Miami got the opening kickoff, and Ted Ginn cut left. We were in the endzone, and I snapped this pic as Ginn got the kick.
As he cuts, I see 53 grab a jersey, and pull it. I look at the ref and start thinking "don't call it. don't call it." And out comes the flag. Ginn naturally makes it all the way to the endzone, only to have it called back - on a penalty I saw happen.
Miami goes on to score on a little razzle-dazzle a few plays later and goes up 7-0.
Then, Ricky gets a handoff out of the wildcat and Miami goes up 14-0. This is what that looked like to me.
Miami was cruising.
But....then Pennington made a crucial mistake. He threw a weak pass into coverage, and 30 yards later, Seattle had a TD to close the gap to 7, and make the game interesting.
Now, in truth, Miami never trailed, and was only in danger of losing kind of late in the game. Miami led 14-13 as the 4th quarter started. I turned to one of the guys and said "its time for a long scoring drive." And sure enough Miami charged down the field on a nearly 8-minute drive culminating in a Ronnie Brown TD to make it 21-13.
Seattle got the ball back - after a poor special teams play - at around mid-field. With just over two minutes remaining, they scored to make it 21-19 on a short pass that was just a few yards from me.
Then comes the try for 2 to tie the game. Bell swats it down, and Miami gets the ball back.
On 3rd and about 3, Pennington tucks the ball on a designed draw, and starts toward the line. He gets stopped by the defense, and the ball comes out. Seattle's ball. Oh crap.
Out comes the flag that Sparano had in his shoe.
There was 2:01 showing on the clock, so its just the right time to throw that flag.
After review, Miami held the ball, but its 4th and 3, and Miami has to punt. A decent return puts the ball out somewhere near the 35. I'm looking at the clock and wondering what might happen.
I suddenly started wishing it was earlier in the season. Why? Because the baseball infield would still be on the end of the field the Seahawks were driving toward. And Olindo Mare - Miami's most accurate kicker of all time - is now in Seattle. He *always* had trouble with the dirt infield. That could be a game changer.
But, as it turned out, there was no need. Miami held them off, and was able to run out the clock. Whew!
Sometimes you have to win ugly games. This was one of 'em.
Incidentally, one of the guys in my group was in the tunnel at halftime as the players and refs came in. He yelled to the ref something about it not being a block in the back. The ref came over to him and said "which one? The one on the punt?" He said "yeah." And the ref replied "Well, that's the way it was called." And walks off. Gotta love it.