After a rough start to this NFL season, I came out on fire this week. The Thursday night game was exactly what I needed to get my confidence back. I had everything right -- the Falcons, the Falcons in the first half, the over in the first half, the over in the game. I hit on everything. That big win sent me in to Sunday afternoon feeling fearless. I felt like Jim Cameron the night he won all those Oscars for Titanic, only less douchey. Usually that's when hubris comes and bites me on the ass, but the afternoon started out great.
My big Colts play was a laugher. They were up by thirty at the half over the hapless Jags. I think Cincinnati is in for a big year and Tennessee is definitely not so I backed the Bengals big too. They rewarded me with a 19-0 halftime lead. Had I regained the magic touch?
My only stumble was in picking the Cowboys. Romo and crew were down 21-0 before I could even get settled in. With my other two big bets of the day almost guaranteed and this one looking like a sure loss, I started flipping through the other games to follow some of my smaller plays. (Spoiler alert: that Lions game wasn't the scoring extravaganza I thought it would be. Neither was the game out in Foxboro.) Luckily I flipped back in time to see Dallas put up ten before the half. Even more luckily, the Cowboys really turned in on in the second half. And after taking the lead late in the fourth quarter, I was further gifted with a pick six to confirm the cover. Yay me!
After big wins on Thursday and the early Sunday slate, I was sitting pretty. There were only three four o'clock games, so I debated just sitting out the afternoon and reveling in my glory. But that is not what problem gamblers do, so that debate ended rather quickly.
I did decide that after careening around the nation for all of the one o'clocks, I wanted to focus on just one matchup. In the three late games, I liked the Chiefs, the Cards and the Broncos, but who would I chose to be my main squeeze? My beloved Chiefs have really been letting me down of late and the lineup was shredded by injury on both sides of the ball. I also wasn't sure if the two-and-zero Cards were for real, and I expected San Fran to bounce back after that debacle to the Bears last week. So it was looking like Denver was going to be my big play. But as kickoff loomed, I was still feeling a little shaky. This was a Super Bowl rematch between with Broncos and the Seahawks, which gave me some pretty terrifying flashbacks to the huge chunk of change I lost in the lopsided shitstorm that was Super Bowl 48.
Still on the fence as my TV showed them preparing to start the game at CenturyLink Field, I did what any sane person would do -- I turned to a celebrity for guidance. But not just any celebrity, I turned to former SNL castmember and current Twitter prognosticator @normmacdonald. If you follow him, you know that Norm is exceptionally knowledgeable when it comes to sports and is actually pretty solid with his picks. BUT, he'd been on a bit of a cold streak and his college picks on Saturday went dismally awry. I checked his NFL selections for the day and he was backing the Seahawks. That clinched it for me. I was going with Denver. I tried to get my Stella-like groove back by hoping Norm would continue to falter. Not only did I try to double down on all of my wins for the week, but I also added an extra kicker to cover the money I lost on Manning's collapse back in February. I hoped he would exact his revenge and reward me with a big win. I got my bet in just before kickoff, and readied myself for three hours of Denver domination.
What I got was the most anemic offensive performance I think I've ever seen out of a Peyton-led team. They exchanged field goals in the first before Seattle struck for two TDs and a 17-3 lead at the half. It was a frustrating game to watch, nothing seemed to be going Denver's way. I started flipping around and saw that my other possible picks, the Cards and the Chiefs, seemed to be doing quite well. SUNUVABITCH!
As I drowned my sorrows in a bucket of bourbon, I finally noticed some excitement in Seattle. That boring game had been relegated to my iPad, but I quickly tossed it up on the big screen. A tackle of Marshawn Lynch in the end zone had given Denver a safety. I was still down 17-5, but at least there were signs of life. That safety really woke up Denver and after a Russell Wilson pick, they scored again to make it 17-12 with nine minutes to go. I was getting four points, which meant I was still out of the money, but the momentum shift gave me hope. That's when things got hairy. This game had more false endings than Return of the King.
It was time for a patented Peyton Manning fourth quarter comeback. But even though he moved the ball nicely, one bad decision led to an interception and 52-yard return with under three minutes to go that should have iced it. Then a personal foul on Talib moved Seattle even closer to the end zone. The field goal that gave Seattle an 8-point lead meant Peyton would get the ball back with less than a minute to go and no timeouts. Could he do it this time?
He did! He really effing did!! When he hit his man with a 24-yard strike to pull within two I was jumping for joy. Now I LOVED my chances! Since I was getting four, I didn't even care if the two-point conversion succeeded. I was actually hoping they would fail so I could call it a day. Or at least take a short break before the Sunday Night game on NBC. Manning hit Demaryius Thomas in the back of the end zone to send the game into OT, but I still wasn't worried. With those beautiful four points, a field goal win by either team in overtime meant I was going to be swimming in crumpled Benjamins like Scrooge McDuck in a pile of gold coins.
You probably already know how this fairytale ends. Seattle won the coin toss and proceeded to march down the field for the game-winning touchdown. A six-point victory that made all of Denver's fourth quarter heroics meaningless. I was still the same old schmuck I had been back in February watching Peyton Manning pour all of my money down the shitter.
That might be the last time I put all of my eggs in one basket, and probably the last time I go against the Hawks at home. And it is DEFINITELY the last time I bet against @normmacdonald. Unless he's in a footrace with @artiequitter. Artie may be too fat to fish, but I've heard he is surprisingly fleet of foot.