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Aaron Rodgers, Pete Carroll Talk Jimmy Graham's Controversial 1st Down

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2020

Green Bay Packers' Jimmy Graham catches a first down pass with Seattle Seahawks' Lano Hill defending during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 28-23 to advance to the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

A controversial first down given to the Green Bay Packers on their final drive proved to be the difference in a 28-23 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Round on Sunday.

Jimmy Graham appeared to be stopped short of the first-down marker on a 3rd-and-9 reception, but the officials gave the Packers the spot with 1:48 remaining to seal the win.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters he didn't notice where Graham was stopped but assumed he had gotten it.

On the other side, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said his players were telling him Graham was short, but "that's how it goes."

CBS Sports HQ @CBSSportsHQ

“Had they called him short, then it would’ve been short … That’s how it goes.” Pete Carroll addresses the Jimmy Graham 3rd-down catch that was ruled a first down. https://t.co/RjY9MXL1tz

After a booth review, the officials announced the ruling of a first down stood. The Packers were able to kneel three times to run out the clock.

The play Rodgers referenced from the first quarter was when Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister fumbled the ball. He was initially ruled to be down by contact. Replay showed he did lose control of the ball before going to the ground, but the Seahawks retained possession because the officials couldn't determine which team recovered the fumble.

Seattle gave up two third-down conversions to the Packers on that decisive final drive. The first one came when Rodgers hit Davante Adams for 32 yards on 3rd-and-8 to keep the clock moving.

The win sends the Packers to their first NFC Championship Game since 2016. They will take on the top-seeded San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 19 with a berth in Super Bowl LIV at stake.

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