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

A Grip on Sports: It’s never easy following an NFL team but it gets harder away from home

A GRIP ON SPORTS • We didn’t give up on the Seahawks yesterday. Not exactly. But we didn’t see the end of their come-from-ahead-then-behind 24-20 victory over the visiting Browns. It’s just that we couldn’t take it anymore.


• We’re not talking about the impotent nature of Seattle’s offense from the second quarter to the final drive. More than 40 years of watching the franchise has inoculated us against that.

Nor was it the constant drivel of the announcers about the Browns defense, the Hawks’ throwback uniforms or the noise level of the Kingdome, er, Lumen Field. We couldn’t hear any of it.

And that’s the rub. Being on the road and stuck in an area where the Ravens had the late afternoon spot taken, we were forced to watch the Seahawks in a sports bar. You know the one. The franchise is currently running the most obnoxious commercials on TV, what with a buffalo sporting wings, talking trash with a college quarterback with a famous name – and an aching body this morning.

After sitting in a high-top chair for more than two hours, listening to fans of the Commanders and Eagles and Ravens spout nonsense, it became too much when a 49ers fan planted themselves at the next table and began to complain about the officiating.

As if San Francisco never gets any calls.

We left as the fourth quarter began. Went back to the hotel, turned on the NFL Network – our best choice for highlights – and followed along on the ESPN app. To supplement that, we texted back and forth with family members, checked Twitter, er, X, and got ready for disappointment.

It never came.

What a shock. We had to imagine Pete Carroll’s antics after Jamal Adams’ head deflected a late pass to Julian Love. After Geno Smith turned into Tom Brady for one drive. After DK Metcalf “locked up” a Browns’ defensive back, springing Jaxon Smith-Njigba for the game-winning touchdown.

And then imagine how hard Carroll was chomping on his gum as the Browns tried to pull a rabbit out of their hat, a la Bullwinkle moose, on their final possession. Like Bullwinkle, they were sorely disappointed.

• After seven games, the Hawks are in first place in the NFC West. What?

Remember the Rams’ game to open the season? We’re pretty sure the way Seattle’s fans reacted following that defeat was the impetus for the Dr. Pepper ad. You know the one, where, after one play, State’s fans burn their possessions and destroy their living room.

If it wasn’t, it sure could have been. In hindsight, Seattle was just a victim of poor timing. Switch the Cincinnati and Los Angeles dates on the schedule and the Seahawks might actually be 7-0. Boy, would that be scary.

As it is, they can still fly low, below the pressure, as others such as Dallas, Philly and, heck, even a team they beat, the Lions, still dominate the NFC conversation. Which is better for Seattle anyway. Besides, with November looming, and its trips to Baltimore and Dallas, as well as a rematch with L.A., the first battle with San Francisco and a trap game with Washington, the playoff scenarios will sort themselves out.

• October is a great month to vacation, especially when the weather is as good as its been the past couple weeks on the East Coast. But it certainly isn’t best, in the sports sense, to be mobile. We’re always scrambling to find spots to watch key events.

The road’s potholes strike again tonight, as we will miss the World Series game. Sort of. No big screen, no easy chair and no plentiful snacks for us. We’re pretty sure we’ll be able to watch as we fly home but there is no sports-viewing scenario that is better on an airplane.

We’ll survive. Will the Rangers? Or the Diamondbacks? Max Scherzer? Tommy Phan? It’s October and such questions are inevitable. Just like 49ers’ fans complaining.


WSU: Jake Dickert made his bones on the defensive side of the ball. He was the Cougars’ defensive coordinator when Pat Chun tapped him to be the interim head coach after the Nick Rolovich debacle. Is he tempted to take a heavier hand these days as the Washington State defense struggles? Greg Woods asked that question following the 38-27 loss at Arizona State. The answers are contained in this day-after story. … It’s Monday, so Taylor Newquist has a look at how local players in the NFL did over the weekend. He begins today with Frankie Luvu. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and the nation, Jon Wilner looks back at the weekend. … The new polls are out. We add the new rankings to the links today. … Two more conference contenders picked up their second loss, which is a death knell to any New Year’s Six bowl hopes. … November is going to be a month of truth for No. 5 Washington (and others). Are the Huskies good enough? … Stanford, WSU’s opponent this week, gave UW all it could handle. And is improving its NIL game. … Oregon ascended to No. 6 in the A.P. poll with their win over 18th-ranked Utah, but everyone is waiting for Tuesday’s playoff rankings. And the game against Cal. … Oregon State dropped to 16th after the loss to Arizona. The Beavers are still a huge favorite over Colorado. … Utah will have to bounce back after a rare blowout loss at home. … Is USC still ranked? Yep. A win is a win. The Trojans are 24th despite the leaky defense. … The conference’s best defense resides with No. 20 UCLA, which destroyed Colorado up front and hammered away at quarterback Shedeur Sanders. … Arizona State was pretty happy after snapping a six-game losing streak. … In basketball news, Washington walloped Div. II St. Martin’s yesterday in an exhibition game. … Caleb Love is looking to be more efficient this season with Arizona.

Gonzaga: It’s been a while since the GU women’s soccer team defeated perennial power Santa Clara – think the level of the Zag men’s basketball program but with a national title – but it happened Sunday. The Bulldogs’ first win over the Broncos since 2007 keeps Gonzaga tied atop the WCC standings. Samantha DiMaio has more in this story.

Kraken: Eeli Tolvanen got the biscuit in the basket the other night. Seattle hopes it leads to many more.

Seahawks: The big news from Sunday? The Hawks’ throwback uniforms, of course. We kid. But only a little. Dave Boling uses the uniforms to illustrate the nature of the Seattle win in his column. … Others touch on them as well. … Geno Smith’s two interceptions were probably not his fault but other near-misses might have been. … Luck seems to be on the Hawks’ side right now. … Jake Bobo scored again. … There are always grades. … And things to learn.

Mariners: Though Scherzer, the Rangers’ starter tonight, began his career in Arizona, he never went through the rollercoaster Game Two winner Merrill Kelly has endured.


• We did find some Paczki. At a Polish-American market about a half-hour from our hotel. It was stale. Not good at all. But the Polish Boys we made with the store’s kielbasa were exceptional. To recap, some bad, some good, overall a win. Just like the Hawks’ day. Until later …