya know, I agree that it appeared he got the snap off in time. However, my impression was that much of the offense was not set at the snap, so if the play was allowed to count, then there would have been a flag for illegal motion with the 10-second runoff ending the half.