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Mon., Dec. 23, 2013, 7:28 a.m.

Why has this plague visited us?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

What's next, boils, frogs and locusts? Read on.

••••••••••

• I get it. Sometime last week I must have blasphemed. Or treated my neighbor poorly. Or lusted after a Super Bowl in my heart. I must have done something to force the almighty to curse us with such vigor. It is the only logical explanation for the past 48 hours. Cougars. Eagles. Zags. And now the invincible Seahawks. On a Sunday in Seattle no less. I can't make sense of it all. I know I am a good person. I know you are good people (though I have some doubts about you and you, ya, you know who you are). But still such catastrophes occur. Listen carefully. You can hear the wailing in the streets. Sports fans throughout the area have fallen to their knees, throwing snow into the air, lifting their eyes upward and asking the ancient question, why? And I have no answers. Even worse, social media has no answers. We are doomed.

• I jest, of course. Yes, it was a lousy sports weekend around here. No doubt about it. But it wasn't life-changing or anything. It's just sports, people. They're just games. Notice I didn't say "fun and games" because, right now, there isn't any fun involved. It wasn't fun watching the Seahawks play yesterday, not with the way the offense is moving the ball. It wasn't fun watching a guy fumble a kickoff return without being hit. It wasn't fun knowing the officials would miss something crucial that would cost the Hawks in the end (and no, I'm not talking about the Doug Baldwin hit-the-turf interception). The game – in reality, the entire weekend – seemed to dictate something would happen. Actually, a few things did. Michael Floyd made the catch of his life (pictured here and below) in the end zone, a ball that hit the turf was ruled an interception and the Hawks now have to fight for their lives against the Rams next week. Which is OK. If this team is good enough to win the Super Bowl – and we all probably think it is – then it is good enough to handle St. Louis next Sunday. If it isn't, it won't. Simple.

• What blown call was I referring to above? If you DVR'ed the game, go back to the Cardinals' fourth-quarter touchdown drive. It started on their 20 and, two plays in, they faced a third-and-3 from the 27. Wait until Arizona gets to the line of scrimmage and pause the video. Look at the formation. It's completely illegal. The slot receiver is on the line of scrimmage as is the outside receiver, covering up the slot man. Both go out for a pass, clearing the area in which tight end Jake Ballard catches the 17-yard pass, keeping the drive alive. The play should have been brought back, a 5-yard penalty tacked on and the Cardinals forced to convert a much tougher third-and-8. The way things were going I'm guessing they would have, but still. You would think such an obvious violation a guy can see in his Laz-E-Boy would be caught in a multi-billion dollar professional sports league with highly paid, full-time officials ... oh wait. They are part-time employees. Never mind.

•••

• WSU: Jacob Thorpe got to spend an extra day in Albuquerque and used it wisely. He put together this story on the Cougars post-bowl goals and this morning post with Pac-12 links.

• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan also was on the road yesterday, traveling back from Wichita, where the Zags had lost to Kansas State. He used his travel time to put together this day-after post. ... Sunday was not a good day for the WCC as USF, Santa Clara and St. Mary's all losing, the Gaels for the first time this season.

• EWU: Jim Allen wasn't traveling but he still used his time to put together a day-after story on the Eagles' tear-inducing FCS semifinal home loss to Towson. ... The Eagle basketball team was in New Jersey and was surprised by a Willis Reed-like return from a Seton Hall player. Eastern lost 92-70.

• Idaho: The Vandals also lost Sunday and Josh Wright put together some extra notes on the blog.

• Seahawks: OK, it's time for the links. You want game stories or interviews from the 17-10 loss to the Cardinals? We have both. Pete Carroll stood at the podium and explained what happened. Russell Wilson stood up and said all the right things (doesn't he always?), including saying he felt it was a game the Hawks should have won. Earl Thomas spoke, as did Richard Sherman, who was a little quieter than usual. ... As for the written word, there are your usual game stories and columns and blog posts, though there is one I want to point out (mainly because it agrees with a point I've been making for a while.) It's about the offensive line and its problems. If anything is going to keep this team from its ultimate goal, it is that group. ... The road to New York has gotten a little icier for the Hawks and we all know how Seattle folks handle ice.

•••

• That's all I've got. Jeez, it is almost Christmas and I haven't asked you what you want. You can tell me in the comments and I'll try to accommodate you. If it's for me to quit writing, I may have to disappoint you. I have two really big dogs to support. Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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