A GRIP ON SPORTS
When the news broke last week Brandon Mebane was out for the season with a torn hamstring, I put away my hopes for a Seahawks' Super Bowl repeat. They were stashed in a back drawer along with my dusty Dodger World Series dreams and my faded UC Irvine NCAA tournament aspirations. Read on.
• Sports fans live in a world filled with desires. Reality? They check in ever once in a while, but it is more about what can happen than what is happening. The Seahawks fulfilled those desires last season, getting to the Super Bowl then blowing out the Denver Broncos. But like any seemingly forbidden fruit, the win only whetted the appetite for more. Two in a row? Why not? Yesterday in Kansas City we saw why not. This team isn't good enough, on either side of the ball – and in special teams – to win another Super Bowl. They may not even be good enough to get back to the playoffs, the first, most crucial step in any Super Bowl run. The defense is spineless, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way concerning their courage. Without Mebane and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who is still expected back at some point, and with safety Kam Chancellor hobbled, the middle of Seattle's defense is not as stout as it needs to be. The guys up front are just OK. K.J. Wright is a great outside backer, but only a middling middle guy. And Chancellor can't fly around and deliver blows like he usually does. Without its spine, the Hawks defense bent over backward against the run, giving up 190 yards on the ground to Jamaal Charles (pictured) and the Chiefs. Kansas City averaged 6.3 yards a carry folks, which is a little too much to be giving up. The Chiefs faced just six third downs all day – six – and converted half of them. If it weren't for the fumbles the Hawks recovered, this one wouldn't even have been close. Yes, Kansas City is a good team. Yes, the game was in the cold of Missouri. And, yes, it was still a 50/50 game, with the Hawks having multiple chances to win in the fourth quarter. But they didn't. And with a scheduled loaded with NFC West games left, the Hawks must start winning – must win is the right way to describe this Sunday's game with Arizona at home – if they want to get back into the postseason. Add in a dash of Marshawn Lynch drama and Pete Carroll has his work cut out for him. But don't despair. Don't pound your head against the wall. Just pull out your memories of last year, dust them off and smile. This season, it's probably the best you can do.
• WSU: The Cougars spent Sunday night getting ready for Saturday morning's duel in the desert with Arizona State. Jacob Thorpe was at the 25-degree practice (remember those hot August days in Lewiston, Jacob?) and has this practice report. He also has a morning post with links. ... The WSU women's basketball team broke out to a 40-0 lead against Idaho State yesterday and cruised to an 84-34 win. ... The Pac-12 South football race is a mess and figuring out who is the best and how it will sort out is a tough assignment. ... Arizona State had been in charge of the South, but not anymore. ... Arizona is the class of the basketball league it would seem.
• Gonzaga: Lisa Fortier's first game as the Zags' coach wasn't going the way it was planned. The score at halftime was Dayton 33, GU 22 and the crowd was kind of quiet. No problem. A 19-4 run the first four minutes of the second half got the Zags going and they toughed out a 75-65 win over the 22nd-ranked Flyers. Dave Trimmer has the story. ... SMU, ranked 22nd among men's teams, is in town and will face the Zags tonight in the Kennel. Jim Meehan has this advance and this blog post on the Mustangs, coached by Hall of Famer Larry Brown. ... All four local Division I men's teams are in action tonight.
• Seahawks: Despite all the troubles yesterday, the Hawks probably would have found a way to score late and win if not for Max Unger's injury. The high ankle sprain, which usually means a weeks-long rehab, knocked Unger out late and the Hawks couldn't move the ball after that. ... The DEA made an appearance in some NFL locker rooms after games yesterday, including the Hawks. ... There were a lot of new faces on the field yesterday and some of them actually played well. Though none got a lot of snaps. ... Lynch says all the talk about him leaving comes from the Hawks, not him. Of course it doesn't come from him. He doesn't do many interviews, even when threatened with fines. But Russell Wilson and Carroll always do.
• That's it for today. I'll be on the radio again this afternoon, but it's a short stint as Eastern plays a somewhat early basketball game today. You can listen to Dennis Patchin, Rick Lukens and myself on 700 ESPN from 3 to 4:45 right here. Until then ...