Monday night, millions of fantasy football fans across the world were left clutching their stomachs in agony. During the Seattle Seahawks' 27-17 victory over Washington, wide receiver Percy Harvin got three touchdowns called back.
That isn't supposed to happen. No one deserves to watch their dreams and fantasy aspirations be ripped away from them, and three times is flat-out criminal.
"I don't think I've ever seen a game like Percy had," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said (via The Seattle Times). "That would have been a phenomenal game, which it still was."
Offensive line coach Tom Cable added, "They played really good, but the point is those penalties make you feel like, 'Eh, it's not great.'"
Leading into this particular broadcast of Monday Night Football, the stage was set for Harvin to have a big night. During the first three games of the Seahawks' 2014 campaign, he had been kept out of the end zone through the air—he did manage to score one rushing touchdown against the San Diego Chargers in Week 2.
The most dynamic playmaker on this team not named Russell Wilson was destined for great things against a Washington secondary that was giving up 23.5 points per game to opposing wide receivers, per ESPN.com. Unfortunately, a perfect setting turned into a perfect nightmare.
It started in the second quarter with 10:33 to go. The Seahawks came out in a shotgun formation and lined Harvin up in the backfield. Instead of holding onto the ball, Wilson handed it off to the speedy wide receiver and watched him gash Washington's defense for a 16-yard touchdown run.
I'd imagine fantasy owners leaped up from their couches and celebrated until they saw that dirty yellow flag laying there, lifeless on FedEx Field. We soon found out that left guard James Carpenter was called for a hold.
The penalty was crushing.
As if that wasn't enough punishment for Harvin owners, the fantasy football overlords who control our lives figured, "That was fun. Let's do it again!"
The following play, Wilson went right back to his star wide receiver. Working out of the shotgun once again, he unleashed a quick pass, which Harvin gobbled up at the line of scrimmage and took 26 yards to pay dirt.
Seattle fans rejoiced, fantasy owners had a good laugh, and all was well in the world for about five seconds. Upon further review of the television set, another flag had been thrown on the play. This time, Harvin was called for a false start, negating the long touchdown catch.
The Seahawks would go on to settle for a 40-yard field goal courtesy of their kicker, Steven Hauschka.
Based on personal observation, back-to-back penalties that ruin potential touchdowns are rare in this league. There isn't really a stat to back that up, but it's something you don't come across very often.
Heartbreak was running wild like Hulkamania heading into halftime, and it had fantasy owners digging through their iTunes desperately trying to find a Bobby Vinton record.
Just as they were starting to recover from that pain, it happened for a third time. This time there was 12:54 left to play in the fourth quarter.
Driving the ball down the field, Wilson connected with Harvin on a gorgeous 41-yard touchdown strike. But just like the first half, there was another flag rotting on the turf. For the second time tonight, Carpenter was called for a penalty—this one was for unnecessary roughness.
It has to be karma, right? Two guys who played for rival programs in the SEC are bound to hurt each other—Carpenter was a product of Alabama, while Harvin spent his college days covered in a Florida Gators jersey.
You could sum this game up two ways: Russell Wilson was sensational, and the Seahawks played an undisciplined brand of football in the nation's capital.
Wilson's 323 yards of total offense and three touchdowns were enough to put this team ahead for good, despite the Seahawks racking up 13 penalties for 90 yards.
Harvin's big day was ruined. The matchup was there, the targets were there and, yes, the touchdowns were there. Had it not been for three costly penalties, fantasy owners would be singing his praises. Instead, the four receptions for 27 yards and two carries for seven yards he finished with will haunt their dreams for the rest of the week.
Unless noted otherwise, all game scores and information come courtesy of ESPN.com.