Flag Day

Posted Nov 4, 2012

This is the sixth of 10 articles chronicling the Top 10 moments in the first 10 seasons of CenturyLink Field: On a Sunday afternoon in November of 2005, the Giants were penalized 11 times for false starts in a game the Seahawks won 24-21 in overtime.

So this is how legends are born. Or born again, in the case of the 12th Man fans who not only follow but fortify the Seahawks.

On a Sunday afternoon in November of 2005 – the 27th, to be exact – the New York Giants were penalized 11 times for false starts at Qwest Field. You read that right, and remember it correctly. In one game, the Giants were flagged 11 times for false start penalties. Left tackle Luke Petitgout was guilty of five, with the last coming in overtime. Left guard David Diehl had three and cornerback Frank Walker had two – on back-to-back plays in the second quarter as the Giants were punting.

All with the crowd roaring its approval. All because the crowd really was that loud.

“I let the team down,” Petitgout sighed after the game. “I embarrassed my team and my family. Everybody. Ridiculous.”

Because it was so ridiculous – not to mention absurd and, yes, wildly entertaining – this game and all those false-start penalties check in at No. 5 in the Top 10 moments at Seahawks Stadium/Qwest Field/CenturyLink Field as the club celebrates its first 10 seasons at the state-of-the-art facility which opened in 2002.

But there was more to this afternoon and this game than the Giants jumping offside.

The Seahawks won as Josh Brown kicked a 36-yard field goal with two minutes, 45 seconds left in the overtime period. Just don’t ask then-coach Mike Holmgren what transpired on the play.

“He turned around, looked at me and said, ‘I can’t watch,’ ” said defensive back Jordan Babineaux, who was standing next to Holmgren on the sideline as Brown lined up for his fateful kick. “He turned around about the time the referee signaled and the crowd was going wild and I said, ‘You know what, coach? We won.’ ”

The Seahawks won a lot that season. This victory was No. 7 in what would become a franchise-record 11-game winning streak, which in turn produced a franchise-best 13-3 record in a season where the Seahawks would end up playing in the Super Bowl for the first time.

But this win was as wild as they come.

The Giants rolled up 490 yards in total offense, but Jay Feely missed three field goals – a 40-yarder that would have won the game at the end of regulation; a 54-yarder on the Giants’ first possession in overtime; and a 45-yarder on their final possession of the game, eight plays before Brown hit his game-winner.

Shaun Alexander scored his 20th touchdown of the season, making the eventual league MVP only the fourth player in NFL history to score at least 20 TDs in back-to-back seasons – along with Emmitt Smith (1994-95), Marshall Faulk (2000-01) and Priest Holmes (2002-03). He also finished with 110 rushing yards.

Joe Jurevicius caught eight passes for 137 yards, including touchdowns of 35 and 16 yards from Matt Hasselbeck.

Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu had a game-high 13 tackles, while the defense also got its hands on 10 of Eli Manning’s 53 passes – including an interception by safety Michael Boulware that he returned 40 yards to setup Hasselbeck’s second TD pass to Jurevicius.

And on the eight-play, 47-yard drive to Brown’s game-winner, Hasselbeck and wide receiver D.J. Hackett hooked up for a 38-yard completion and Alexander broke a 17-yard run.

But ask anyone who was there that day – or the growing number of 12th Man fans who will tell you they were there that day – and what they remember are those 11 false-start penalties, and the 16 flags that were thrown overall against the Giants for 114 wrong-way yards. Yes, they also were penalized for holding (four times) and pass interference.

It was, however, the Power of 12 to help induce 11 that still echoes in the stadium after all these seasons and all these games.

“This was a gut-wrenching way to lose a game,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.

It was a pretty strange way to win one, as well. “I think we’re still in shock a little bit,” Hasselbeck would say.

Imagine how Petitgout and the rest of the Giants felt.