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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


One minute it’s “top of the world Ma;” the next it has all gone up in flames

Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent (2) celebrates after booting the winning field goal in overtime of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Bengals won 27-24. (Gary Landers / Associated Press)
Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent (2) celebrates after booting the winning field goal in overtime of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Bengals won 27-24. (Gary Landers / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Do you love sports? Do you hate sports? Do you experience the same emotion within, I don’t know, about every 30 minutes on a weekend? If the answer to all three questions is “yes,” you are not alone. Read on.


• Nothing illustrates the love/hate nature of being a fan than Sunday afternoons. Especially Sunday afternoons like yesterday. Around noon I began to read tweets from folks who are Husky and Cougar fans (and Seahawk fans) extolling the virtues of the weekend that was winding down. One Cougar fan I follow called it the best 24 hours of sports he could remember. Then a half-hour later he wanted to stab himself in the forehead with a plastic fork. Such is the mercurial nature of fandom. And the nature of being a fan of a professional football team with Darrell Bevell as its offensive coordinator. Yes, we are going there – in a minute. But first we want to applaud folks who greeted yesterday’s Seahawk meltdown with equanimity and composure. Yes, you Kevin in Colton and you Marilyn out there in Manson. That’s it. Everyone else, you wanted to join my buddy and were looking for a plastic utensil, weren’t you? That’s less than 24 hours after one of the better football days in a while, if you are a Cougar fan. But that’s just how it is in this up-and-down sports world. You root for multiple teams, one of them is bound to gag on something. Rarely will three or four teams get through a weekend unscathed. But I have a strategy for you – and it doesn’t involve newly legalized substances in our Evergreen State. The first team you root for that wins on a weekend becomes, immediately, your “No. 1” team. And you dress accordingly through Monday morning. For example, after the Cougars finished off Oregon yesterday, you would’ve donned a Crimson sweatshirt and kept it on through your pre-work shower this morning. I mean, wear it everywhere. To dinner Saturday night. To bed. To breakfast Sunday. Yard work. Throughout the Hawk game. To Sunday night church. Wherever. And if the Hawks would have held the lead? Then you could switch, but not before. After what happened in the fourth quarter in Cincinnati, you could have told everyone you ran into yesterday “sure, I follow the Hawks, but I’m really a Cougar fan.” Who knows. Next week you may have to wear a Whitworth sweater all weekend.

• Look, we’re not into calling for people to be fired. Reassigned, maybe. But fired? That’s really harsh. And we understand the tough nature of the professional coaching experience. But something has to give with the Seattle offense right now. It seems so, what’s the right word, vanilla? Uninspired? Bland? And that’s squarely on the shoulders of the offensive coordinator. I’m not criticizing his play calls, that’s the realm of the average Joe. This Joe is more about the scheme. The Hawks’ seems outdated – and inflexible. When Russell Wilson took over a few years ago, Bevell put together an offensive scheme that fit Wilson’s talents. Good. It worked. But as the personnel has changed – we’re talking the addition of Percy Harvin or Jimmy Graham, the undeniable leakage in talent on the line – Bevell has struggled to deal with the changes. Right now teams have the Hawks’ number. The offensive line played well yesterday for about 75 percent of the game – you can read that as referring to time on the clock and/or aspects of their job requirements, ie., they blocked well in the running game and for some of the time in the passing game –  which resulted in Thomas Rawls looking like a young Marshawn Lynch. But it wasn’t enough. When it came time to finish off the Bengals, Bevell’s group had no ammunition. Look, there has to be a reason Gus Bradley and Dan Quinn have moved on to head coaching positions and Bevell hasn’t – not that he hasn’t tried. There was coaching substance behind the Hawk defense the past few years that is lacking on the other side of the ball. Those who do the hiring around the National Football League recognize that. And have acted accordingly. Thus, the Hawks are on their third defensive coordinator in three years and have the same guy on the offense. Maybe it’s time to see if that’s the issue.


• WSU: The Cougars are done thinking about Oregon – though the Ducks are not done thinking about them. It’s on to Oregon State, and I’ll repeat what I wrote yesterday: It is a key contest to see how far WSU has traveled under Mike Leach. The weekend ended with Jacob Thorpe summarizing what happened in Eugene both in a story for the S-R and in a blog post. This morning Jacob’s post has links to the Cougars’ successful weekend and more. ... How successful was the weekend? Both the soccer and volleyball teams posted big road victories. ... The news out of Los Angeles can’t be met with any other emotion than sadness for a man who is dealing with problems we wished no one had to face. ... The Conference of Champions is still trying to figure out who will be its football champion. Utah is flying high right now in the polls, but that’s been the case with a lot of different teams. ... Luke Falk’s performance in Eugene earned him a coveted helmet sticker.

• Whitworth: The golf teams had a strong weekend.

• Chiefs: Everett won again on Sunday, defeating Prince George.

• Seahawks: A 27-24 overtime loss isn’t all that bad on the surface. But when you build a 24-7 fourth-quarter lead and then lose, it’s bad. There are lots of villains in this one – my vote goes to the holdout kid, Kam Chancellor, who seemed to blow to red-zone coverages; others might point to Cary Williams or the O-line – but the bottom line is this: The Hawks just aren’t good enough right now to win like they have the past two years. ... The fellows who participated for more than 60 minutes had a lot to say after the game – as did Pete Carroll, who looks to be have aged a couple years the past few weeks. ... One thing you could count on the last two seasons: the Hawks would close out games. A big part of that was the Legion of Boom, which isn’t the same right now. ... Where did Thomas Rawls disappear to in overtime? ... The grades for the first three quarters probably would have been great.

• Sounders: Clint Dempsey will be back in Seattle soon. Brad Evans? He has to play for the national team again.


• Remember. Today you are a Cougar (or a Husky or an Eagle or a Pirate) fan. You just “sort of follow” the Hawks. That’s the ticket to happiness. (Except, of course, you run into a 49er fan. Then feel free to trash their team.) ... We'll be making a special appearance on the Patchin, Lukens and Osso show today between 3 and 6 p.m. You can listen here if you want. Until then ...

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

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