I feel like I’m uniquely able to withstand losses like these, because I always expect – on some level, at least – to be disappointed. This way of life isn’t for everyone, of course; it requires you to constantly live in this quiet malaise. The reward is that: the lows are never really that bad, because you’re always drawing from that negative energy source from within; nothing can really hurt you too much when you’ve got that much cushion! The downside is, of course, that the highs aren’t quite as euphoric. It takes a lot for me to really be ecstatic about a team I’m following winning a game; usually it’s some combination of shock and relief. But, if you’re chasing that joy dragon with sports, that’s probably not the best avenue, because you will have your heart broken almost every time, over the long haul.
That isn’t to say, of course, that I wasn’t fucking irate in the moment, when the tide turned and the Seahawks were clearly going to gag away a game they should have easily won (or that there isn’t some residual ire coursing through my veins right now). It just makes it easier to write about the collosal fucking choke job the next morning.
Yes, the Seahawks should have beaten the Cardinals last night. No, the Seahawks did NOT deserve to win. Both of those statements are painfully true.
I think what bugs me the most – other than we lost – is that we never trailed in this game until the end. We were ALWAYS at least one step ahead. And, at times – especially early in the fourth quarter – we were two scores ahead and it looked like we could’ve coasted to victory.
What bugs me the second-most is the play-calling on our final drive in regulation. We got the ball with just over two minutes left to go in the game, up by three points, and Arizona holding all of their time outs. Russell Wilson kept the ball for a 9-yard gain to get us to the 2-minute warning. We then handed it off to get a first down and force the Cardinals to start using their time outs. From there … we ran it three more fucking times.
It’s the God damned fucking lip service that I’ve been worried about all along! Don’t talk to me about letting Russ cook and then replace him with fucking TV dinners when it’s time to serve the meal! I would be saying this even if Chris Carson didn’t suffer a foot injury earlier in the game, by the way. I know Carlos Hyde had a number of good runs in this one – finishing with 68 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries – but he’s also pretty slow and not nearly as powerful of a runner. I was with them on first down (for a 1-yard gain); okay, that knocks away a second time out from the Cardinals’ bank. I didn’t even TOTALLY hate the stretch run on second down to make it 3rd & 2 (to take away their final time out). But, I’m sorry, you HAVE to get the first down on this drive! You saw what the Seahawks’ defense had done all day! Other than a poorly-thrown pick and a fumble recovery, the Seahawks had done very little to stop Arizona. At that point in the game – when they were at their most tired – it made ZERO sense to put them back on the field.
It’s 3rd & 2 to salt away the game: you FUCKING put the ball in your MVP’s hands and let him cook! You don’t give it to Carlos Hyde, against a stacked front, and watch him run into a brick wall. Had the Seahawks been up by more than three points, MAYBE I see the value in running down the clock. But, Arizona needed a field goal to send it to overtime, which of course they got.
Let’s see, what else bugs me? How about the defense getting zero pressures? How about the defensive line not even touching Kyler Murray? It was pretty clear the Seahawks coaches – heading into the season – were a lot higher on the pass rush than we were, and it’s also pretty clear they were fucking wrong. Look at that! We’re smarter than NFL coaches!
The refs sure bugged me, but I’m hard-pressed to place the blame on them entirely. They did try to overturn our only touchdown in the second half, before review confirmed their on-field idiocy. But, the one time in the second half when the defense actually managed to get a stop and force the Cardinals to punt, they called Bobby Wagner on an unnecessary roughness penalty that was itself UNNECESSARY! At most, you wince at the hard hit and move on; it’s fucking football, it was close-enough to warrant a no-call, and come on, he’s Bobby Fucking Wagner, future Hall of Famer. You let those guys get away with hits like that, and maybe you talk to him quietly, telling him to be careful next time. You don’t throw the flag on the failed third down play and extend the drive for the other team! Which, of course, resulted in a touchdown to pull the game to within one score. Had we forced the punt there, maybe we go up by THREE scores, and this game ends a lot more satisfyingly. Instead, we get this bucket of shit.
I’m also, let’s be honest here, bugged by Russell Wilson’s three interceptions. The first one was a fucking nightmare, where he clearly mis-read the defense and thought he had Carson wide open in the endzone. That’s not only a missed TD, but cost us at least three points in a game we’d go on to lose by three. Of course, it happened early enough for us to ovecome, and it provided us the Play of the Century by D.K. Metcalf, who was shot out of a fucking bazooka to prevent Budda Baker from scoring on the play (which ultimately resulted in zero points, when the Cards turned down a chance at their own three points and failed on fourth down). The second pick was another one in the endzone, this time wildly overshooting D.K. Metcalf, which also cost us an opportunity at another three points. The final pick happened in overtime, which put the final nail in the coffin of this one.
The offense in general was just awful in the second half. How can you say that when the Seahawks score 34 points? Well, all but 7 happened in the first half, that’s how. That’s not going to get it done. Not with this defense. Not with this risk-averse coaching staff that’s going to revert to the old way of playing Seahawks football when the game matters most.
Finally, I guess I’m bugged by the fact that we blew an all-time great game from Tyler Lockett, who caught 15 passes for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. You don’t see games this special very often, and to see it go to waste in a losing effort is hard to swallow. He was the best player on the field in this one, and it’s just a shame we couldn’t have came home with the W.
This was always going to be the beginning of the toughest 1-month stretch of football for the Seahawks. Including last night, four of five games will be played against divisional opponents (which, for tie-breaking purposes, are the most important). It would’ve been nice to start off 1-0 in the NFC West, to further bolster our outstanding head-start against the rest of those teams. Now, we return home to play the resurgent 49ers, still without anything resembling a win against a quality opponent this season.
My confidence level is shaken, but not totally depleted. That does make next Sunday’s game a must-win of sorts. We can’t go 0-2 with two road games against the Bills and Rams to follow. And especially not with the Cardinals again lurking immediately after that.