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Mon., Jan. 13, 2014, 6:25 a.m.

It had to be this way, right?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There you go. You got what you wanted. Now deal with it. Read on.

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• Me, I would have been fine with Green Bay or Carolina coming to Seattle next Sunday. But no, you folks, you "real" fans, wanted another showdown. The last in a trilogy if you will. Well, remember the third Godfather movie? How did that work out? Didn't have the ending you wanted, did it? And maybe next Sunday, the game that would have been billed as "Seahawks vs. 49ers, this one is for all the marbles" back in the 1970s, won't have the ending you want either. Sorry, but this isn't the San Francisco team that visited Seattle in September and lost, 29-3. That team didn't have Michael Crabtree. Don't fool yourself, the dynamic wide receiver means just about everything for Colin Kaepernick and the 49er offense. With Crabtree in the lineup, it makes life easier for Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. With Crabtree in the lineup, the 49er running game has that much more space to operate. With Crabtree in the lineup, San Francisco's offense is just better, period. And, with the offense doing a better job of staying on the field, sustaining drives, the 49er defense finds itself better rested – Carolina ran 54 plays Sunday, the fewest of any team not from San Diego over the weekend – which is never a bad thing. It isn't as if San Francisco's defense has not been pulling its weight anyway. It finished fifth in the NFL in total yards (seventh in passing and fourth in rushing) which, if not Seahawk good, is still darn respectable. And it's not like the Hawks have been lighting the world on fire offensively recently. So you have what you wanted, a knockdown, drag-around-on-the-turf, blood-and-bad-blood-everywhere battle between the NFL's two best West Coast teams, with the winner facing one of those offense-is-everything AFC pansies in the Super Bowl. And, yes, it is possible this trilogy will have a fitting ending.

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• WSU: If you happened to catch the Cougars' basketball game last night, you once again saw a team that played tough on the defensive end, allowing it to compete until the final few minutes. This time WSU found a way to score just enough points to earn a win, 49-46, over visiting Utah. Jacob Thorpe was in Beasley and filed this game story for the S-R, along with video interviews from Ken Bone and a trio of players as well as the box score and a blog post following the game. He also has a morning post today with Pac-12 links. ... If you watched the game you also saw an even sparser crowd (2,375) than the Cougars drew last Wednesday in the Spokane Arena. Not even the students, who should have been back in Pullman seeing classes resumed this morning, decided to attend in large numbers. I really don't know what to say. ... I can say, however, we have a couple of links to Utah papers and their coverage of the game.

• Gonzaga: Nothing on the Zags this morning, but we do have a couple of stories on BYU hitting the road for four consecutive games thanks to the WCC's screwed-up schedule.

• Chiefs: The Chiefs had Sunday off, but Portland didn't. The Winterhawks won once again, this time in Vancouver.

• Seahawks: So the 49ers won yesterday, 23-10, in the sun of Carolina. Next Sunday they'll be in Seattle, home of the BeastQuake and driving winds and rain. Except the weather is expected to be decent. There is still time for the weather gods to realize they need to help out the home team and dial up a snowstorm or something. ... To move on one more time, it might help if the Hawks figure out how to finish games a bit better. And work on their on-side kick defense. ... One of Seattle's injured players had a run-in with the authorities after Saturday's game. ... Looking back at the New Orleans game, you'll see Percy Harvin had 19 snaps before his concussion. By the way, no news on the Harvin injury front yet and it will probably be one of those day-to-day things all week. ... Finally, the powers-that-be with the Seahawks are trying to limit the number of tickets 49er fans can purchase. Think it will work?

•••

• That's it for this morning. I have an interesting week planned, the gist of which I will probably share with you folks starting tomorrow. Unless you have better things to do. Like watch "The Godfather, Part III" again. Spoiler alert (if you've never wasted the time): Michael dies alone. 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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