A GRIP ON SPORTS
In Seattle, it was the best of times and the worst of times. In Spokane, it snowed. Read on.
• The best yesterday? I'm not sure if I can pick between the final score of the Hawks win over the Jets (28-7) or just the one play, Golden Tate's touchdown pass to Sidney Rice. The score warms my heart, the duck-like nature of the pass warms the rest of me. Nothing better than seeing a pro athlete unleash a pass that looked like something an unathletic guy would toss. Still, it was all part of the Hawks second-half mashing of the pitiless Jets. Pitiless because no one should pity them. They made their bed, let them sleep out the playoffs in it. As for the Hawks, the home win (with the emphasis on home) is important, especially with a bye week coming up. But a road win, now that would be special. And a couple road wins would really boost their playoff chances.
• The worst yesterday? That's simple. The way the Sounders played in Los Angeles. It was almost as if the team felt winning the first-round series against Salt Lake was enough for this season. As if someone was saying "one step at a time fellas." By building a 3-0 mineshaft (the MLS' two-game series are decided by total goals), Seattle has made next Sunday's match not only a must-win, but a must-win-by-at-least-three-goals-to-force-overtime. Try fitting that in a headline.
• The snow? It came down pretty heavy early this morning, covering all the crud in the yard and making it tough to navigate the streets. A fitting metaphor for what is going on down in Pullman. Mike Leach is just not going to talk about the allegations in the letter released in Marquess Wilson's name, and I understand that. But WSU's president, Elson Floyd, isn't able to take that route. Nope, he has to slap on the studs and plow through the drifts. He's called for an investigation. Not just one investigation, but two investigations, one from the athletic department, and an independent one from the Pac-12. Does anyone else have this vision of jackbooted guys in brown uniforms and Pac-12 badges wandering the halls of Bohler, grabbing folks from offices, shining a light in their eyes and telling them "we have ways to make you talk?" Or is that just me?
• Washington State: Christian Caple was at practice last night in Pullman and the freezing weather had nothing on Mike Leach's answers to questions about Floyd's announcement, something Christian covered in this story and blog post. Leach's response is all part of his post-practice blog post. ... There was other news as well, with linebacker Chester Su'a arrested for failing to appear on a hit-and-run warrant. Christian has that news in this post. ... It's all covered in his morning post. ... After last weekend's games, ESPN.com's Pac-12 power rankings changed a bit.
• Gonzaga: The first big non-conference game of the season for GU is tonight, with coach Bob Huggins and West Virginia coming to town. The Mountaineers were Gonzaga's first-round NCAA opponent last season but feature different guys this season, as Jim Meehan's advance shows. ... We also found an advance in a West Virginia paper. ... The Gonzaga women are 2-0 after a big win at USC yesterday.
• Chiefs: Portland left Spokane and just kept rolling, steamrolling Kamloops 3-1 to stretch the winning streak to 12 games.
• Seahawks: The final might have been 28-7, but the Hawks' defense threw a shutout as New York's lone score came on a return of a Russell Wilson fumble. That was about Wilson's only mistake – and the Jets' lone high point. Though Tate, Marshawn Lynch and the offense shined, the defense was even better, returning to its early season formula of stuffing the running game and pressuring the passer. ... The Hawks are still in the thick of the NFC West race.
• Sounders: Losing on the road in the first leg of a two-match playoff series is one thing. That's not so bad. But losing by three goals. Ouch. The first goal seemed to have deflated the Sounders, though it's hard to believe this late in the season that could happen. ... Los Angeles is smart enough to know Seattle will be tough at home.
• I just realized I haven't taken my snow shovels down from storage in the garage. That means I'll have to pull out a ladder today and get them down, though I'll wait until the snow stops. ... By the way, did you notice I welcomed every picture with open arms today? ... We'll be back here tomorrow. Until then ...