First things first, Damar Hamlin is showing “remarkable improvement” according to his doctors. He’s breathing on his own. His neurological function appears to be intact. He’s even FaceTimed with his teammates. He still has a ways to go in terms of recovery, but there is much reason for optimism. Exhale. According to reports, he regained consciousness on Thursday. At the time, he was still on a breathing tube and communicated through handwriting. His first question was, “Who won the game?” His doctor answered, “Yes, Damar. You’ve won. You’ve won the game of life.”
This week, the Seahawks take on the Rams again in what is the last game of the regular season. Just writing the words last game of the regular season gives me pangs. While there’s still post-season ahead, which may or may not include the Hawks, we’re inching closer to that long barren period of life without football. Sure, the draft is always fun and certainly will be exciting this year. And there’s also training camps, etc. But none of this beats the buzz, fun and joy of the actual season. It’s the time of year I feel most alive.
Two things need to happen in order for the Seahawks to make the playoffs. One, they need to beat the Rams. Two, the Lions need to beat the Packers. Ironically, if the Hawks get the win against the Rams, this will put the Lions out of the playoffs. And due to questionable scheduling on the part of the NFL, the Lions/Packers game will be on Sunday Night Football, after the Hawks and Rams. Many feel that should the Lions be out of playoff contention, they’ll have no motivation to put up much of a fight against the Packers. The Cabo syndrome. Oy, the drama.
This game will mark the return of Bobby Wagner to Lumen Field and Seattle, albeit in a Rams uniform. The 12’s love Bwagz, and I imagine the reception will be warm and loud. I wish I were going to the game for that piece alone. He’ll undoubtedly be a pain in the ass for the Seahawks offense. Game on with love.
Here’s my wish list:
- Health, safety and well-being for all players. The horrific event with Damar Hamlin is a grim reminder that football is a blood sport, where players subject their bodies to violence for the sake of our entertainment. As a fan, this reality has always weighed heavily. It’s also something I compartmentalize. Otherwise, I couldn’t continue to indulge my love of the game. I’m not proud of that. And it has definitely inspired soul-searching each season. The reality is front and center again. Any game without an injury is a win for everyone.
- DK Metcalf does not get any 15-yard penalties. Yes, the sparring between DK and Jalen Ramsey is quite entertaining. But unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for a loss of 15 aren’t.
- More fun with the run. It was heartening to see such improvement in all things run-related last week against the Jets. Hawks defense managed to keep the Jets to a mere 75 yards rushing. Boo-rah! And Hawks offense racked up 198 yards rushing, 133 of which were from K-9. Sweetness! Finally, we saw some semblance of balanced play last week. What thrill it would be to see it again.
Player to watch this week: Quandre Diggs. This one is for Dayna O’Gorman, NFL writer and Seahawks podcaster. For the second season now, she’s been hoping for a Quandre Diggs pick-six. While he’s had some picks, we’ve yet to see the six. This game is his last chance, and I hope he gets one for Dayna. You can find Dayna on Twitter at @DaynaOG.