NFL backs replacement refs' TD call
NEW YORK, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The NFL said Tuesday replacement referees missed a pass interference but made the right call on a last-second touchdown in Seattle's 14-12 win over Green Bay.
Game officials -- working in place of union officials locked out by the league -- ruled Golden Tate made the catch in the Monday night game on a 24-yard pass in the end zone from quarterback Russell Wilson. The ruling came only after some on-field confusion.
One official ruled it a touchdown on simultaneous possession while another appeared set to call it an interception and a touchback. The referee went directly to video review without consulting the two officials.
In a statement Tuesday, the NFL said officials missed a pass interference call on Tate, which would have resulted in a Packers' victory, but the league said when Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings "hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball."
"Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player. The result of the play was a touchdown."
The league statement said video review of a simultaneous catch in the end zone is permitted under NFL rules, while such a call in the field of play is not reviewable.
"The result of the game is final."
The Seahawks-Packers game featured numerous calls that drew scrutiny from the broadcast booth during ESPN's telecast and the controversial call at the end prompted many NFL players to vent frustration that has grown during the lockout.
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson tweeted: "Com'on can we please get the real refs back. Destroying the game that we all grew to love. WOW!!!!!!"
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees tweeted: "I love this league and love the game of football, but tonight's debacle hurts me greatly. This is NOT the league we're supposed to represent."
Broncos' Mays suspended for hit on Schaub
ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The NFL has suspended Denver Broncos linebacker Joe Mays for one game and fined him $50,000 for an illegal hit against a defenseless player, the league said.
Mays hit Houston Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub helmet-on-helmet Sunday after Schaub had already gotten rid of the ball during the third quarter of Denver's 31-25 loss to Houston. The hit knocked the helmet off of Schaub's head and sent the quarterback to the sideline for treatment of a bloody ear injury.
The punishment announced Tuesday followed a relatively lighter penalty against Mays -- a $7,875 fine -- for a hit on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan that was not penalized during the game the previous week.
Mays -- who has 10 tackles and one-half sack in three games this season, his fifth in the NFL -- drew a roughing the passer penalty for the hit on Schaub. He will appeal the suspension and fine, The Denver Post reported.
Mays has apologized twice to Schaub, and insists he did not intentionally injure the quarterback, the newspaper said.
Notre Dame to end Michigan football series
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Michigan officials Tuesday said they were informed by Notre Dame that the Fighting Irish will no longer play Michigan in football after 2014.
The teams have played 40 times, including last Saturday when Notre Dame beat the Wolverines 13-6, and had five games left on their agreement. Michigan leads the series 23-16-1.
Notre Dame said it won't schedule Michigan for football after a game next season in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a 2014 contest in South Bend, Ind. Games scheduled for 2015, '16 and '17 were called off.
"The decision to cancel games in 2015-17 was Notre Dame's and not ours," Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon said Tuesday. "We value our annual rivalry with Notre Dame but will have to see what the future holds for any continuation of the series.
"This cancellation presents new scheduling opportunities for our program and provides a chance to create some new rivalries."
The decision by Notre Dame could be related to its upcoming move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. While the football team will remain an independent, the Fighting Irish must schedule at least five ACC teams each season. That limits the number of other matchups possible.
Benneteau among winners in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Seventh-seeded Julien Benneteau came away a straight-set winner in first-round play Tuesday of the Malaysian Open tennis tournament.
Benneteau defeated Carlos Berlocq 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 with a pair of breaks in each set. However, he also dropped serve twice in the first set and had to survive a tiebreaker.
Still, he won two-thirds of the points on serve in the match and lost only five points in four second-set service games.
Matthew Ebden advanced with a 6-0, 7-6 (7-3) decision over Philip Davydenko. Ebden dominated the first set, losing three points while serving and 10 points overall.
In the only other main-draw match on Tuesday's schedule saw Albert Ramos beat Julian Knowle 6-1, 6-4. Ramos had 14 aces in winning three-quarters of the points on serve.