SEATTLE - With one big punch, Kam Chancellor showed his importance to the Seattle Seahawks.
With one little touch, K.J. Wright provided another Monday night controversy in the same end zone where the infamous “Fail Mary” took place.
“Now that you look at it, we we’re fortunate,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Chancellor knocked the ball free from Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson at the 1-yard line when it appeared the Lions were going to take the lead, and Seattle held on for a 13-10 win.
With Detroit on the verge of capping a 91-yard drive with the go-ahead touchdown with less than 2 minutes remaining, Chancellor came from the side and punched the ball from Johnson’s arm as he was being tackled by Earl Thomas. It bounded into the end zone where it was guided over the back line by K.J. Wright for a touchback and Seattle’s ball at the 20.
But Wright should have been called for an illegal bat for hitting the ball out of the end zone, NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino told NFL Network. The penalty would have given the ball back to Detroit at the Seattle 1.
No flags were thrown and on the ensuing possession, Russell Wilson found Jermaine Kearse for 50 yards on third down. With Detroit out of timeouts, the Seahawks (2-2) ran off the final seconds of their second straight win.
“The back judge was on the play and in his judgment he didn’t feel it was an overt act so he didn’t throw the flag,” Blandino said. “In looking at the replays it looked like a bat so the enforcement would be basically we would go back to the spot of the fumble and Detroit would keep the football.”
Wright said he did not know the rule and was purposely guiding the ball over the end line.
“That was definitely the thought process just to get the ball out of bounds and not try to catch it and fumble it and hit my foot and the Lions recover it,” Wright said.
The non-call provided another memorable Monday night moment in Seattle. It was three years ago when replacement officials credited Golden Tate with a disputed touchdown reception on the final play in nearly the same spot as Seattle beat Green Bay.
Now it was Tate, playing for Detroit, on the opposite side of a strange play in the Emerald City. Detroit (0-4) is off to its worst start since it also started 0-4 in 2010.
“What can you do? You’re not going to cry about it that’s for sure,” Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said.
It was an ugly performance by the home team, filled with offensive mistakes and two fourth-quarter fumbles by Wilson, the second returned 27 yards for a touchdown by Caraun Reid to pull Detroit to 13-10.
But in the end, Seattle’s defense came through.
Starting on their 9 with 6:23 remaining, the Lions converted a big third down on Tate’s 22-yard catch-and-run and reached the Seattle 46 with 3 minutes left on Ameer Abdullah’s 9-yard run.