I’m incomprehensibly sports depressed right now. It’s a lot like being regular depressed, only I know it’s only temporary.
If I could bottle that first half, I would immediately lock it away in a safe, wrap it in chains, dunk it in a vat of cement, let that cement harden, encase it in solid steel, ship it out to the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean, and drop it in so we’ll never have to see that first half ever again. That first half was as bad as it gets. The only good thing the Seahawks managed to do was force Matt Ryan into an interception, which was promptly returned to them thanks to Lynch’s fumble. Again. I love the guy, but you can’t fucking DO that!
That fumble changed the whole complexion of the game. The Falcons started off hot, but we held them to a field goal. The Seahawks promptly turned around and blundered their way to a 3 & Out. Three plays later, the defense stepped up and picked it off. Right there, the game is 3-0, but the momentum is going the Seahawks’ way. Then, three more plays later, on a nifty little 11-yard run that took us to Atlanta’s 39 yard line, Lynch coughs it up. You’ve got to be aware of your surroundings! You’re in the middle of the field, you’ve broken a run out into the open, but there’s OBVIOUSLY going to be defenders coming from all angles! You protect that ball like your life depends on it!
I can’t sit here and guarantee the Seahawks would’ve scored a touchdown on that drive, but I can’t negate it either. A potential Seahawks touchdown and a 7-3 lead was turned into an Atlanta touchdown and a 10-0 deficit less than 3 minutes later.
Now, you’re down two scores. It’s still the first quarter, so it’s not do-or-die quite yet, but still. You can’t keep going down multiple scores on the road in the playoffs and expect to come out of it unscathed! That fumble set the tone for the rest of the first half. After Atlanta scored, Seattle came right back, got into Atlanta territory, but ultimately faltered and had to punt. A long 45-yard run by Atlanta put them right back in the driver’s seat to end the quarter. What was a team pinned near its goalline was now in Seattle territory.
Of course, that drive ended in another field goal, so good on the defense for holding strong when it mattered most. But, the drive also killed another six and a half minutes of clock, which obviously hurt quite a bit.
For the third consecutive drive, Seattle made it back to the Falcons side of the field. This time, going all the way to the Atlanta 11 yard line. The 3rd & 1 play was stuffed, as was the 4th & 1 play. Couple things:
- Why no Lynch? Just because a running back is known as a “third down back” doesn’t mean you ALWAYS have to use him on third down! I like Turbin as much as the next guy, but these are the fucking playoffs. You play your best players in the playoffs, no matter the down.
- Why the fullback dive on 4th & 1? This time, Lynch was in the game, but instead of flipping it out to him for an easy first down (and maybe touchdown), the call was to hand off to Michael Robinson. Again, I like Michael Robinson as much as the next guy. But, you HAVE to use your best players on the money plays! Also, really? The fullback dive? Who DIDN’T see that one coming? The Seahawks ALWAYS call the fucking fullback dive on 4th & 1! Michael Robinson isn’t even your prototypical short-yardage back! He’s only going to get that yard if the defense is completely inept and hasn’t watched a minute of tape on the Seahawks! If you ask me, some team still looking for a head coach can fucking have Darrell Bevell as far as I’m concerned. This offense has come alive this season in spite of his play-calling, not because of it.
What I won’t do is kill Pete Carroll for not kicking the field goal. Why? See: Marshawn Lynch’s fumble. At that point, there was less than 6 minutes in the half. The Falcons had had the ball 4 times for over 15 minutes of game clock and scored on three of their drives (with little resistance from the defense). If the Seahawks were going to get back in this football game, they were going to need more than field goals!
Of course, that was the thinking at the time. Hindsight being what it is, we can look back and see this opportunity – and the opportunity right before halftime – as prime examples of field goal opportunities that could’ve given us up to 6 extra points in this game. In this game where we lost by 2 (you can do the math).
So, another drive failed (four out of four for the half). The Falcons only needed 1:17 to toss another touchdown on the board and make their lead insurmountable (or so we thought).
The Seahawks wouldn’t stop fighting, of course. They got the ball back with a little over 4 minutes to go and once again had a strong drive into Atlanta territory. Of course, it ended with the first of only two Atlanta sacks on the game (even though it damn sure looked like Wilson got that ball hiked before the clock expired, but that’s neither here nor there).
20-0 at halftime. Not 20-3, not 20-6, not 20-7. Any one of those scores, as it turns out, could’ve changed the game dramatically. Especially 20-7. Good lord, with a TD there, and a TD out of the gate after halftime (which we got, of course), things would’ve been MIGHTY different.
Instead, it wasn’t 20-7 until just under 10 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Which meant absolutely nothing, because Atlanta drove right down the field to make it 27-7, and that was the ballgame. I had nothing left in me after that. In fact, I almost stopped watching entirely, but I decided to be a good fan and take my medicine. What I witnessed afterward thrilled me nearly to the point of cardiac arrest.
- 80 yards in 4:10, touchdown, 27-14.
- 4 plays later, Matt Ryan’s 2nd interception, thank you Earl Thomas
- 4 plays, 1:50 later, touchdown, 27-21
- Atlanta 3 & Out, first punt of the game, 7:23 left in the game
- Couple minutes later, at midfield, Seattle has to punt
- Two and a half minutes later, the second Atlanta punt of the game, 3 minutes left
- 2:29 later, touchdown Seahawks, first lead of the game, 28-27
I’m not gonna lie to you, when the Seahawks took the lead, I was giddy. I kept thinking about Nate Silver, about Tony Gonzalez’s playoff drought, about Matt Ryan’s playoff drought, about the 49ers next week, about Seattle being a team of destiny, about Russell Wilson being the best fucking quarterback in the NFL, about the beginning of a dynasty. I knew there was still 31 seconds left. I knew that was way too much time for an experienced Atlanta offense to get into field goal range. I remembered the Chicago Bears game all too well. It didn’t matter. This was BIGGER than all of that.
Except, it wasn’t. Atlanta ripped off two passes for 41 yards and got down to the Seattle 31 yard line with 13 seconds left.
If I had the ability to fire anyone at any time using just my thoughts, I would’ve fired Pete Carroll on the spot for calling a timeout before the kick. THAT. NEVER. FUCKING. WORKS. Stop it you snivelling cunts! All of you! All head coaches who feel they’re doing something smart by calling a timeout, just fucking STOP IT! I can’t cunt you enough for doing cunty things like that you worthless fucking cunt! You’re not “icing” the kicker. You’re just giving them more time to calm their nerves. When they have to fight the play clock, run out onto the field, get everyone set up, line up their kick … all of that is a distraction. Giving them an extra 30 seconds to stand there, with the rest of their teammates lined up properly and ready to go, that’s nothing but a relaxing fucking day at the sauna! Oh, and by the way, you also give them the opportunity to hike the ball and attempt a freebie (which, I swear to blood-pissing Christ is almost ALWAYS no good!). So, fuck you Pete Carroll, I don’t blame you for this loss, but I would’ve fired you on the spot just for being a cunt.
Seahawks Death Week starts today. We’ll be talking about the season, looking ahead, all of that, later this week. This recap is just part one. Try to get some rest. Maybe treat yourself to something awesome or bad for you. Watch something funny and try to get a few chuckles out of your day. We’ll get over this, like we always do. If you’re like me, you’re a fan of Seattle teams; therefore, you’re used to this by now. You know the drill.