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Originally published October 19, 2014 at 5:33 PM | Page modified October 20, 2014 at 1:11 PM

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How officials handled final fumble leaves Seahawks grasping for answers

After a crazy weekend that left Seattle’s season more uncertain than ever, cornerback Richard Sherman was sure of one thing — when the whistle blew, he had possession of a fumble by St. Louis’ Tre Mason with 1:14 left in the game.


Seattle Times staff reporter

Russell Wilson by the numbers

313 Passing yards for Wilson on Sunday, a season high.

106 Rushing yards for Wilson. He had 122 against Washington two weeks ago.

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ST. LOUIS — After a crazy weekend that left Seattle’s season more uncertain than ever, cornerback Richard Sherman was sure of one thing — when the whistle blew, he had possession of a fumble by St. Louis’ Tre Mason with about a minute left in the game.

The officials, though, decided otherwise, ruling that St. Louis’ Cory Harkey had recovered it at the Seahawks’ 41, which allowed the Rams to run out the clock on a 28-26 win that left Seattle at 3-3.

It was a sequence of events that also left the Seahawks steaming afterward.

Sherman said he didn’t know what the officials saw to decide he didn’t have the ball.

“I still had it,” said Sherman. “When they blew the whistle we all stopped. … they blew the whistle and picked up the ball and said, ‘We are putting it back to the old spot.’”

Safety Earl Thomas, meanwhile, said the ending made the Seahawks feel like they also are “battling the officials.”

“If you really look at some plays, we’re playing more than our opponents,’’ Thomas said. “We’re playing the referees, too. I don’t care what anybody is saying. Something is wrong. That needs to be brought up.”

Carroll and Thomas each protested that the play wasn’t reviewed. However, Dean Blandino, the vice president of officiating for the NFL, later tweeted that the play was reviewed and looked at from all available angles but that there was “no evidence of who recovered the ball.”

Carroll was under the impression during his postgame news conference that the play had not been reviewed, noting it is not a review that he could have asked for.

“It was out of our hands, I know that,” Carroll said. “And I was trying to make an appeal if they would or could or if they felt there was reason because they were unsure.”

Carroll said he thought Sherman had possession of the ball but that he “couldn’t get flat to secure it and then the ball moved around a little bit real late. They could have said (Sherman) had it. They could have looked in there if they saw it and given him the football. But as time wore on in the pile, the ball got moved around and (the Rams) did a good job to get it back.”

Even Rams (2-4) coach Jeff Fisher thought Seattle initially recovered, saying later he had already turned to his defensive coordinator “about what we needed to do. When they gave us the ball, obviously I was somewhat relieved.”

Thomas said the officials did not give the Seahawks an explanation.

“There’s never an explanation,” he said. “It’s kind of crazy how football is turning out now. You give a guy, just because he wears a white and black shirt, he has authority of the game. Man, they need to stay out of it — that’s my key — and let us dominate.”

Thomas acknowledged that Seattle couldn’t blame that play for the defeat but said he wishes the Seahawks had gotten a final chance to win, which he felt the team deserved.

“We’ve got to understand who we’re battling now,” he said. “We won everything last year. We’re battling the referees now. I don’t know what’s going on with that. We’ve got to cut out the penalties. That’s what’s hurting us.”

Quarterback Russell Wilson already was preparing for one more drive before seeing the officials rule the other way.

“If we were able to get the ball back, there is no doubt in my mind we would have won that game,’’ he said. “… The fumble, I thought we had the ball but I guess not, I don’t know.’’

Wilson makes history

Wilson finished the game with 313 yards passing and 106 yards rushing, becoming the first player in NFL history to throw for 300 yards and run for 100 yards in the same game.

Wilson said, “It doesn’t mean anything’’ because the Seahawks didn’t win the game.

Fisher, though, couldn’t heap enough praise on Wilson afterward, saying he “all by himself made this quite a game.’’



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