SEATTLE – With one big punch, Kam Chancellor showed his importance to the Seattle Seahawks.
And once again, the Seahawks might have received another Monday night break from the officials in the same end zone where the infamous "Fail Mary" took place.
Chancellor knocked the ball free from Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson at the 1-yard line when it appeared the Lions were going to take the lead, and Seattle held on for a 13-10 victory.
With Detroit on the verge of capping a 91-yard drive with the go-ahead touchdown with less than 2 minutes remaining, Chancellor came from the side and punched the ball from Johnson's arm as he was being tackled by Earl Thomas. It bounded into the end zone where it was batted over the back line by K.J. Wright for a touchback and Seattle's ball at the 20.
Wright should have been called for an illegal bat for hitting the ball out of the end zone, NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino told NFL Network. The penalty would have given the ball back to Detroit at the Seattle 1.
But no flags were thrown and on the ensuing possession, Russell Wilson found Jermaine Kearse for 50 yards on third down. With Detroit out of timeouts, the Seahawks (2-2) ran off the final seconds of their second consecutive victory.
"The back judge was on the play and in his judgment he didn't feel it was an overt act so he didn't throw the flag," Blandino said. "In looking at the replays it looked like a bat so the enforcement would be basically we would go back to the spot of the fumble and Detroit would keep the football."
Wright said he did not know the rule and Seattle coach Pete Carroll acknowledged the Seahawks got a break.
"Now that you look at it, we were fortunate," Carroll said.
Detroit (0-4) is off to its worst start since it also started 0-4 in 2010 on its way to a 6-10 season, and with a schedule that offers little relief going forward.
"It's unfortunate, but you can't put the game in the referee's hands," Johnson said.