Linebacker Bobby Wagner blocked Dan Bailey’s attempt by jumping over the line of scrimmage and getting his hands on the kick. It seemed like the officials would call back the block, because Wagner illegally used his teammates to vault himself over the offensive and defensive line in order to get into the backfield for the block. The play has to be a clean hurdle, according to the league’s leverage rule.
The officials picked up their flag, and called no penalty, even though their first inclination was correct. Wagner absolutely propelled himself off his teammates, which is illegal. Here’s an explanation from the ESPN rules analyst Jeff Triplette during the broadcast (at about 1:15 in video below).
The block provided an enormous shift of momentum. After scoring just six points in the first 57 minutes, the Seahawks scored 15 points over the final three minutes, and finished with a 21-7 win. After the block, the Seahawks got a touchdown from running back Chris Carson, then they converted a 2-point conversion from Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett. When the Vikings got the ball back, Kirk Cousins fumbled the ball on Minnesota’s second play of the drive, and the Seahawks recovered it for a touchdown.
It’s easy to wonder whether the game might have taken a different turn if the officials had correctly called the penalty, which would have given the Vikings a first down in the red zone, while trailing just 6-0.