Officials botch pivotal blocked Bobby Wagner FG call, help Seahawks win in primetime again over Vikings
The Monday night officials couldn't deal with a basic rule change and the Vikings got hosed
The Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks were locked up in a tight one Monday night, with a lot at stake in the NFC playoff race. And once again the NFL officials managed to impact a prime-time game in Seattle in a big way, picking up a flag against Bobby Wagner on a game-changing field goal attempt that the Seahawks linebacker blocked.
Seattle led the Vikings 6-0 and had just punted back to Minnesota after the Vikings failed to pick up a fourth-down conversion on the goal line. Minnesota's drive stalled out and Dan Bailey lined up to kick a 47-yard field goal when Wagner came flying up the middle to block the kick.
One problem: He put his hands -- both of them! -- on teammates and managed to elevate himself into a position to block the kick. See for yourself and we'll break down the rule after.
The NFL made a rule change this offseason in order to prevent long snappers and offensive linemen on these kick attempts from being injured. The idea was to keep players on the defensive side of the ball from standing on the offensive guys -- the Seahawks actually made this kind of famous during the Legion of Boom days when Kam Chancellor would come flying in and jump over the opposition and leap up and block the kick.
Part of the league's rule made it illegal for players to get a running start before they tried to jump up and block kicks. Wagner didn't violate that rule.
However, he did violate a different part of the rule that prohibits players from gaining additional height by using their hands to push up on their teammates en route to the block.
Placing a hand or hands on a teammate or opponent to gain additional height to block or attempt to block an opponent's kick or apparent kick, or in an attempt to jump through a gap to block an opponent's kick or apparent kick.
Clearly Wagner did just that. And it's a no doubt 15-yard penalty that would have given the Vikings, who were on fourth-and-9, a first down and new life with a chance to win the game.
"You're not supposed to be able to pull guys down, if that's what they did," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, admitting he wasn't able to see the play.
The Vikings coach added he wanted to challenge the play, but was told by the officials he could not.
Wagner was crafty with how he did it -- he kept his hands low and shot the gap. And he was stationary when he started. The officials flagged him, but then they huddled up and, potentially being confused, picked up the flag. It didn't appear as if someone buzzed down to them, but it's hard to tell.
This is hardly the first time the Seahawks have been beneficiaries of a crazy call in their home stadium in prime time. There was theand .
It changed the game too. The Vikings went from making it 6-3 to suddenly being down 14-0 when the Seahawks marched down the field after the block and scored on a Chris Carson field goal. Given that points were at a premium in this matchup, it probably flipped the game. If Minnesota gets the ball on a first down after the foul, they could conceivably have been winning 7-6 in the fourth quarter.
That's a dagger for a team in the playoff hunt and you can expect the league to hear from the Vikings about it, probably right after the end of the game.
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