For once, the Seattle Seahawks had time to spare.
After four consecutive games decided on the final play, the Seahawks stopped the Green Bay Packers with one minute left to escape with a 20-14 victory Sunday.
“It’s kind of tough, but I’ll take those (wins),” Seattle Coach Chuck Knox said after the Seahawks (7-6) won for the fourth time in five weeks to strengthen their playoff chances.
The Packers (6-7) trailed, 20-0, but rallied for two touchdowns in the final quarter behind third-string quarterback Blair Kiel, who hadn’t thrown a pass in an NFL game since 1987.
When Seattle’s Nesby Glasgow fumbled away a kickoff to Green Bay’s Herman Fontenot, Kiel moved Green Bay to the Seahawks’ 12 with two minutes left.
Kiel, playing his first game since Nov. 13, 1988, threw two incompletions, was stopped after a four-yard gain on a quarterback draw and threw incomplete again on fourth down.
“The first three quarters our defense played well and then Blair came in and sparked the team,” Seattle linebacker Dave Ahrens said. “The receivers got open and he got the ball to them. It’s hard to defend when you have guys wide open like that.”
Green Bay was held to a club-record-low 13 yards rushing in a club-record-low 10 carries. Trailing, 17-0, at the half, the Packers were forced to pass.
Kiel, who replaced struggling Anthony Dilweg late in the third quarter, hit Perry Kemp for a 13-yard touchdown pass play with 5:35 left and connected with Ed West on a one-yard scoring pass two minutes later after Green Bay’s Bryce Paup recovered an onside kick.
Kiel, who completed 23 of 31 passes for 198 yards, connected on passes to Jackie Harris and Michael Haddix to get the Packers close the last time before losing his touch, missing Jeff Query in the end zone on fourth down.
“I was in a no-lose situation with nothing to lose and everything to gain,” said Kiel, who often has been inactive for Packers games the last two seasons behind Dilweg and Don Majkowski. “I’ll probably dream about that last play. It was there, I think. When I look at the film, I’ll probably puke.”
Kiel was in uniform against Seattle to back up Dilweg with Majkowski unable to play because of a shoulder injury.
Seattle dominated the first half when it held the Packers without a rushing yard and outgained Green Bay, 198-65, in total yards.
“We knew it was time to suck it up if we wanted to win,” Seattle defensive end Jeff Bryant said of the finish. “We had control of the game early and it just wouldn’t have seemed right to let it go at that point. We needed the game as bad as they did and the momentum was shifting their way.”
Dilweg threw 10 consecutive incompletions during one stretch and connected on only six of 20 passes for 69 yards in the first half.
When Dilweg missed his first two passes in the third quarter, the crowd began to chant for Kiel.
The Seahawks built their 17-0 lead in the first half on Dave Krieg’s eight-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Chadwick, Derrick Fenner’s 14-yard scoring run and a 37-yard field goal by Norm Johnson.
Krieg completed 11 of 18 passes for 133 yards and set up Fenner’s touchdown on a 43-yard pass play to Chadwick.
Fenner rushed for 112 yards in 20 carries.
Johnson made it 20-0 with a 22-yard field goal in the third quarter before the Packers turned to Kiel.