First and 10, Broncos on the move on their own 37. Elway hits his tight end, Clarence Kay, on a little dumpoff pass over the middle. The ball bounces off Kay's chest, off his left thigh, and onto the ground. Green falls on it. The line judge, Alabama Glass, calls it a fumble. Seattle ball on the Denver 38. Kay's back was to the official. It would have been almost impossible for Glass to judge possession, or lack of same, but it was a bang-bang call. He made the wrong one, and no one offered him any help.
"There's no way Glass can make that call," coach Reeves said. "There has to be some other official to help him, and there wasn't. There's no way he could see whether Kay had possession or not."
"The ball went through my arms," Kay said. "The referee across the field saw it clearly, and he should have called it incomplete, but he didn't say anything. Hey, if I thought it was a fumble, I'd have gone for it."
Glass told the press box pool reporter, "I was behind the play, looking in at an angle, so therefore I saw the man have the ball in his hands [not true...it was never in his hands], the foot down, the second foot clearly down, and then the ball come loose."
How could he have seen it if he was behind the play? And did he ask for help?
"I looked at the umpire, yes," Glass said. "He agreed with me."
The Seahawks turned the fumble into a field goal, and now the Broncos were down by 10, but they put together a drive and scored with 4:32 showing. Then Knox did something he never would have done in the old days. He called on Krieg to throw four straight times, two of them bombs that fell incomplete. He didn't try to work the clock.
"These aren't the old days," Knox said. "You have to keep moving the ball, especially when the other side has a guy who can bring it like Elway."
The Broncos got the ball back on their own 21 with 2:51 left, and two minutes and 12 seconds later they were on the Seattle eight, lining up for the field goal that could tie it. The dream ended when Karlis's kick hit the upright.
"We work so hard to stay in the game, then certain parts break down," Karlis said. "Like my field goal. I feel bad."