A GRIP ON SPORTS
Did you ever play Rock'em Sock'em Robots? If the answer is no, you're probably under the age of 35. If the answer is yes, you probably wish you had the time back. But you also understand what last night's game between the 49ers and Seahawks was like. A long flurry of punches until Seattle's head finally popped up on another trap block and Frank Gore run. Game over. Read on.
• Talk about a physical battle. From the opening kickoff until Jim Harbaugh's choice to not take the two points on Seattle's last play – with the 49ers a seven-to-nine point favorite, did anyone else immediately think, then dismiss as ludicrous, Harbaugh may have had a few simoleons on the Hawks? – this was a body blow of a game. The kind of game that hurts into next week, physically for both teams, mentally as well for the Hawks. The sad part of the outcome, if you are a Seattle fan, is the Seahawks had every opportunity to score 14 to 20 points. And they dropped every one. Literally. According to most counts, the Hawks dropped five passes, most of which would have meant long yardage. And any one of which would have buoyed rookie quarterback Russell Wilson's confidence. But it was not to be. Harbaugh's team turned out to be just a bit better than Pete Carroll's. Again. Yep, if Carroll is in the role of Napoleon, than Harbaugh is Wellington. Foreman to Carroll's Frazier. Grant to Carroll's Lee. Kirk to Carroll's Khan. Kryptonite to ... OK, you get it. Carroll has struggled to defeat Harbaugh's teams since their USC/Stanford days. The huge upset in the Coliseum. The "what's your deal" game. Three times in the NFL. It's getting old. Unless the Hawks can figure out a way to get past the 49ers, winning the NFC West is always going to be a chore.
• The 13-6 defeat dropped Seattle to 0-3 in its division, though all three games have been on the road – another example of the NFL's penchant for odd scheduling. The flip side of that is Seattle hasn't lost contact with any of its division rivals and the three games down the stretch will all be in CenturyLink, where the 12th man will have a say in the outcome.
• Washington State: If you were like me and switched over to the Arizona State/Oregon during commercials to get you fix of touchdowns, there was a pretty good chance you were satisfied, at least early on. The Ducks seemed to score every time I clicked over, though it wasn't all that hard as ASU's defense was MIA the first half. ... Christian Caple had no Cougar practice to attend – wonder if he used the time to catch up on The Big Bang Theory – so there is no after-practice blog post to pass along. He does have a morning post with links we can draw your attention to.
• EWU: A lot of Eastern news in advance of the Sacramento State game this week (which you can attend for free if you happen to win this contest). Jim Allen held a live chat yesterday but that didn't keep him from putting together a Greg Herd (pictured) feature for today's paper. ... He also caught up with basketball coach Jim Hayford to get his reaction to the Big Sky preseason picks (the media has the Eagles third, the coaches sixth). ... We found this story about Sac State, who has a great record but has played one of the nation's easiest schedules. It gets harder starting Saturday.
• Idaho: Louisiana Tech opens its final WAC football season – heck, everyone's final WAC football season – by hosting the Vandals on Saturday.
• Preps: You want Washington state prep records? There were two of them set Thursday night at Albi, one a 67-yard game-tying field goal by Central Valley's Austin Rehkow, the other 577 passing yards by Shadle Park sophomore Brett Rypien. Greg Lee has the story. ... U-Hi won another GSL slowpitch title yesterday and Jess Brown was there. ... Greg was also in Post Falls earlier in the afternoon for an Idaho soccer playoff game. ... The GSL volleyball playoffs are still a bit murky.
• Seahawks: So what should we say about the game? That it went exactly as we thought – a short week is tougher on offenses than defenses – and that the team that needed the win more – homestanding San Francisco – won? Sure, but the drops were a big deal (a big part of the Hawks unable to complete a pass for much of the second half) as was the physical nature of the game. Though Marshawn Lynch had more than 100 yards rushing, the real star of this one was Frank Gore, with 131 yards on the ground and 51 more as a receiver. Gore has gashed the Hawks before, so this was nothing new. What is new is how tough the NFC West is.
• Sounders: The goal of finishing second in the Western Conference is still well within the Sounders reach, despite this week's tie with Real Salt Lake. If they win out, they'll finish second. The Times' Joshua Mayers has more in this blog post. ... Eddie Johnson sees a correlation between his success with the Sounders and with the national team.
• NBA: And here it is. The we-knew-it-was-coming lawsuit, that is.
• One final radio show this week. We'll be on the air at 700ESPN from 3 to 5 today. Listen here if you dare. Until then ...