While the scab refs’ Fail Mary ruling in Week 3 will be better remembered, it won’t end up being the only bad call that helped the Seahawks to a win in 2012. The Chicago Tribune learned that the NFL admitted to the Bears after their 23-17 overtime loss to Seattle in Week 13 that game officials had erred by not calling two offensive pass interference penalties committed by Seahawks receivers. Both uncalled penalties occurred on drives that resulted in Seattle touchdowns, including the winning score in overtime.
The first came on third-and-6 from the Seahawks 47 with 3 minutes, 10 seconds left in the first half. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a deep sideline pass to wide receiver Golden Tate. Tate subtly shoved Jennings to the ground with his right hand near the Bears 30 and came down with what he turned into a 49-yard reception. The Seahawks scored a touchdown on the next play from the 4.
The disputed no-call against Tillman came in overtime. With the Seahawks facing a critical third-and-10 from the Bears 25, Wilson rolled left to escape the rush and found wide receiver Doug Baldwin for a 12-yard completion. To separate, Baldwin rammed his shoulder into Tillman after he opened his hips. The collision knocked Tillman to the ground. On Fox’s telecast, analyst Tim Ryan remarked, “Baldwin got away with a little bump.”
The league also confirmed, in the context of the NFC playoff race, that the three most crucial offensive pass-interference plays of 2012 didn’t involve rookie Alshon Jeffery against the Packers — calls the league later supported in correspondence with the Bears.
All three involved the 10-5 Seahawks.
Besides the two against the Bears, the well-documented no-call Sept. 24 on Tate pushing Packers cornerback Sam Shields before Tate’s touchdown catch on the final play gave the fifth-seeded Seahawks a victory.
In the past three weeks, Seattle has certainly proven itself a team to be reckoned with as the postseason approaches. That said, without the benefit of some questionable officiating, the Seahawks would be entering Week 17 at 8-7, trailing both the Vikings and the Bears for a Wild Card berth, rather than already having clinched.
It’s somewhat petty that a member of the Bears organization leaked to the media what is supposed to be a confidential communication between the team and the league just because it vindicated the Bears’ gripes. So it’s safe to assume Jay Cutler loves it.