A GRIP ON SPORTS • There was supposed to be a big showdown game in Seattle yesterday. Problem was, the home team forgot to show up. Read on.
• After writing a bit yesterday morning about the Seahawks crucial game against the Rams, I finished it up by saying “it will be interesting to see how they respond.”
No, no it wasn’t.
Interesting was the last word I would use to describe the way Seattle played in the 42-7 blowout defeat.
Lethargic. Discombobulated. How about just plain bad? The Hawks were outclassed, outplayed and out of the playoffs. Well, that last one isn’t technically true. If they sweep a couple games – at Dallas and at home versus Arizona – they may still have a shot. But it’s out of their hands. Most notably, the Falcons, last year’s NFC Super Bowl rep, have the inside track, though they have three games left, including one tonight. But if they win two, the Falcons, thanks to tiebreakers, will be in. And Seattle out – no matter what the Hawks do.
But even if a miracle happens and they make the postseason, does it matter? The Hawk management team has made it clear the goal these days is not the playoffs. It is the Super Bowl. Winning the Super Bowl, actually. NFL titles.
This team isn’t capable of that for a lot of reasons, many of them I delved into right after the game yesterday.
Which probably means a big rebuild is coming. I had my thoughts on that as well, but I wasn’t alone. NFL.com columnist Michael Silver, who had the advantage of being at the game yesterday, wrote some interesting stuff about the Hawks afterward.
” ‘You’ve gotta think about who we were missing on defense — given all the injuries, it was gonna be tough,’ said one of those players, star cornerback Richard Sherman, as he hobbled off the field on crutches after the game. ‘It was a game where we had to make very few mistakes, and we made a lot of them, and it turned out to be one of those days. Eventually we’ll get our people back, and it’ll look a lot different with a full cast of characters.’
“Sherman’s hopeful tone was inspiring, but reality bites — and next year, in all likelihood, the Seahawks will look very, very different. It’s something the front office has refrained from referring to as a rebuild, instead preferring the word transition. Yet given the Seahawks’ salary-cap situation (the team is currently pressed up against the spending limit) and the wear and tear on so many of their defensive stalwarts, big changes could indeed be coming, including a death blow to the Legion of Boom.”
Silver goes on to write about who may be gone, mentioning Jimmy Graham, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. The surprise in the piece concerns the status of Earl Thomas, who got into a bit of a Twitter war with Bobby Wagner. It’s Wagner who seems to be the guy around whom the Hawks are ready to build their next-generation defense.
Silver also ponders Pete Carroll’s future, something that seems fair game taking into account Carroll’s age and the way the Hawks have deteriorated mentally and emotionally the past couple years.
No matter what happens the next two weeks – my prediction: the Hawks lose at Dallas and win a meaningless game over Arizona to finish 9-7 – the offseason is going to be – dare I write it? – interesting.
WSU: Bowl preparations are continuing (and Theo Lawson has some more interviews on our WSU football page), but the focus has to be split a bit. The future beckons, in the form of a new NCAA-allowed signing period, which begins Wednesday. Theo delves into that in this story, highlighting how the Cougars’ assistant coaches are burning the candle at both ends – and in the middle.
Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Washington picked up a home win over Loyola-Marymount though it didn’t come easy. … Arizona State is 10-0 for the first time in school history after a win over Vanderbilt. … USC won at home over UC Santa Barbara. … Utah not only lost Saturday, it may have lost one of its better players for a while. … Colorado isn’t the Colorado of just a few years ago. … In football news, will Brandon Dawkins leave Arizona after the season? … Oregon is not shy about spending money. The Ducks sent a whole bunch Jim Leavitt’s way so he wouldn’t leave his role as defensive coordinator. … Where do you stand on Royce Freeman? How about Darren Carrington?
Gonzaga: The Zags won Saturday night but it was more of how they won that concerned coach Mark Few. Jim Meehan talked with him and has a story on what GU wants to shore up before tonight’s visit from IUPUI. The Jaguars, though not doing well this season, have one player to watch. Jim has that story as well. … The women were in the Kennel yesterday and righted the ship a bit against Saint Francis, winning 97-74. Whitney Ogden has that story. … Around the WCC, USF lost at Stanford.
EWU: The Eagles returned home after a road stretch that seemed longer than driving across Montana and won easily. Jim Allen has the game story of the 86-58 win over woeful Cal State Northridge. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, Montana defeated UC Riverside in the only other conference game yesterday.
Whitworth: The Pirate women went on the road and handed Texas Baptist its first loss of the season.
Chiefs: Three games in three days should be outlawed by the WHL, but that’s what the Chiefs were facing yesterday. Two homes games sandwiching a road game in Portland. And it showed, as they lost 10-3 to Seattle in the Arena. Kevin Dudley has the story.
Seahawks: There were about a million words written concerning the loss to Los Angeles, but we will begin with those typed out by John Blanchette. The Seahawks’ lack of fight is at their core. … I had my thoughts as well. … Yes, it is possible for Seattle to still earn a postseason berth. Probable? Nope. Not the way they played yesterday. … Why was Russell Wilson still playing late in the game? … The Rams felt they were ready and they were. Todd Gurley certainly was. And now they can close out the West. … Cooper Kupp made his first appearance in Washington as a Ram. … If the Hawks weren’t ready to play, whose fault is that?
• You happy with the NFL’s officiating? If you are, you probably weren’t rooting for Pittsburgh or Oakland or a handful of other teams yesterday. When is this multi-billion dollar organization going to spend some of its money on shoring up the crucial third prong of its product? Not until the fans start walking away from the game because of it. Really, how hard is to hire full-time folks and pay them commiserate to their importance and skill? Until later …
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