There’s a reason for that. Mostly, it boils down to expectations. I EXPECTED the Seahawks to lose in a shutout to the Steelers in Pittsburgh. And I expected the Huskies to compete and possibly win this game in Nebraska. (full disclosure: the Steelers are also my defense in Fantasy, so I was actually pissed off they weren’t sacking Tarvar MORE, given our poor offensive line and the fact that I badly needed a win this week after blowing it in Week 1).
Generally, when I’m watching a football game and in that football game one of “my teams” is involved, I get fairly amped up. Moreso when it’s a game against an evenly-matched opponent (or a better opponent who I think we can beat regardless). Nebraska may have been the better team (they certainly have a better defense than us right now), but coming out of Saturday I can’t help but think we’re more evenly-matched than anyone thought before.
So, let’s just jump right in. I HATE to blame the refs for my team’s woes, I absolutely can’t stand being THAT guy. But, when you’re a fan of a Seattle-based team, it sometimes gets to be too much. This is an idea that deserves its own post (and will get one, in due time), but I just have to point out some of the egregiously bad showings by refs in Seattle games:
- Game 7 of the 1993 NBA Western Conference Finals vs. Phoenix
- Super Bowl XL vs. Pittsburgh
- December 6, 1998, Seahawks @ N.Y. Jets (Vinny Testaverde’s Phantom Touchdown; the singular cause of bringing back Instant Replay)
- November 23, 2003, Seahawks @ Baltimore (Ravens’ greatest comeback of all time, assisted greatly by them getting 4 time outs in the 4th quarter)
There are probably a number I’m overlooking, but those are four pretty obvious and retardedly bad performances by refs. And on Saturday, while it may not have been as important as some of these games I just listed, it was just as retardedly bad.
Let me state here: no team ever lost a game BECAUSE of penalties. Penalties don’t put points on the board for the other team. Penalties don’t muff kickoffs or drop a sure 3rd down conversion. Penalties can always be overcome. As long as teams are able to throw 99-yard touchdown passes, penalties can always be overcome.
That having been said, there’s such a thing as Momentum and I’ll argue that momentum in football is more important than it is in any other sport.
This was a tie game with less than two minutes left in the first half. The Huskies had the ball with a chance to re-take the lead in what was looking to be a back-and-forth battle to the bitter end. Unfortunately, the Huskies had to punt. The punt was good, the coverage was solid, a Nebraska player ran into the Nebraska punt returner, causing him to divert from making a fair catch, the ball hit his leg and the Huskies recovered, taking the ball into the endzone.
Granted, that touchdown wouldn’t have counted (which, really, is just a dumb rule in itself; if you muff a punt, that ball should be advanced if the kicking team recovers), but that not only would’ve put us in field goal range with two minutes to go until the half, but it would’ve swung momentum our way in a BIG way. If we score a touchdown there, we would’ve been up 24-17 AND we would’ve received the ball first after the half!
Instead, the Huskers drove down for a field goal and took a lead they would never relinquish. All because the refs were fucking blind and made a bad fucking call.
The second time they fucked up that call, early in the third quarter when we punted, they caught the ball, then an instant later Desmond Trufant tackled him in what should’ve been a pitch-perfect coverage hit, wasn’t nearly as detrimental to our overall momentum … but it was still a fucking outrage. I mean, BACK TO BACK, are you kidding? That ref seriously did look like he was 90 years old and had no business being on a football field.
Anyway, like I said, the refs didn’t cause Bishop Sankey to bobble a kickoff return on our own 1 yard line. The refs didn’t prevent him from collecting his bobble. The refs didn’t let Nebraska land on it. Nor, did the refs allow Nebraska to punch it in for a three-score lead.
But, you can’t tell that to a fan who has just witnessed two of the worst officiating blunders he’s seen all year. I’d like to guarantee they will continue to be the two worst officiating blunders we will see for the rest of the year, but these are refs we’re talking about. They’re fucking fuck-ups MOST of the time.
Honestly, I’m not as angry and bitter as I sound. Okay, maybe a little …
I say this after every game the refs fuck up: I wish I knew what would’ve happened had those calls gone correctly. Maybe Nebraska still would’ve won. But I have my doubts. How would their halftime have looked like if they were down 7 against the team that embarrassed them in the Holiday Bowl? Maybe their coach would’ve laid into them. Maybe they would’ve pressed too much in the second half, leading to bonehead mistakes that we could’ve taken advantage of. Football is, after all, like any other game: mostly mental. As such, the mental part of this game got into our heads. We fell apart after those calls went against us, and we didn’t recover until it was too late.
Still, you have to like how the Huskies played in the 4th quarter. Chris Polk finished with 130 yards and a touchdown. Keith Price finished with 4 TD passes on 274 yards passing. James Johnson & Jermaine Kearse both finished with 2 TDs each. 38 points against a team like Nebraska is pretty fucking impressive! 38 points is going to win you a lot of football games!
Of course, the defense needs to improve, but we say that every year around this time. Our front seven REALLY needs to step it up. Quarterbacks are getting too much time, linebackers are out of position, teams are running the ball with ease. It’s nice to know our offense can play with the big boys; now it’s time to see our defense show some semblance of the same.
I’ll close with this: someone explain to me why we CAN’T have refs review critical penalties. I want to know! Why are their yellow flags so fucking sacred? You can tell from the review booth whether a returner was interfered with, just as you can tell if a receiver was held, a lineman jumped offsides, or if a defensive end was leg-whipped causing him to dive at the quarterback’s knees (thereby resulting in a Roughing penalty and 15 yards against your defense). In college, they could be reviewed from above just like other plays are reviewed. In the pros, you could give a coach authority with his challenge flag. It’s time for this to happen. Until computers are officiating these things, we need to take away some of the power these refs have over these games.
WE’RE NOT HERE TO SEE YOU, REFS! GET THAT THROUGH YOUR FUCKING HEADS!