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Originally published September 24, 2012 at 10:57 PM | Page modified September 25, 2012 at 8:40 AM

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Seahawks, Tate emerge with a signature win

Seattle did whatever it took to win this one, and it took a bizarre call on the game's final play to earn a victory that will go down in Seahawks lore.

Seattle Times staff columnist

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The Seahawks didn't need an offense. They needed a miracle.

On the final play of the game, a team sputtering and spewing to score points turned to its smallest wide receiver for the biggest play. And Golden Tate caught it, or co-caught it. By the grace of replacement refs, the Seahawks won on a Hail Mary. The Green Bay Packers might consider it a Fail Mary, but as they say in football, simultaneous possession goes to the receiver.

That is what they say, isn't it?

In Seattle, people will feel conflicted. But the ultimate sentiment should go something like this:

Ohmigoddidyouseethatwoooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pronounce that however you'd like.

The Seahawks claimed the signature regular-season victory of the Pete Carroll era on Monday Night Football, even though it ended with a controversial call made by temp officials. No doubt, this game provides the greatest fodder for the argument that the impasse with the league's real refs should end now.

"It's awful," Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "That's all I'm going to say about that."

At the end, facing a fourth-down play from the 24-yard line, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson lofted a jump ball to the end zone. Tate sprinted to the ball, pushed a defender and jumped into a crowd. Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings leapt and grabbed the ball first, but on the way down, Tate managed to get his hands on the ball, too. Both players fell to the ground, a pileup ensued, but when it cleared, Tate emerged with the football and the game-winning touchdown in a 14-12 victory.

The ruling: "Simultaneous possession," according to referee Wayne Elliott. The Seahawks rushed onto the field to celebrate. The Packers looked on in disbelief. After a review that upheld the call and a strange delay, the teams left the field, but they were asked to return for the extra-point try.

Who knew The Formula, Carroll's old-fashioned, ground-and-pound winning equation, included pixie dust, the benefit of the doubt and one incredible effort on a desperate heave?

"It was the most exciting ending I've ever had in a game," Seahawks tight end Zach Miller said. "This is the most memorable ending I've ever been a part of at any level."

It will go down in history and infamy. But the Seahawks don't need to apologize for being fortunate. Tate didn't give up on the play, and he forced the officials to make a call.

"Thankfully, I came down with it," said Tate, who is 5 feet 10. "I was just trying to keep possession of the ball. The guy who was fighting me (Jennings) was strong."

While surrounded by reporters in the locker room, Tate said he snagged the ball first, but when told that replay showed Jennings had it before him, Tate replied: "Maybe he did, but I took it from him."

After the game, Tate had the football in question tucked away in the right corner of his locker. He grabbed it and smiled wide.

"This is going to my mother," Tate said. "Today's her birthday."

In a game burdened by 24 penalties and several questionable calls, the dramatic victory helped the Seahawks avoid wasting a stellar defensive effort. It was as splendid a performance as you'll see, especially in the first half. The Seahawks sacked Rodgers a ridiculous eight times, including four by Chris Clemons. They limited the Packers' offense, which may very well be from outer space, to 87 yards before halftime. Seattle led 7-0.

The Packers scored 12 straight points in the second half — on two field goals and a touchdown — as the Seahawks offense failed to move the ball.

It felt like an indictment of the Seahawks' lack of a passing game. You knew Rodgers would figure out a way to score points. The Packers only managed 12, but it seemed like it would be enough against the league's worst passing offense.

And on the Seahawks' second-to-last possession, when Tate interfered with what seemed like a sure touchdown pass to Sidney Rice, the mood at CenturyLink Field turned somber.

But the defense gave the Seahawks the ball back with 46 seconds remaining. Wilson exclaimed on the sidelines, "Don't give up." The quarterback, who completed only 10 of 21 passes for 130 yards, connected with Rice on a 22-yard completion to set up the miracle.

Tate delivered. And on a play that truly could've gone either way, the replacement refs did the Seahawks a solid.

"Golden knocked down a touchdown pass to me so he could go win the game," Rice joked. "That's exactly what he did."

A signature win is a signature win.

"We'll do whatever it takes to win," Wilson said. "It doesn't matter."

Once the Seahawks are done celebrating, they should throw away this script, though. There are less chaotic ways to make a statement.

Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or jbrewer@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @JerryBrewer.

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