NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND
Packers, Colts stand tall
Published: Monday, January 5, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 5, 2004 at 1:44 a.m.
Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck called heads on the overtime coin toss and he was right. When the referee asked him what the Seahawks would do, Hasselbeck was half right.
``We want the ball, and we're going to score,'' he said.
Later facing third-and-11 at his 46 and reading an all-out blitz, he called an audible and threw for Alex Bannister near Seattle's sideline.
Green Bay's Al Harris stepped in front of the ball and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown and a 33-27 wild card victory to the delight of the Lambeau Field faithful.
Brett Favre will lead the rejuvenated Packers (11-6) on Sunday to Philadelphia, where Donovan McNabb has carried the Eagles to the NFC's best record (12-4).
The Seahawks go home at 10-7, having collected all their losses on the road.
The outcome of the afternoon's later contest was nowhere as close. Peyton Manning, the league's regular season co-MVP, threw five touchdowns in helping Indianapolis (13-4) scorch Denver (10-7) in a 41-10 decision.
A defining moment of the Broncos' ineptness started near the end of the first quarter when Colts receiver Marvin Harrison caught a third-and-8 pass on a post pattern for 16 yards, leaping and falling to the ground.
Three Broncos - cornerback Kelly Herndon, safety Kenoy Kennedy and linebacker Al Wilson - stood circling Harrison in disgust over the completion, but none bothered to touch Harrison while he was on the ground to ensure the play was over. So Harrison got up and ran the final 30 yards into the end zone. It put the Colts up 14-3, and the Broncos never recovered.
It was Manning's first playoff win after three failed attempts.
``I was just glad to have another playoff opportunity, that we weren't an 8-8 team and I was sitting at home,'' Manning said. ``The 0-3 thing in the playoffs was just a fact. I didn't run and hide from it''
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