If only Mike Tice could have been here. Surely the Vikings' coach and Long Island lugnut would have pulled that pencil from behind his ear and scribbled something. Maybe another wide-receiver option...

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — If only Mike Tice could have been here.

Surely the Vikings’ coach and Long Island lugnut would have pulled that pencil from behind his ear and scribbled something. Maybe another wide-receiver option into triple coverage or perhaps a hook-and-ladder on a fourth-and-20.

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But the Seahawks can’t count on the coach on the other sideline doing something dumb every week. Ultimately they have to rely on their own resilience and trust that the men paid handsomely to officiate the games will get the calls right. Neither is providing much of a comfort these days.

Mike Holmgren, the coach who reinvented instant replay, had another Oppenheimer moment yesterday as his team visited an old haunt: the west end zone of Giants Stadium. This was the same place where six years ago, then-Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde tried to lunge through a Cortez Kennedy tackle only to fall inches from the goal line on the game’s final play. As the Seattle players celebrated their certain victory, they failed to notice the official throwing his hands in the air. Touchdown.

And it took the playoffs away.

This time it was Jets running back Curtis Martin who didn’t break the west goal line on a third-down run in the second quarter.

“He was this far away,” Seattle linebacker Tracy White said, spreading his arms several inches apart. Replays showed White was right, even though referee Scott Green later said he saw nothing in the little box to overrule his call.

This time it was also Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and running back Shaun Alexander who looked like they might have ducked into the same end zone on successive plays from the 1-yard line in the third quarter. Neither run was called a score. Neither was reviewed.

“(Replay) has not been a good thing for the Seahawks,” Holmgren said wearily.

Who knows where they would be had both plays been called right yesterday. It could have been a 14-point swing and might have put Seattle a touchdown behind at the start of the fourth quarter. Or who knows where they would be had the replay officials looked at Keyshawn Johnson’s foot dragging out of bounds during the Monday night loss to Dallas.

Then again, had Vikings tight end Jermaine Wiggins not dropped the ball in the end zone on the last play last week, who could be sure the officials would have reviewed the play and realized the knee of quarterback Daunte Culpepper had touched the ground.

Would they have won? Would they have lost?

“When you have a name like ‘the Seahawks,’ it’s built over time that you don’t get the calls,” Alexander said. “When you are a team (that hasn’t accomplished much), you have to reach and (make) a name. The Rams did it. They said, ‘Here, you are going to have to take us as a big name.’ New England did the same thing by winning their Super Bowls. They went and grabbed the name.”

Fourteen games into the season that was heavy with Super Bowl talk, this is still a team that hasn’t proven it can go anywhere past the second week in January. Teams who win divisions with 8-8 records should expect to play road games in the postseason. And yesterday was about the closest thing to a playoff road game as the Seahawks can invent right now.

Only the 10-4 Jets made the 7-7 Seahawks look about as ready for a big playoff game as the Rutherford Boys Choir, rolling up 482 yards of offense and converting 79 percent of third-down attempts. In fact, New York never punted. This is not the kind of moxie you want to see from your playoff-bound football team.

Still, the Seahawks lead the NFC West and, if they stay there, would host a first-round game. But what good is letting poor old Mike Tice mastermind another fourth-quarter giveaway only to walk into a place like this and feel like you got hit by a steamroller?

You would think Seahawks defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes would have something to say about his players, who flailed and grabbed and rarely touched anything resembling a Jet. But characteristically he said nothing, leaving Holmgren to explain the debacle.

“I would like to sugarcoat it, but let’s just say they took it to us pretty good,” Holmgren moaned.

Indeed they did. Now the playoffs loom ahead.

And upon further review that might not be such a good thing.

Les Carpenter can be reached at 206-464-2280 or lcarpenter@seattletimes.com.