Football is a manic mistress; a torrid relationship full of swelling highs and crippling lows.
Just ask anyone who watched the Seahawks on Sunday, from the guy at the bar to hold out safety, Kam Chancellor, who watched backup Dion Bailey give up a crucial end-of-game touchdown to drag a win away from the 'Hawks.
For Seattle fans, the day/season opener started high with a Tyler Lockett untouched (maybe with his eyes closed?) 57-yard punt return to put the good guys up seven early. But what followed for the next hour and a half was a depressing lull that had some of the most ardent fans questioning their loyalty.
The Rams seemed to own the line of scrimmage with running backs Benny Cunningham and Tavon Austin finding holes, long runs and receptions. Their counterpart, Marshawn Lynch, on the other hand, couldn’t find much room despite being fed early and often.
The only non-Lockett bright spot in the first half, which saw the Rams and Seahawks trade touchdowns and field goals, was a Miller Lite commercial featuring local band, La Luz, and their track, “Call Me In The Day.” The moment was bright in contrast to quarterback Russell Wilson’s first half, which featured three sacks, five hits and nine hurries.
The second half required even more heart medication. Rams receivers, particularly tight end Jared Cook, were continually wide open in the middle of the field, further highlighting Chancellor’s absence (over a reportedly $900,000). Cary Williams, Earl Thomas and Bailey were tested and often failed. And the Rams found the end zone easily, as if pushed there in a stroller by the Hawks: 17-13.
The following Hawks drive resulted in a three-and-out and led me to moan, “Football makes me feel bad about myself. I was so excited when I got here and now I just want to smoke pot and go to sleep!” The only thing breaking up the Seahawk inaction were the innumerable inane commercials bankrolling the multi-billion dollar NFL for crappy pizza and expensive cars.
The Rams defense looked so fast and so strong throughout the first three quarters that I couldn’t help but think the cliché line, “THE TEAMS HAVE SWITCHED UNIFORMS!” But things began to – FINALLY – look up in the fourth quarter: Hawks tight end Jimmy Graham, who had essentially been unheard of in the game despite attempts his way, scored a touchdown, Lynch added a two-point conversion and suddenly the game was tied.
The Rams took possession, but that didn’t last long: the maniacs on the Seattle defense forced a fumble from quarterback Nick Foles, scooped up the ball and took it for a score, giving them (and my fantasy team, which features Lynch, Graham and the Seahawks defense) the lead.
But, surprisingly, the Rams weren’t done. Cunningham continued to slice through the defense and, perhaps predictably, if you’ve followed the dramatic Hawks’ narrative over the last four years, the team – and by team, I mean Chancellor’s backup, Bailey – gave up a heart-sinking Rams touchdown with 53 seconds left.
Let’s wrap this up quickly because my chest hurts: Hawks lose the coin toss, attempt an ill-advised on-side kick that they don’t recover (but, for a moment, it looked they’d get it back on some dumb ruling, but didn’t). Sherman was tested for only the second time of the game – the first of which led to a questionable non-call pass interference – but this time he gave up a long gain. The Rams hit a field goal. 27-24 bad guys.
When the Hawks got the ball back they moved the chains but were unable to convert with Lynch on a fourth-and-1 and they lost. After so many high-fives through the dramatic comeback, in the end, thousands of hearts fell, empty.
“My inner child is walking home in the cold now,” my friend said before going out for a smoke. Yes, sports hurt and they can leave us feeling unreasonably low. Sunday was one of those days.