Seahawks know they got away with one on critical fumble

How should Lions react to Blandino's statement? (1:05)

Scott Van Pelt and Louis Riddick react to NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino's statement that the referees incorrectly handled the K.J. Wright batted ball that gave the Seahawks a touchback. (1:05)

SEATTLE -- Initially, Kam Chancellor offered a good description of what he saw after punching the ball loose from Calvin Johnson late in the fourth quarter.

"I was just waiting for it to roll out," he said following the Seattle Seahawks' 13-10 win Monday over the Detroit Lions. "It took forever. It rolled for a long time. I knew it was going to go out."

Apparently, Chancellor somehow missed Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright's illegally batting the ball out of the back of the end zone.

"I didn't see what happened," Chancellor continued. "I don't know anything about the rule. I didn't see what happened. I saw it roll, and I turned around, and I saw it going to the sideline."

Quarterback Russell Wilson apparently took his eyes off the biggest play of the game as well.

"Honestly, I didn't even see that part, so I don't know much about it," he said.

The truth is it was a brilliant play by Chancellor -- the kind of play that makes him irreplaceable in this defense. With 1:51 left, Matthew Stafford found Johnson for a 10-yard completion. Johnson lunged toward the goal line, but Chancellor punched the ball out, and it started to roll back. Instead of trying to possess the ball, Wright swatted it out of the back of the end zone.

The question was whether Wright's action was intentional. According to NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino, the back judge felt it was inadvertent. To his credit, Wright admitted he batted the ball on purpose.

"You can't hit it backward, and you can't intentionally, I guess, knock it out," Wright said after the game. "But at the time, I wasn't thinking that. I was just trying to not mess up the game. So I know now.

"I wanted to just knock it out of bounds and not try to catch it and fumble it. I was just trying to make a good play for my team."

Had the officials ruled correctly and given the Lions the ball back, the game could have ended in a number of ways. Maybe the Seahawks would have forced a field goal and won in overtime. Maybe the Lions would have scored a touchdown to complete an improbable comeback and earn their first win of the year.

What-if scenarios exist in every NFL game, but this one is more credible than most. Playing at home against a winless opponent, the Seahawks nearly blew a 13-3 lead in the final 8:42. The offensive line was a disaster, giving up six sacks and many more pressures. Russell Wilson was forced to escape defenders all game and fumbled twice, one of which led to a Lions defensive touchdown.

Although the defense looked great for most of the night, it allowed the Lions to go 90 yards with the game on the line before Chancellor saved the day.

When you're on the right side of a botched call, it's easy to say the breaks will even out and one play didn't determine the result. But for the Seahawks, it's worth acknowledging they could easily be staring 1-3 in the face with a trip to Cincinnati looming.

"Now that you look at it, we're fortunate on that one," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "The game wasn't over. It didn't mean the game was over. We just might have had to keep playing."

Carroll will review the film and begin preparing for the Bengals on a short week. He and his players know they got a little help on their way to 2-2.