Well, that was rock bottom for replacement refs

895891.jpg

Well, that was rock bottom for replacement refs

From Comcast SportsNetSEATTLE (AP) -- Golden Tate shoved a Green Bay defender out of the way, wrestled another for the ball and was awarded a disputed touchdown on the final play. But it was another 10 minutes before the game actually ended, when the Seattle Seahawks and the stunned Packers were called back on the field for the extra point.Replacement ref rage may have peaked Monday night.Just when it seemed that NFL coaches, players and fans couldn't get any angrier, along came a fiasco that trumped any of the complaints from the weekend. The Seahawks' 14-12 victory featured one of the most bizarre finishes in recent memory, and was certain to reignite frustrations over the locked-out officials."Don't ask me a question about the officials," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. "I've never seen anything like that in all my years in football.""I know it's been a wild weekend in the NFL and I guess we're part of it now," he said.Russell Wilson threw the 24-yard touchdown pass to Tate. The crew of replacement officials agreed that Tate caught the pass."We both had possession of it. I don't even know the rule but I guess the tie goes to the receiver," Tate said.Asked later if he got his hands on Wilson's pass first, Tate wasn't so sure."I think so. ... Oh, well maybe he did. But I took it from him," Tate said.Wilson scrambled from the pocket and threw to the corner of the end zone as the clock expired. Tate shoved Green Bay's Sam Shields out of the way, then wrestled with M.D. Jennings for possession. It was ruled on the field as a touchdown and after a lengthy review, referee Wayne Elliott came out from under the hood and announced "the ruling on the field stands" and CenturyLink Field erupted in celebration.Seattle (2-1) won its second straight, while Green Bay (1-2) and saw its streak of wins in six straight road openers snapped.Wilson's heave came at the end of a final frantic drive after Seattle had previously missed on a fourth-down attempt from the Green Bay 7 with 2 minutes left. The turnover on downs appeared to end Seattle's hopes and cap an impressive second-half comeback by the Packers and Aaron Rodgers, who was sacked eight times -- all in the first half."I was just trying to keep possession of the ball. The guy who was fighting me for it, he's strong. I was just trying to hold onto it until our guys pulled them off of me," Tate said. "I didn't know if they called touchdown, interception, incompletion. I didn't know what was going on. Couldn't hear anything and I just tried to keep fighting for the ball."Elliott told a pool reporter after the game that the play was ruled as simultaneous possession that was confirmed by the replay official."They both possessed it," Elliott said.The Packers were far from convinced that Tate had possession. Jennings said he had the ball pinned to his chest the entire time. A handful of Packers players began venting on their Twitter accounts right after the game, posting protest messages to their followers -- many of them too profane to print. Offensive lineman T.J. Lang even challenged the NFL to "fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.""Just watching in the back room, I think if you asked Golden Tate to take a lie detector test and ask him did he catch that ball or did M.D. catch that ball, M.D. caught that," Packers' wide receiver Greg Jennings said. "It was clear as day ... at least that is what my eyes saw."Seattle instantly celebrated while the Packers argued with anyone in a striped shirt. Both teams were eventually shoved to the sidelines as Tate stomped through the end zone in celebration. Following the review, Elliott's announcement sent the stadium into delirium and even more confusion ensued until the teams finally returned to the field for the extra point."From what I understood from the officials it was a simultaneous catch. Tie goes to the runner. Good call," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.Rodgers had quite a different opinion."It was awful. Just look at the replay. And then the fact that it was reviewed, it was awful," he said. "That's all I'm going to say about it."We shouldn't have been in that position."It was Tate's second touchdown of the game after catching a 41-yard TD in the second quarter to give Seattle a 7-0 lead. He finished with three catches for 68 yards, while Wilson was 10 of 21 for 130 yards.Green Bay averted disaster when John Kuhn fumbled on the Packers first play after Seattle missed on fourth down from the Packers 7, but center Jeff Saturday recovered. The Seahawks held and forced Green Bay to punt from the 4 with 57 seconds left. The 41-yard punt set Seattle up at the Green Bay 46 with 46 seconds remaining.Wilson hit Sidney Rice for 22 yards on a slant then went for Tate in the end zone but the ball was batted away with 18 seconds left. He threw over the head of Evan Moore on second down leaving 12 seconds remaining and missed Tate again at the 5.Wilson took the final snap with 8 seconds remaining. He appeared to be looking for Rice on the right side of the end zone, but rolled left and threw for Tate, who was in a crowd of three Packers defenders. His shove of Sam Shields was obvious and it was never clear who had possession between Tate and Jennings."I just ran my route on the backside. Wilson came back and wanted to give me one more chance, especially after I dropped the first one and I just competed," Tate said. "I make sure I practice on high balls and catching balls at the highest point. Thankfully I came down with it."Others spoke their mind by tweeting.Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman tweeted "These games are a joke," while NBA MVP LeBron James tweeted "I simply just LOVE the NFL to much to see these mistakes. I'm sick like I just played for the Packers"Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach tweeted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's office phone number, saying in a separate tweet that if the ending Monday did not spark an end to the lockout "this season will be a joke."Notes: The eight sacks of Rodgers in the first half matches the most in his career for any game. He was sacked eight times by Minnesota in 2009. ... Seattle DE Chris Clemons tied an NFL record with four sacks in the first half. Derrick Thomas had four sacks in the first half against San Diego in 1992. ... Green Bay WR Greg Jennings finished with six catches after being a question mark coming into the game with a groin injury.

Quick Links

Best unrestricted free-agent forwards to help Wizards back up Markieff Morris

Best unrestricted free-agent forwards to help Wizards back up Markieff Morris

The Wizards are deep when it comes to forwards, with various players who have specific skill sets but missing others, and with so many moving parts, going into free agency it is difficult figuring out their needs.

So let's assume Markieff Morris remains as the starting power forward with Jason Smith remaining a backup and Otto Porter is retained as a restricted free agent with Kelly Oubre and Bojan Bogdanovic (restricted) as his backups.

Morris and Smith are capable three-point shooting bigs but neither is Kevin Love. Porter could get better and solidify his spot but needs to get stronger. Oubre is hot and cold and still hasn't developed a consistent long ball or right hand off the dribble. Bogdanovic cost the Wizards a No. 22 pick in the first round for this upcoming draft and is a solid three-point shooter with defensive liabilities.

What could the Wizards use at the three-spot? Nothing if Porter and Oubre make offseason progress. There can never been too much three-point shooting. A multi-dimensional forward who can play the power spot down low, defend and/or rebound would be good but that depends on what happens with the center position. 

The Wizards don't have a lot of cap room so whoever they bring in has to be relatively affordable and willing to accept a backup role. If they require starters' minutes or money, they're not viable option unless a major move happens via trade.  

5. Zach Randolph (Grizzlies): He made $10 million and mostly came off the bench for the first time in his career,  He still averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in less than 25 minutes per game. Randolph will be 36 this summer but can still get it done. Unable to get past the conference finals in the West, he can find a smoother path in the East. Salary will be the biggest hangup.

[RELATED: Top free agent shooting guards who could help Wizards, Beal]

4. Jonas Jerebko (Celtics): Only 3.8 points on a team loaded with role players/shooters but Jerebko has good size at 6-10 and shoots in the mid-30s from three-point range. Not great but respectable. Jerebko made $5 million so his salary range is in the wheelhouse. 

3. Donatas Motiejuans (Pelicans): Hasn't regained his footing since a botched trade from Houston to Detroit a year ago over medical concerns and has played just 71 games in the last two years. Motiejunas is 7 feet and can face up but he shoots less than 30% from three for his career. In his best NBA season 2014-15, he averaged 12 points and shot a career-high 37% from deep. He made $3.9 million and isn't going to command a big number in the open maket so he's in range. He'll be 27 next season so he's young, has size and can develop into a better shooter from three like Smith this year. But is the health worth the risk?

2. Patrick Patterson (Raptors): John Wall's teammate at Kentucky, Patterson averages 6.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and shot 37.2% from three. He's a finesse big and career role player off the bench who made $6 million. If Morris is the starter, a player with Patterson's ability is a good complement.

1. James Johnson (Heat): Had his best NBA season with 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists off the bench. Can handle the ball, run offense, defend his postion and shoot strong enough from three to play multiple spots on the floor that includes the five in a small lineup. Johnson is 30 and considered a small forward at 6-9. Was a matchup nightmare for the Wizards and made just $4 million. He might want to cash in to the highest bidder as he's unrestricted at the perfect time.

[RELATED: Top free agent point guards who could help Wizards, Wall]

Quick Links

After 4 teams in 5 seasons, D.J. Swearinger knows what it takes to make the Redskins home

After 4 teams in 5 seasons, D.J. Swearinger knows what it takes to make the Redskins home

It's never been a talent issue for D.J. Swearinger. In college he made big plays and earned all conference honors playing in the SEC at South Carolina. He was drafted high by Houston, second round in 2013, and started 10 games his rookie season. 

In his first two seasons with the Texans, Swearinger started 22 games and proved to be a playmaker. He logged three interceptions and more than 100 tackles. He looked like a possible long-term answer at safety, until he was uncermoniously cut after his second year.

Reports showed Swearinger bucked at playing special teams. And over time, a reputation as a big - sometimes dirty - hitter emerged. 

None of it helped Swearinger, who was signed by Tampa in 2015. He played seven games for the Bucs but was cut mid-season. Arizona signed him late in the 2015 season, and kept him for 2016.

Last year, playing on a defense with strong leaders like Calais Campbell and Patrick Peterson, Swearinger excelled. He played all over the Cardinals secondary, starting 12 games and making plays like he did early in his career in Houston.

He finished the 2016 season with three interceptions, two sacks and eight passes defensed. He made more than 50 tackles. Pro Football Focus rated Swearinger with a +15.3 grade, by far the highest of his career and good for the 8th best rating of any safety in the NFL.

The Redskins haven't had solid safety play in years. In 2016, the team tried to address the position on the cheap, converting cornerbacks to safeties and signing low tier free agents. It didn't work.

So, finally, in 2017 the Redskins front office addressed the safety position by signing Swearinger to a three-year deal. And it sounds like the 25-year-old has grown up a lot after five years of bouncing around the league.

"I've been on a lot of teams. I want to make this home," Swearinger said (full video above). "I feel like I’m experienced enough to know what to do as a pro, know what to do to stay on top of things and be a pro. As long as I be a pro every day and make the plays I’m capable of, I’ll be a Redskin."

Swearinger's deal will keep him with the Redskins through the 2019 season, but already, head coach Jay Gruden seems excited about the new safety. Earlier this offseason, Gruden said watching film of Swearinger revealed a player hitting the highest levels of safety play in the NFL. In OTAs, seeing Swearinger in person, Gruden was impressed.

"Watching him the first two days really excites me. He just looks like a safety back there," Gruden said. "No offense to the previous safeties we’ve had before, but I just think D.J. is to a level in his career right now where he’s got a lot of confidence. He has got a lot of talent."

There was some question if Swearinger can play the free safety role in Washington. More to the point, if he has the speed to play a true center field, with second-year man Su'a Cravens moving from linebacker to strong safety. Swearinger has zero concerns.

"I'm a free safety, I think that fits my body well," he said. "As a free safety you got to have the confidence in yourself that you can run with those guys and make plays on those guys."

Swearinger doesn't lack for confidence, and he shouldn't. Combined with Cravens, along with Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland at cornerback, the Redskins secondary could be a strength in 2017.

"We have a lot of talent. If we work day in and day out, I think this group can be one of the best," Swearinger said. "We just got to keep working, keep gelling to get everybody on the same page, the sky’s the limit."

It's normal for players to be excited in May. There supposed to be. 

Coaches, however, tend to be more hesitant with praise. Not optimism, but actual praise, though when it comes to Swearinger, Gruden isn't shy about his expectations.

"We know that he’s a physical guy, but as far as coverages and breaking up things, he’s got a lot of confidence and I think he’s going to really, really emerge as a top safety not only for this team but in this league," the coach said of his new free safety.

It's been a long journey for Swearinger, four teams in five season. He's hoping this one sticks. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back