In Monday night's low-scoring game between two elite defenses, points were at a premium. That reality made the Minnesota Vikings' fourth-quarter field-goal attempt and Bobby Wagner's ensuing controversial block a major turning point in Seattle's 21-7 victory -- and potentially the NFC playoff picture.
Down six points to the Seahawks with less than six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Minnesota settled for a 47-yard field goal, just one drive after being stuffed on a fourth-down goal-line attempt.
However, upon review, it appeared that Wagner placed his hands on Reed and Stephen and made contact with one of the Minnesota linemen. That use of leverage on a field-goal attempt, according to the rulebook, would constitute a 15-yard penalty. But referee Brad Allen and his crew ruled there was no infraction.
When asked if Allen offered any explanation for the no-call, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told reporters, "I don't know. They didn't tell me. I just asked if I could challenge and they said no.
"Honestly, I didn't see what happened. I was told what happened, but I don't know. You're not supposed to be able to pull guys down if that's what they did."
"It was just an incredible play. I think they're going to talk about it. We practiced it all week with Bobby jumping over the guys, never touched anybody. I don't know what happened in the game. But that's the way he was doing [it]. He was able to clear the line of scrimmage without touching anybody, that was the plan," Carroll explained. "Very few people can do that. But he pulled it off beautifully during the week. That's what the officials called. I don't know if there's some controversy about that."
The "perpetrator" was singing a similar song after the game.
"They changed the rule to where you can't run up any more," Wagner said. "But if you start on the line you can jump over. So we did it."
What say you, NFL Rulebook?:
Penalty: Loss of 15 yards from the succeeding spot or whatever spot the Referee, after consulting with the crew, deems equitable. If the foul is by the defense, it is also an automatic first down for (among other infractions):
*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 *
A 15-yard penalty would have extended the Vikings' drive and set them up in the red zone with another chance to seize the lead from Seattle. Instead, the Seahawks scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive, put the game away and extended their lead in the NFC wild-card race. Minnesota, meanwhile, fell back to the pack of sixth-seed wannabes as a result of the defeat.