Seahawkalypse in prime time

Before the season-opener, I underestimated the tendency for chaos when Seattle plays at home at night. I won't make that mistake again.

I underestimated the power of prime time in Seattle.

The power of chaos more appropriately because in a league that actively promotes parity, at a time when it seems most every outcome is 27-24 with the game-winning score occurring in the final 60 seconds, Seattle is known an enduring inability to play anything that could be confused with a normal game even when it’s in prime time. No. Especially when it’s in prime time.

The Fail Mary in 2012. Mallet finger a year ago. In 2015, Kam Chancellor knocked the ball out of Calvin Johnson’s hands and then K.J. Wright batted it out of the end zone for what should have been a penalty but was ruled a touchback. The Seahawks took over possession and won the game. The only tie in Seahawks’ history? That occurred on a Thursday night in Arizona when everyone got hurt and Stephen Hauschka and Chandler Catinazoo took turns missing field goals.

I neglected to consider this trend prior to the season-opener, and that was my bad. I was so caught up in the drama of Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle, Pete Carroll’s goading of the crowd and the long-term consequences of the breakup that I failed to realize that Denver had a first-time head coach wading into the deep water of a prime-time game against Seattle. The man had absolutely no chance, and honestly, I’m not sure Nathaniel Hackett or his Broncos have ever fully recovered from what transpired that night. They lost two fumbles inside the Seattle 10, settled for a 63-yard field-goal attempt outdoors and at sea level and it has been a gong show for that franchise ever since.

There is very little reason to think the Seattle Seahawks have much of a chance in this game against the 49ers. San Francisco has won six consecutive games and are one of only three demonstrably good teams in the NFC1, Seattle has lost three of its last four. The 49ers have outrushed their last four opponents by a combined total of 353 yards while the Seahawks have been outrushed by 598.

Yes, San Francisco lost Jimmy Garoppolo who was only starting because the 49ers had lost Trey Lance. The 49ers are hoping to start Brock Purdy, the rookie quarterback who has a sore leg and is listed as questionable. However, Seattle was just beaten by a Carolina team starting Sam Darnold in large part because the Seahawks were so utterly unable to stop the run it didn’t matter Sam Darnold was playing quarterback.

None of that matters nearly as much as the fact that this game is in prime time in Seattle. I’m betting on crazy, which — it should be noted — is not always to Seattle’s benefit. It was a Thursday night game when Wilson was injured last season. You remember the final regular-season game in 2019, right? That was a game to decide the division. There weren’t any fans owing to COVID and the Seahawks had the ball at the 1 for what would have been a go-ahead touchdown at the end only to take a delay-of-game penalty because Seattle was slow getting out of the huddle and Marshawn Lynch was late coming on the field. Jacob Hollister got stopped at the cusp of the goal line and the 49ers won the division.

See? It gets crazy. So this isn’t about Pete Carroll’s head-to-head coaching record against Kyle Shanahan (6-3, btw). It’s not about the rivalary or the stakes so much as it’s about things that go bump in the night when Seattle plays in prime time.

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