Cornerback Terrance Shaw had it. No, wide receiver Joey Galloway had it.
"I don't care if we stole it or they gave it to us, we won," said Galloway, who scored first-half touchdowns on an 81-yard reception and a 74-yard punt return.
Galloway's catch helped negate rookie Ryan Leaf's finest day as a pro. He completed 25 of 52 passes for 281 yards, threw his first TD pass since the season opener and had no turnovers for the second consecutive game. He also moved the Chargers to Seahawks' 3 in the final seconds before throwing three consecutive incomplete passes into the end zone.
The key play came with the Seahawks leading 20-17 and with a first-and-10 on the Chargers' 43. John Friesz, starting because Warren Moon has a cracked rib, threw a long pass that Galloway and Shaw both came down with.
"When I saw the ball I couldn't see him (Shaw)," Galloway said. "He came into the picture and it was just a wrestling match for it."
| The Chargers had no answer for Joey Galloway. (AP) |
Several Chargers argued with the officials, and Shaw was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and ejected. That moved the ball to the 1.
"The simultaneous catch rule states that when the offensive player and the defensive player both come down with the ball that the ball belongs to the offensive team," Nemmers said.
"I was just just trying to cover it up so the officials couldn't really see how much he had and how much I had because I knew he had a little more than I did," Galloway said.
As the Seahawks lined up at the 1 to run the next play, fans threw trash on the field. Friesz's sneak failed, then Ricky Watters went over the top for the score.
Shaw refused to meet with reporters.
"We don't agree with it (the call) at all," safety Rodney Harrison said. "It had a big impact on the game. It was definitely an interception, in my opinion."
Interim coach June Jones said he thought Shaw caught the ball. "But you know, that's the way the NFL is. The official who made the call was on his back in the end zone. That's all I have to say about that."
The Seahawks (4-3), coming off their bye week, snapped a three-game losing streak. The Chargers (3-5) scored two touchdowns for the first time this season.
After Watters' TD, San Diego cut the lead on John Carney's 45-yard field goal, and Leaf came up just short of forcing overtime.
Leaf kept San Diego's final drive alive with a fourth-down completion to Bryan Still, then threw passes of 23 and 18 yards to Charlie Jones and an 11-yarder to Mikhael Ricks to get the Chargers to the 3. Two passes to Ricks and one to Jones went incomplete and the Chargers failed to force overtime.
"It's a tough way to end a game, to go all the way down the field like that," said Leaf, who sustained bruised ribs when he was sacked on San Diego's first play from scrimmage.
On the third play of Seattle's second possession, Galloway caught Friesz's long pass at the 50. Shaw missed a tackle at the 40, safety Greg Jackson dove and missed at the 24 and Galloway slowed at the 15, sauntering the rest of the way and doing a 360-degree turn for effect.
After the teams traded field goals, Galloway ran 74 yards untouched on a punt return for a 17-3 lead.
Leaf threw a 5-yard fade pass to fellow rookie Ricks, who won a mismatch against cornerback Shawn Springs, to cut the Seattle lead to 17-10 with 33 seconds left before halftime. It was Leaf's first TD pass since the third quarter of the opener, a span of 24 quarters in which Leaf had played. He missed the fourth quarter of two games after being benched.
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