GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Al Harris never got a chance for a
Lambeau Leap. By the time he thought about it, he was buried under
an avalanche of teammates.
His long dreadlocks flapping outside his helmet in the frigid
wind, Harris streamed down the sideline with a 52-yard interception
return in overtime. That touchdown lifted the Green Bay Packers
past the Seattle Seahawks 33-27 Sunday in a first-round NFC playoff
The cornerback picked off Matt Hasselbeck's throw and headed to
the end zone -- directly past former Packers coach Mike Holmgren.
Only Hasselbeck had a chance to tackle Harris, but he couldn't get
there. Harris scored the first defensive touchdown to win an
overtime playoff game in NFL history.
Harris' interception was the only turnover in the game.
"I was just praying that he did throw the ball," Harris said,
"because I was going to gamble on that play."
Once he got to the end zone, his teammates tackled him, setting
off a wild celebration, including Harris slapping hands with fans
in the stands on a 100-yard victory lap.
His heroics sent the Packers (11-6) to Philadelphia next Sunday,
while the Seahawks (10-7) go home knowing they let a prime
opportunity slip away.
"I'm dying inside," Holmgren said. "It hurts bad to lose this
Seattle won the coin toss, and Hasselbeck told the official,
"We want the ball, and we're going to score."
The Seahawks got the ball, but punted. After Seattle got the
ball back, it was Harris, a six-year veteran in his first season
with the Packers, who scored.
"I anticipated it," Harris said, "and I know the quarterback
ain't going to catch me."
That quarterback, Hasselbeck, had a pretty good day, throwing
for 305 yards. He also made the one critical mistake after
recognizing a Packers blitz.
"What hurts about it is I had the ball in my hand," a
stonefaced Hasselbeck said. "I could have done something
different, and we don't lose the game. I could have thrown the ball
away. I could have seen him."
Favre, as usual, thrived in the cold: 20 degrees, with a wind
chill of 7.
He set a record by throwing for a touchdown in a 14th straight
playoff game and rallied the Packers to a 27-20 lead. Then
Hasselbeck, once Favre's backup in Green Bay, guided a 67-yard
drive to tie it.
But the Packers gutted out the victory one year after losing a
home playoff game for the first time ever, to Atlanta.
"I'm not surprised by anything," Favre said. "And if you're
around long enough, you lose games that you're supposed to win and
you win games that you're supposed to lose."
Early on, the Seahawks -- 35-13 losers here in October -- shut
down Ahman Green, who rushed for 1,883 yards this season. But he
came on late, particularly on short-yardage plays.
After falling behind 20-13, Green Bay covered 60 yards in 12
plays. Green converted a fourth-and-1 from the 3 before surging
into the end zone to tie it with 10:01 left.
Green later converted another fourth-and-1 at the Seattle 42,
although he appeared to fumble. Holmgren vehemently argued he could
challenge, but referee Bernie Kukar said no.
"Yeah, he fumbled the ball," insisted Holmgren, a former
chairman of the league's competition committee. "They said no, the
play was over."
Eight plays later, Green scored for the lead.
But Hasselbeck brilliantly guided Seattle to the tying
touchdown, hitting Bobby Engram on a 34-yard play before Alexander
Early in overtime, replay helped the Seahawks when Alex Bannister was ruled to have fumbled. But a video review overturned
the call, to cascading boos.
The game was even on key calls -- and in just about every other
Josh Brown's 30-yard field goal on Seattle's opening drive was
matched by Longwell's 31-yarder in the second quarter.
On the next series, Hasselbeck tried to stop his passing motion
and lost the ball at the Green Bay 17. Nick Barnett retrieved it
and ran for a touchdown, but Holmgren challenged the call and won.
Brown's 35-yard field goal made it 6-3.
Javon Walker's 44-yard reception led to Favre's playoff TD
record. His 23-yard laser found Bubba Franks at the goal line as
defender Damien Robinson fell down. Favre, who threw for 319 yards,
was tied with former Dolphins star Dan Marino for the record of 13
Longwell's 27-yarder made it 13-6 at halftime, but Seattle tied
it with a 75-yard drive to open the second half. Alexander ran in
from the 1 on fourth down after left guard Steve Hutchinson caught
a deflected pass on the previous play.
Alexander also put Seattle on top 20-13 with a 1-yard run in the
But Harris and the Packers had the final say.
Favre moved into third place in career playoff completions
(364) and touchdown passes (31), ahead of John Elway. ... Holmgren
is 1-2 against the Packers. ... Harris had three interceptions this
season, returning one for a 56-yard TD against Detroit.