We wish a happy birthday today first to an unlikely passing pair! Punter Jon Ryan and tackle Garry Gilliam connected for Seattle's first touchdown during January's NFC Championship game against Green Bay. This fake field goal signified a turning point in the game and paved Seattle's road to Super Bowl XLIX.
In case you don't remember, it came on a fourth-down play in the game's third quarter as Seattle's special teams unit lined up for what would have been a 38-yard field goal try from kicker Steven Hauschka. However, Ryan kept the snap as Hauschka followed through with his leg. Ryan raced to his left and when Packers defender A.J. Hawk collapsed on him, the Seattle punter lobbed the ball to Gilliam, who had lined up as an eligible receiver and was left all alone in the end zone.
Both born on November 26, Gilliam and Ryan were both destined for greatness. Ryan's pass was not only the first by a punter in an NFL playoff game, but the first time he had thrown for a score since his time at the University of Regina. It was also Gilliam's first professional reception and first professional touchdown.
These are not the only two Seahawks birthdays today. Also celebrating is Gilliam's position group leader, offensive line coach Tom Cable! Though he had nothing to do with the spectacular fake field goal play, he's had everything to do with restructuring the offensive line that now features none other than Garry Gilliam.
Jon Ryan is 34, Garry Gilliam is 25, and Tom Cable is 52.
Happy birthday to assistant head coach Tom Cable, who gets to celebrate on a thankful day full of football and hopefully family and good food.
Happy birthday to the offensive lineman who made a game-changing touchdown catch at last season's NFC Championship as a rookie, Garry Gilliam!
Happy birthday to the punter who threw a game-changing touchdown pass during the NFC Championship last season, the one and only Jon Ryan!