In one of the more controversial outcomes to a football game in some time, the Green Bay Packers lost to the Seattle Seahawks, 14-12, after it was ruled that wide receiver Golden Tate scored a touchdown as time expired.
Packers safety M.D. Jennings battled with Tate for possession of the ball in the end zone, but even after review, the play stood as called on the field.
It's hard to come away with any conclusion other than the Packers got robbed on a call made by the officials on the final play of the game as time expired. It was ruled Seahawks receiver Golden Tate caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson on a jump ball in the end zone.
There's no denying that Tate had his hands on the football, but to rule that he had possession of the football instead of safety M.D. Jennings would appear to be the incorrect call.
Jennings had the ball tucked against his body and had what looked like an interception in the end zone.
The officials had a direct impact on the outcome of the game, and the scrutiny on the replacement officials will certainly receive even more attention in a situation that's already receiving a ton of negative attention.
Fans of the Green Bay Packers will be irate over the outcome of this football game for quite some time.
But fans of the NFL in general were witness to a game being decided by the incorrect call of an official, which ideally never happens.
Seattle Seahawks fans will be happy over a victory, but they'll be in the minority after Monday evening's game.
It's anyone's guess as to how much of an impact this particular game will have on the negotiations between the NFL and the official's union, but it will only increase the calls for them to come to an agreement.
Packers running back Cedric Benson was the beneficiary of offensive play-calling in the second half as Green Bay made a concerted effort to run the football.
After rushing the football only two times for four yards in the first half, Benson finished the game with 17 rushes for 45 yards, including the team's only touchdown that gave the Packers the lead in the fourth quarter.
There was one scary moment late in the game when Benson fumbled, but the ball was recovered by center Jeff Saturday to maintain possession.
It was Benson who helped the Packers maintain some semblance of balance to their offense in the second half against a defense that's pretty stout against the run.
Before the final play from scrimmage, M.D. Jennings didn't play much of a role in the Packers defense while playing almost exclusively on special teams.
Inserted into the game in one of the Packers' prevent packages that utilizes more defensive backs than usual, Jennings did his job.
He got himself into position to intercept the football and should have been credited with an interception, had it not been the call by an official that ruled Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate had possession of the football instead.
Jennings was one of the players who had to come back onto the field to play the Seahawks' extra-point conversion, but it wasn't the play that the Packers shouldn't have had to play in the first place.
Apart from another controversial call on Sam Shields being called for pass interference in the fourth quarter, it was solid play by Shields, rookies Casey Hayward and Jerron McMillian and safeties Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings.
It took positive performances from the young defensive backs on the Packers to hold Russell Wilson to a completion percentage of less than 50 percent by hitting on only 10-of-21 passes, and what should have been one fewer than that.
Shields, Hayward and McMillian were all credited with pass breakups that helped the Packers limit the Seahawks to 130 yards through the air.
McMillian also would have had an interception had a roughing the passer penalty not been called on outside linebacker Erik Walden.
First of all, Mike McCarthy was put in a very difficult position by not being able to criticize the officials lest he be fined by the NFL, so he was a loser from that standpoint.
But on top of that, the play-call selection in the first half by McCarthy contributed to the hole from which the Packers had to dig themselves out.
In the first half, the Packers ran 24 designed pass plays as opposed to three designed running plays that kept the Packers offense off-balance and out of sync.
The Packers may have gained 86 yards through the air in the first half, but when subtracting the 39 yards lost due to eight sacks, the Packers only gained 47 gross passing yards.
Regardless of the outcome of the game, the Packers could have avoided the game coming down to that point had they played better in the first half.
Tim Masthay, Mason Crosby
The Packers wanted touchdowns instead of field goals, but when Mason Crosby was called upon, he was dead solid—perfect.
Crosby hit on field goals of 29 and 41 yards, both in the third quarter, to pull the Packers within one point of the Seahawks. Through three games, Crosby has not missed a field goal.
Punter Tim Masthay punted six times and placed three of those six punts inside the 20.
On the two returns by Leon Washington, the Packers held him to only five yards.
The Packers started to hit their stride in the second half of the game, but it goes without saying that the passing game was inept in the first half.
Considering the Packers gave up eight sacks, the Packers were lucky to have not been down by more than seven points at halftime.
Everyone deserves their fair share of blame from tackles Bryan Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse who played particularly poorly to quarterback Aaron Rodgers who held onto the football far too long on several occasions.
The play-calling that called for only three runs in the first half was equally egregious.
Eight sacks is simply inexcusable for an entire game, let alone one half.
On Monday evening, the Packers averaged only 3.9 yards per pass attempt, an average that's far too small to be successful in the NFL and one which is starting to be a trend through the first three games of the season.