I have been disappointed before. I watched Michigan lose to Appalachian State in the Big House. I followed 0-16 for the Detroit Lions (or anything post-Barry for that matter). I stared on in disbelief as the San Francisco 49ers had Super Bowl XLVII ripped from them. I am no stranger to unmet expectations but the weekend of September 14-15 did its best to combine all three. Those two days were supposed to be a defining weekend for the football teams I follow, instead they went for the trifecta.
The Michigan Wolverines completed an incredible, emotional win Saturday, September 7 against the Irish of Notre Dame. I stood in the front row and I can say there are few moments in my life more memorable than that experience. The following Saturday, almost as memorable, would prove to be on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. A Michigan team, Team 134, who approached a top-10 ranking. A team with a quarterback on the fringe of a Heisman discussion. At home in front of 100,000 plus against a MAC school from Ohio. One would have thought it was another opportunity to cement the program’s arrival as a national contender. Instead, the Akron Zips dodged victory. They missed open receivers, dropped first down passes and could not convert on 3rd or 4th and goal inside the two yard line on the final two plays of regulation. It was disgusting and embarrassing to behold. I was in the stands also during the loss to Toledo (another MAC school from Ohio?) in 2008 – marking Michigan’s first ever loss versus a MAC school. I could not keep that memory out of my head, especially at this moment (me on the cover).
One nightmare down, two to go.
The Detroit Lions looked good throughout the preseason, as well as week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Although there are still some discipline issues that need to be worked out, the defense looked stout and Reggie Bush made the offense look scary. Sunday afternoon in Tempe should not have been a problem against a rebuilding Arizona Cardinals team yet to get off the ground. Instead we saw a similar story. More personal fouls, a lack of discipline and an inability to get off the field on defense kept the Lions from once again holding on to a lead late in the game. Even though the Lions have depth on the defensive line, not having Nick Fairley proved to be a problem late in the game. On top of that, Reggie Bush left early and although Joique Bell is a great complementary backup, Bush’s experience and explosiveness was also missed late in the game. That game marked the ninth Detroit loss of less than seven points since 2012, out of a total of 13 losses – Bobby Layne must have extended his curse.
(all too familiar) Nightmare number two in the books.
A crushing defeat in Super Bowl XLVII left a bad taste in the mouths of the 49ers and their faithful followers. That being said, Jim Harbaugh’s first two years prove that San Francisco belongs in the conversation as contenders each year. After dispatching the Green Bay Packers week 1 for the second year in a row, even amidst key losses in the lineup, I did not feel alone in believing they would manage well in Seattle on Sunday night. Our defense (like I’m on the team) looked great outside of some miscues. The Seahawks on the other hand, played like it was their Super Bowl and their defense made the Niners look like a practice squad. After playing mistake-free and throwing for 412 yards and three touchdowns against Green Bay, Colin Kaepernick threw for 127 and a total of four turnovers against the Seahawks. It does not help that my two best friends are Seahawks fans, but at least they didn’t break the Guinness record for the loudest stadium, right? Oh wait…
Nightmare Trifecta complete.
- #11 Michigan Survives Appalachian State-Like Upset, Barely Beats Akron 28-24 (breitbart.com)
- Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings: Good, Bad & Ugly (sidelionreport.com)
- The 49ers and Colin Kaepernick have a big Seattle problem – and it’s getting worse (blogs.mercurynews.com)