Saturday, January 08, 2005


I wasn't planning on doing another post tonight.


Receivers: Drop talk of drops

Darrell Jackson started the game with a ball that went off his shoulder and into the hands of Rams cornerback Travis Fisher for an interception on the Seahawks' first offensive play.

In all, the Seahawks dropped four or five passes, depending upon whether you believe Engram's ball should have been caught.


It was a problem that plagued the Seahawks and their receivers all season long, but it's also a reputation the receivers and their teammates feel was not fully deserved.

"We're receivers and we are going to drop balls here and there," said Jackson, who led all receivers with 12 receptions for 128 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown.

"I think we're just a scapegoat for this team when you start talking about dropped balls," Jackson added. "And the dropped balls don't cause us to lose games."

When asked about the last pass that went off Engram's hands, Jackson replied: "That would have been a great catch. You guys don't know a dropped pass from a great effort. Sometimes we get unfairly criticized for dropped passes when there is great effort."


Do you ever see Torry Holt drop a pass? Isaac Bruce? No. Hell, even Kevin Curtis catches the damn ball.

I don't care for Holt. But at the same time, I'll be glad to take him on my team anytime. He catches the damn ball and runs great routes as well. I'm sick and tired of hearing about dropped passes when it comes to the Seattle Seahawks. Catching a football is not that hard. Dropping it is.

Is it terrible for me to criticize Darrell Jackson today, even though he did catch 12 balls? No it isn't. The fact is, the Seahawks lost a playoff game at home to an 8-8 team. That 8-8 team is also a divisional rival as well.

That same divisional rival that has receivers who can catch the damn ball.

The offseason has only just begun, Hawks fans...

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What is there to say?

Did Shaun Alexander get the ball enough? Nope, even though he was bothered by his left wrist. But to only give him the ball 15 times is just inexcusable. The Rams' run defense is awful, but I'd still let an 85 percent Alexander give it a go. Yes, I think we may have just seen the last game in a Seahawks uniform for #37.

Did the Seahawks pressure Marc Bulger? Chike Okeafor did. I think he's earned an opportunity to come back to Seattle next season. But the 12th man did more to Bulger than the Seahawks defense did. Hey, it's OK to pressure the quarterback, Ray Rhodes!

Did the Seahawks protect their house and not allow a division rival to eliminate them from the playoffs?


And it's just absolutely embarrassing.

That's not another St. Louis Rams first down, that's another record set by the Seattle Seahawks in the negative category! The 2004 St. Louis Rams are the first non-winning playoff team to win a playoff game. "But they're not your typical 8-8 team", a lot of people have said.

Yeah, they are. They were 8-8 for a reason. Sadly, the Seahawks were 9-7 and eliminated in the first round for a reason as well.

There isn't anything new to report here about the Seahawks.

---They still can't catch the ball consistently.
---They still don't have a pass rush.
---They still don't have a decent special teams return unit.

When is it going to be OUR turn to have a championship-caliber football team? When? Next year? 5 years from now? Never?

Give credit to Matt Hasselbeck today. After the interception on the Hawks' first offensive play, Hasselbeck had a hell of a game. He was 27-for-43 with 341 yards and 2 touchdowns. When the Seahawks got the ball back on the final possession in the game, I thought Hasselbeck was going to lead them down the field like he did last year in Green Bay, when the Hawks tied the Packers at 27 to send it to overtime. Unfortunately, that situation wasn't to be this season. I'm not shocked by it however, just feeling more like "well, of course!", slapping my forehead in the process. I'll take Matt Hasselbeck as the Seahawks' quarterback again in 2005, no doubt about it. It's just a damn shame that his receivers have let him down these past two seasons.

As for the defense, well...

Marc Bulger was sacked 5 times by the Seahawks defense, but it still wasn't enough. It's not so much that you have to sack Bulger everytime. It's the fact that you have to pressure him. You pressure Bulger, he will throw interceptions. I can't believe that a man who's been in the league for years in Ray Rhodes hasn't relayed that fact to his defensive players. I'm not convinced that Marc Bulger is a great quarterback at all. He's better than Kurt Warner, according to Mike Martz. Yeah, and Koren Robinson is better than Steve Largent. Save it.

But what really pissed me off was that Walt Coleman's crew wouldn't let the Seahawks secondary play at all. There were so many "illegal contact" penalties I can't remember how many there actually were. Coleman and his crew were in New England last year during the AFC Championship Game when the Patriots defensive backs held the Colts receivers every damn play. Let them play, guys.

For the record, Coleman is from Little Rock, Arkansas, about an hour from my home. No, I won't do anything to the man. I'm not like that. I'm just relaying this bit of information to you, the reader.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Way to show up today, 12th Man! It's just a damn shame that the Seahawks defense couldn't hold their end of the bargain. But that's the story of our lives.

So this is where we are at right now. The Seattle Seahawks 2004 season has ended. This 8-8 St. Louis Rams team just beat the Seahawks for the third time this season. That's going to stick with Seahawks players and fans all offseason long. I hope this motivates the Seahawks in the offseason to get better. It's fairly obvious that the Seahawks are nowhere near being contenders right now.

What a disappointment this is. For a team that was hyped up to be Super Bowl contenders only to bow out in the first round of the playoffs. Again, the story of our lives.

But what really pisses me off about this loss is that Leonard Little will get to play another football game next week, when he shouldn't be playing at all. God I hope there's justice this offseason when Little is put in jail.

St. Louis Rams fans have no idea what torture is. They've only been fans since 1999. As for the Seahawks fans, we know what torture is. With today's loss, that's 6 consecutive playoff losses in a row, dating back to 1984. What is it going to take for the Seahawks to finally win a playoff game?

Mike Holmgren was hired by the Seahawks as head coach/general manager 6 years ago today. Could it be that 6 years later on January 8, 2005, that he coached his final game as Seahawks head coach? Who knows at this point? All I know though is that there will be changes in the offseason.

WHERE THE HELL WAS JERRY RICE? HE'S ONLY THE BEST WIDE RECEIVER IN NFL HISTORY! I can't believe the Seahawks didn't throw to him once. I just thought I would add that point.

So ends another Seattle Seahawks season without a playoff win.

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

Talk amongst yourselves in the comments box.

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Here's what I have for today's game.

Will there ever be precipitation at a home game for the Seahawks? Incredible.

Jeremy, it looks like you didn't get the Seahawks winning the opening coin flip like you wanted.

>> 1st Saint Louis possession (STL 25)
14:49 Bulger pressured, right flat dumpoff to Faulk for no gain
14:20 Bulger over middle to Faulk for 12 and a first down (STL 37)
13:36 I HATE MYSELF. Bulger home-run ball left sideline to Holt for 52 yards and a first down (SEA 11). Every f$&%ing time. I'm f*$#ing tired of it.
13:07 Saint Louis timeout (1st)
13:03 Okeafor SACKS Bulger from the right side...EAT IT, BULGER!!! Loss of 5 (SEA 16)
12:29 draw to Jackson right side for 6 (3rd/9, SEA 10)
12:08 Kacyvenski down on the field, ABC takes a commercial break
11:51 FALSE START Saint Louis (Orlando Pace)...WAY TO GO, 12TH MAN!! (3rd/14, SEA 15)
11:36 Saint Louis timeout (2nd)...YEAH, FANS!!
***11:33 Bulger over the middle to Holt, diving catch TOUCHDOWN...Holmgren RED FLAG (I think it'll stand but this is a nice debate between Theismann and Maguire), and the result -- IT STANDS. I'm used to it by now (STL 7-0)

Come on, Seattle! As soon as Bulger put up that pass to Holt, my heart jumped into my throat. That's the feeling I'll get every time he goes deep today. It's nice to see that the crowd is into it, and I hope they can answer the Rams back right away. Yes, that was a third-down conversion on the touchdown. For the record, the play was 75 yards on 6 plays, and they ran the ball once (got sacked one of the other times).

>> 1st Seattle possession (SEA 30)
###11:20 Hasselbeck to Jackson left side for first down yardage BOBBLED and PICKED out of the air by Jerametrius Butler


>> 2nd Saint Louis possession (SEA 44)
11:13 Jackson bounces left, runs outside for 9
###10:32 Bulger home-run ball left sideline to Holt PICKED BY KEN HAMLIN

Don't turn the ball over deep in your own territory. Don't turn the ball over deep in your own territory. Don't turn the ball over deep in your own territory. Don't turn the ball over deep in your own territory.

>> 2nd Seattle possession (SEA 4)
10:26 Hasselbeck short pass right side Jackson for 6 (SEA 10)
10:00 Alexander left side for 2 (3rd/2, Alexander off field for 3rd down)
9:26 Jackson from Hasselbeck miscommunication or something on the right side, incomplete

Three and f$&%ing out. Guess you should have run Shaun on third down, huh? RUN SHAUN RUN, DAMMIT!!

>> 3rd Saint Louis possession (STL 40, no gain on return)
9:06 Jackson left side for 2
8:26 Bulger right side to Bruce ALMOST PICKED by Trufant, as Bruce slips on the turf (3rd/8)
8:23 Bulger left side to Curtis, who wasn't even looking...BULLCRAP HOLDING PENALTY, first down (STL 47)
8:18 Chad Brown sniffs out the end-around on Bruce, gain of 1
7:37 Faulk right side for 5 (3rd/4)
6:56 Bulger SACKED!!! EAT IT!!!! Rocky Bernard gets him!! Loss of 2! They're not in field goal range!! (SEA 49)

The Seahawks dodged a huge bullet there. They finally dug themselves out of the hole from the first pass play of the game. They stopped the Rams with a short field. It's a start, but they need seven on this drive.

>> 3rd Seattle possession (SEA 25)
6:30 Alexander through the right side for 5
5:54 Alexander nearly stopped left side in backfield, finds some room right side and gets 4 yards (3rd/inches)
5:27 Alexander through the left side for a first down...DEFENSIVE HOLDING penalty from the end of the run, FIRST DOWN!! (SEA 42)
5:06 Alexander through the left side for 3
4:24 Hasselbeck nowhere to throw, finds room through the middle and runs for 17 yards and a FIRST DOWN (STL 38)...ABC crew grilling Darrell Jackson for not looking back at the quarterback
3:47 Alexander right side for 1
3:12 Seattle false start...come on, guys
2:43 Hasselbeck nowhere to throw, moves around, finds Jackson right side, who stiff arms and runs out of bounds for 13 (3rd/1)
2:08 Hasselbeck to Mili right side, ball batted and almost picked
***2:05 Brown from 47 (STL 7-3)

They got points. It's a start. They slowed down the game a bit, which I think is good. I thought they might be able to get another first down thanks to that pass to Jackson that got the 3rd-and-1, but it wasn't to be. But they got some points out of it. Let's hold on to what we've got here. Baby steps.

>> 4th Seattle possession (STL 25)
1:54 Jackson through middle for 3
1:14 Jackson left side for 4 (3rd/3)
0:28 Bulger right side for Holt for first-down yardage (13) AGAIN ...STL 45

It's sad, but the solace here is that it could have been a whole lot worse. Granted, the Rams have the ball right now near midfield again with a new set of downs, but we could easily be looking at a 14-0 ballgame here, and possibly worse if the Rams get anywhere on this drive.

Why would someone in their right mind watch According to Jim? Are these comedies as cheesy as the original TGIF lineup? These comedies won't have a special appearance by the Beach Boys with John Stamos in the backing band.

14:54 Bulger home-run ball down the middle to Curtis for FIFTY DAMN YARDS (SEA 5). Why do I even bother? (1st/G)
14:11 Faulk right side for 4
***13:32 Faulk right side untouched for a TOUCHDOWN (STL 14-3)

Absolutely sickening. I thought Michael Boulware would be a factor in this game, but definitely not like this. Absolutely sickening. Naturally the Rams' special teams suck, and they suck against the run, but I'm used to ABSOLUTELY NONE of those things showing up when they're facing one of MY teams. God, I hate this.

Since I'm tired of hearing the ABC crew kissing the Rams' asses, I've flipped over to the grandpa station on the radio.

>> 4th Seattle possession (SEA 16 after a block in the back)
13:23 Hasselbeck over the middle to Engram, slightly behind him, incomplete...Hasselbeck plowed on the play
13:16 Hasselbeck to Mili over the middle for their first FIRST DOWN of the game (17 yd, SEA 33)
12:38 Hasselbeck forever to throw, gets Jackson on the left side for 15 and a FIRST DOWN (SEA 48)
12:04 pitchback to Alexander right side for 4
11:24 Hasselbeck right side to Jackson just short of the chains (5 yd, 3rd/1)...Alexander getting checked on sideline. I have a sick feeling the entire country is laughing at him right now, and that's sad.
10:46 handoff Morris up middle for 5 and a FIRST DOWN (STL 38)
10:08 pitch Morris outside left, FLAGS for HOLDING on Jerramy Stevens (STL 48)
9:50 Hasselbeck to Engram just short of the chains (2nd/17)
9:05 Hasselbeck over middle to Koren Robinson for 11, nearly fumbles on the way down, but recovers (3rd/6)
8:48 Seattle timeout, Hasselbeck jaws at the ref because they didn't set the ball down in time...Alexander has a left wrist sprain, Steven Jackson has some bruised ribs. SEATTLE GETS THE TIMEOUT BACK. Wow, a call went in the Seahawks' favor. Amazing.
8:26 Hasselbeck to Morris over middle, MORRIS ALMOST HAS HIS HEAD TAKEN OFF on facemask, ball intercepted, but FLAGS FLY while ball is in the air, and therefore BEFORE the pick...FIRST DOWN, ball on STL 19
***8:18 Alexander back on the field, Hasselbeck to Engram left side TOUCHDOWN!!! (STL 14-10)

An eighty-four yard drive, and a couple of breaks going the Seahawks' way, with the timeout and the blatant facemask penalty. They've cashed in, they're within four points, and as I've said, this could be considerably worse. But now they're back within reach. Doesn't the game feel so much better when the Seattle defense isn't on the field? Too bad the Seahawks have to kick it away now.

>> 5th Saint Louis possession (STL 17)
8:08 Bulger over middle to Curtis for 13 and a first down, nice open-field tackle by Koutouvides (STL 31)
7:25 Bulger right side to Bruce, off his fingertips, NEARLY PICKED, incomplete
7:17 Bulger pressured, mutliple flags on play...chop block on offense and illegal contact on Seattle; it's a good thing because illegal contact is usually an automatic first down, but the penalties offset here
7:12 Bulger left side to Jackson, who bobbles, and it's NEARLY PICKED again by Kacyvenski (3rd/10)
7:06 Bulger over the middle AGAIN to Bruce for 21 and a first down (SEA 48)...they're picking ob Jordan Babineaux
6:25 Bulger nowhere to throw, pressured out and eventually SACKED for a loss of 1 (SEA 49)
5:48 pocket collapses on Bulger, throws out of bounds left side (3rd/11)
5:39 Bulger to Holt over middle, who breaks back but gets to the chains after Kris Richard misses a tackle...DAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!! (SEA 38)
5:11 Faulk right side for only 1
4:28 Bulger to Goodspeed left side, ball bounces on ground incomplete (3rd/9)

I was afraid the Rams would be putting some more points on the board again, but the Seahawks finally made a good third-down stop. Finally.

>> 5th Seattle possession (SEA 15)
4:12 Alexander right side with some room for 9
3:41 Alexander through the left side for 5 and a FIRST DOWN (SEA 29), now Morris comes in
3:05 Hasselbeck to Morris left side, but incomplete...probably saw the linebacker barreling toward him
2:59 Hasselbeck to Robinson right side for 8...two decent catches by Koren (SEA 37, 3rd/2)...Alexander off the field again
2:15 Hasselbeck to Mili right side batted away by Archuleta...not like running the ball with Alexander would have made any sense.

It's too bad the Rams had to get the ball again. It would have been really nice to see the Seahawks drive down the field with the two-minute warning and two timeouts remaining and get within one point or, God forbid, take the lead going into the locker room. But since I've come to the conclusion over the season that Mike Holmgren hates Shaun Alexander but won't tell anyone that, Alexander's not getting the ball on 3rd-and-2.

>> 6th Saint Louis possession (STL 22, Ken Walter somehow with two decent punts in this game)
1:58 Bulger to McDonald left side NEARLY PICKED by Hamlin
1:53 pitch left side Faulk for 3, runs out of bounds (3rd/7)
1:40 Bulger deep ball to Curtis, ball overthrown, Marquand Manuel on coverage
1:38 FALSE START Saint Louis (Kevin Curtis, 2nd/15)
1:35 Faulk left side for 2, nowhere to go (3rd/13)
1:32 Seattle timeout (2nd)
1:23 Bulger pressured, runs downfield, but well short of the chains (4 yd, STL 31)
1:17 Seattle timeout (3rd, final)

Well, it's another third-down stop, so that's a good thing. It always is.

>> 6th Seattle possession (SEA 27)
1:02 Hasselbeck over the middle to Mili (SEA 44) for a first down
0:40 Hasselbeck nowhere to throw, avoids sack and runs left side for 9
0:29 spike (3rd/1)
0:26 Morris left side for 4 and a FIRST DOWN (STL 43)
0:19 spike
0:14 Hasselbeck pressured, Raible says that Koren broke the route off at the 20 but the ball went to the end zone (3rd/10)
0:09 Hasselbeck incomplete to Engram right side incomplete into triple coverage
###0:01 Hasselbeck scrambles around a bit, eventually is "sacked" for a loss of 1


>> 7th Saint Louis possession (STL 44)
0:00 ball down left sideline to Curtis batted away by Ken Lucas

Okay, I was afraid of an all-out collapse when Darrell Jackson bobbled the ball on the first Seahawk play from scrimmage. That was incredibly infuriating. But Ken Lucas picked the ball and helped the Seahawks start the process of digging themselves out of the hole. Keep in mind that if that first replay call goes Seattle's way, the score would probably be tied at 10-10 right now. The Seahawk defense looked extremely porous in the beginning, but the Seahawks have amazingly managed to get some pressure on Marc Bulger and even sacks by Rocky Bernard and Chike Okeafor (and another sack wiped away by the Lucas penalty, which wasn't an impeding penalty according to Paul Moyer). Amazingly still, Ken Walter's punts haven't horribly sucked in this game and have actually been pretty good.

Halftime stats...
Saint Louis
Marc Bulger 9-for-19 for 187 yards with a touchdown and a pick; Steven Jackson 5 carries for 24 yards; Marshall Faulk 6 carries for 16 yards and a touchdown; Torry Holt 4 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown; Kevin Curtis 2 catches for 63 yards; Isaac Bruce only 1 catch for 21 yards

Matt Hasselbeck 10-for-20 for 114 yards with a touchdown and a pick, along with 2 rushes for 26 yards; Shaun Alexander 9 carries for 36 yards; Darrell Jackson 4 catches for 39 yards; Itula Mili 2 catches for 34 yards; Bobby Engram 2 catches for 22 yards and a touchdown; Koren Robinson 2 catches for 19 yards

Both teams have 11 first downs. The Rams are 4-for-7 on third down, while the Seahawks are 3-for-7. The Seahawks, supposedly the least-penalized team in the NFL, have been penalized 6 times for 45 yards (Rams have been flagged four times for 30). The Rams are leading in time of possession 15:21 to 14:39. The Rams lead 224-184 in total yards. The Rams have thrown for 179 yards (run for 45). The Seahawks have thrown for 113 yards (run for 71).

The Seahawks get the ball first in the second half. They need some points. Preferably seven.

Folks, the Seahawks started horribly, but they've picked it up and still have a great chance to win this game. Enjoy the playoffs, kids. 14-10 is a lot better than 14-3.

>> 7th Seattle possession (SEA 23)
14:50 Hasselbeck to Stevens right side wide open, runs upfield for 16 yards and a FIRST DOWN (SEA 40)
14:34 Alexander right side for no gain
14:23 Chris Gray down on the field, even the Rams' players were motioning for the trainers to come out...he's helped off the field and they're checking his right knee...enter Jerry Wunsch
14:05 Hasselbeck to Jackson right side, cuts and makes tacklers miss, gets 13 and a FIRST DOWN (STL 47)
13:32 Hasselbeck to Mili quick pass right, off his hands
13:26 Alexander left side nowhere to run, Walter Jones got worked for a loss of 3 (3rd/13)
12:44 Hasselbeck left side to Robinson just across the chains for 15 and a FIRST DOWN (STL 35)...meaningful contributions by Koren. They're not drops.
12:14 Saint Louis timeout (1st)...Chris Gray is getting X-rayed
12:08 Hasselbeck to Robinson left side catches and fumbles, but out of bounds before the Rams got to it, gain of 6 (STL 21)
11:53 Alexander up the middle for 5 and a FIRST DOWN
11:24 Hasselbeck to Mili right side for 9
10:56 Strong up the middle for 6 and a FIRST DOWN (STL 9, 1st/G)
10:20 Hasselbeck quick pass left to Jackson, jukes and gets 4 (STL 5)
9:43 Hasselbeck moves forward right side, pummeled (3rd/G)
9:16 FALSE START Womack...COME ON, SEATTLE!!! Sheesh!!
8:54 Hasselbeck to Jackson right side batted away
***8:52 Brown from 30 (STL 14-13)

They got points, but to have a drive that was going that well just hit the skids is a little disheartening. The Seahawks should have the lead right now. Torry Holt didn't have that ball in the end zone. Good gracious, can the Seahawks stop getting flagged already? That's seven penalties already.

>> 8th Saint Louis possession (STL 32...field position a little too good)
8:42 Jackson up middle for 4
8:00 Jackson right side for 2, caught by Koutouvides (3rd/4, STL 38)
7:21 Saint Louis timeout (2nd), Jackson can't motion go where Bulger wants him to. Man, they need this stop right here.
7:16 Bulger to Holt over the middle for an easy first down (8 yd, STL 46)
6:40 Bulger screen pass to Jackson SNUFFED OUT by Trufant, loss of 2
5:52 Bulger to Curtis over middle, nobody knows how to tackle, Curtis gets 31 DAMN YARDS. STEP IT THE HELL UP, DEFENSE!! (SEA 25)
5:09 Bulger moves around a bit, but he eventually gets PLOWED by Chad Brown for a loss of 2 (SEA 27, 2nd/12)
4:41 SAINT LOUIS FINAL TIMEOUT. Way to go, fans!! The fact that the Rams have burned all three of their second-half timeouts in the third quarter makes me feel great as a fan. Way to go, number 12!!
4:35 Faulk makes three people miss right side for 7 (3rd/5)...Come on, defense!!
3:53 This freakin' defense. Dammit. Bulger to Holt right side for 9 and a first down (SEA 11)
3:15 Bulger nowhere to throw, DRILLED by Okeafor for a loss of 9...I wish this would have happened the play before (SEA 20)
2:42 everyone covered, Koutouvides runs at him and forces him to throw away right side (3rd/19)
2:38 Bulger to Holt in end zone, he was doubled by Richard and Lucas, incomplete
***2:35 Wilkins from 38 (STL 17-13)

Hey, I thought the Rams were getting seven on that drive the way it was going. Let's hope the Seahawks can get seven the other way. Chris Gray is out of the game, though the X-rays are negative. If the Seahawks can have a drive even 75% as good as the last one and manage to get a touchdown out of it, there will be tempered jubilation here at my house.

>> 8th Seattle possession (SEA 24)
2:30 Hasselbeck screen pass left side to Alexander pulls a man with him, rumbles for 25 and a FIRST DOWN (SEA 49)
1:40 Hasselbeck left side to Jackson for 6
1:08 Alexander for no gain up middle (3rd/4)
0:29 Hasselbeck to Jackson right side for 11 and a FIRST DOWN (STL 34)

I like the way this quarter ended. I wish the Seahawks would have held the Rams out of field goal range on that last drive, but I like where this drive is going. They've got a fresh set of downs and need 34 yards to take the lead. Even with the run for no gain on the one play, I still don't think Shaun Alexander's gotten the ball enough. I'm waiting for Jerry Rice to get a ball, or Ryan Hannam as a result of last week's tight-end bonanza in the passing game which was a surprise.

14:56 Alexander right side for 1
14:20 Hasselbeck to Jackson left side coming back toward the play, but was past the chains (forward progress, STL 23) FIRST DOWN!
***13:43 Hasselbeck to Jackson at the 5, runs for a TOUCHDOWN!!! THEY GOT THE LEAD!! WHAT A DRIVE!! (SEA 20-17)

It has started to rain at the Q. This team's got the lead! They've wiped away the bad start!! THEY HAVE THE LEAD!! Let's hope the defense picks up the offense, and let's hope the Seahawks' special teams doesn't crap the bed on this kickoff. Better yet, let's hope for the Rams' special teams unit to do something stupid here.

To reiterate, THE RAMS HAVE ZERO TIMEOUTS and therefore have ZERO CHALLENGES remaining.

>> 9th Saint Louis possession (STL 30...can this team stop a return somewhere behind the 30 for once? Damn)
13:33 Bulger all day to throw, gets Bruce in the middle of the field (only his second catch of the day) for 7
12:53 Jackson bounces left side outside for 1 (3rd/2)
12:25 Jackson through the left side and to the middle of the field for 4 and a first down (STL 43)
11:46 Bulger to Curtis downfield left side TIPPED and ALMOST PICKED by Trufant
11:41 Bulger to Manumaleuna right side incomplete...FLAGS on Ken Lucas for ILLEGAL CONTACT...automatic first down (STL 49) DAMN PENALTIES
11:35 Faulk breaks a couple tackles, goes right side for 4
10:54 Bulger forever to throw to Bruce right sideline well ahead of the chains (12 yd, SEA 35) first down
10:25 Bulger incomplete to Bruce down right sideline FLAGS ON TRUFANT for ILLEGAL CONTACT...AAARRRRGGGGHHHH
10:19 Faulk dips into the fountain of youth and gets 13 and a first down, breaking tackles (SEA 17)
9:36 Bulger takes the ball himself and runs downfield for 7...he juked Orlando Huff (SEA 10)
8:55 Jackson left side stuffed for only 1 (3rd/2)
8:10 Bulger to end zone throws ball INTO BOULWARE'S CHEST, NEARLY PICKED..Paul Moyer says the tight end interfered
***8:07 Wilkins from 27 (20-20)

Well, once again, the defense has bended but not broken. A touchdown right there would have been extremely bad. A field goal makes it not quite as bad. I don't expect this defense to be world-beaters or anything, but if they can keep the Rams out of the end zone from here on out, I like the Seahawks' chances.

Man, just think how screwed the Seahawks would be if they had Shawn Springs interfering three times on that drive?

LET'S go OFFense!! (Clap, clap, clapclapclap)

Again, the Rams have ZERO timeouts and ZERO challenges remaining.

>> 9th Seattle possession (SEA 21)
7:52 Hasselbeck moves right, gets Mili right side who bowls a couple guys over...22 yards, FIRST DOWN! (SEA 43)
7:21 Alexander up the middle for 1
6:39 Hasselbeck to Jackson, too short, it's 2 yards (3rd/7)
5:54 Hasselbeck right side throws just behind Jackson, Holmgren screaming at officials for illegal contact THE OTHER WAY FOR ONCE

Man, the Seahawks NEEDED that first down. Of course, it's never easy with this team.

But they didn't get any points on the drive. Sure, the Rams don't have any timeouts or challenges left, but they don't NEED any timeouts or challenges when they have the ball, and they're not playing from behind here.

I'd love a big play out of the defense here. A pick, a sack on third down, SOMETHING.

My biggest fear? The Rams run out the clock and end the game with a field goal.

>> 10th Saint Louis possession (STL 24)
5:38 Faulk left side for 5
5:02 Faulk left side for 3 (3rd/2), Nutten of the Rams down on the field; I'm sinister, but this looks like a "time out" by the Rams to me
4:29 Bulger to McDonald WIDE FREAKIN' OPEN coming out of the backfield, runs for 31 DAMN YARDS to the SEA 37
4:21 WHAT'S THE FREAKING POINT? Bulger right side to Curtis for 13 and a first down (SEA 24); Hamlin threw McDonald out of bounds
3:38 Faulk right side for 4
2:53 Faulk right side for 3 (3rd/3)
***2:11 Bulger over middle to Cam Cleeland of SEDRO F#&$ING WOOLLEY for a TOUCHDOWN (STL 27-20)


Who am I kidding? This is freakin' done. They've got three timeouts and the two-minute warning, but good gracious.

Obviously, they need a touchdown.

>> 10th Seattle possession (SEA 37, decent field position at least)
2:00 Hasselbeck to Mili right side RUMBLES to the STL 45 for 19 yards and a FIRST DOWN
1:55 Hasselbeck to Jackson left side jumps for no reason and the ball goes through his hands and nearly gets picked
1:49 Hasselbeck to Jackson right side GOOD FOR 20 YARDS and a FIRST DOWN (STL 25)
1:15 Hasselbeck getting pulled to the ground gets Mili for 14 yards and a FIRST DOWN (STL 11)
0:41 Hasselbeck sacked from the right side for a loss of 6 by Jimmy Kennedy
0:37 Seattle timeout (1st)
0:33 Hasselbeck to Jackson left side overthrown in the end zone (3rd/16)
0:27 Hasselbeck to Engram left side gets to the STL 5 (the chains are just short of the goal line, 4th/4)
###0:21 Hasselbeck to Engram somewhat low, it's catchable, but Engram drops it

>> 11th Saint Louis possession (STL 4)
0:21 knee


I have nothing more to say about this game.

Goodnight and good season. I guess.

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Everyone going to the Q today to see the Rams and Seahawks...just yell your freakin' lungs out. This is more than likely the only time you'll be able to see this bunch of guys (including the one we drew up a sign about) in a home playoff game unless the Seahawks make it to the conference finals and the Vikings somehow make it there too. So come on, 12th man, the Seahawks got you a home playoff game, now go and root this bunch of Seahawks on like you never have before.
Seattle Times photo -- Mark Harrison

This just in...the Mariners have not signed, nor are they on the verge of signing Derek Lowe to an insanely bloated contract.

Anticipation is building up as I type this. I usually type these daily posts section by section, and I saved the Seahawks for last this time.

Twenty damn years, y'all. The Seahawks haven't won a playoff game in that long (see for yourself). That's brutal. But it's got a chance to end today. Chad Brown, Jerry Rice, and Mike Holmgren give surprised reactions (scripted or not) when they're reminded of the futility, whereas Tacoma native and childhood Seahawk fan Marcus Trufant knows what all this means, and he's got a chance to be on the team that ends the streak. The Tacoma guy, the Coug, the Seahawk...he is for us.

Here's more on the futility. The Seahawks have the third-longest streak without a playoff win in any of the four major professional sports behind the Expos/Nationals and the Milwaukee Brewers. Worse yet, Carolina and Jacksonville each have four playoff wins since entering the league in 1995. The Seahawks have three wins in their 29 years of existence. The Seahawks need to win today for themselves, for the fans, and for respect. It must be done. The one hilarious thing from this article: we learn that in Mike Holmgren's tenure in Seattle, 20 teams won a game in the playoffs, and the Seahawks aren't one of them...but neither are the Denver Broncos!! That's freakin' hilarious!! Mile low!! No NFL team with Jake Plummer at quarterback will get far. I can think of a certain team that hasn't done crap since John Elway left, and they wear navy blue and obnoxious orange...

So now the phrase is being referred to as "the nine words." Either way, Matt Hasselbeck has gained national notoriety as a result of the guarantee he made on national television in Green Bay a year ago, a guarantee that rang hollow when Alex Bannister ran 10 yards on an 8-yard hitch. He's got a chance to make a solid mark tomorrow as well. But this year, he's got playoff experience, as do a lot of the guys on this team that are holdovers from last year.

Since it's never rained in the three years of Seahawk games there, has there really been a full-on homefield advantage at the Q? One could say there definitely was last year, or at least that's how it turned out in the results. To think it's never rained there, though, is unbelievable. I went to two Raiders/Seahawks games back at Husky Stadium, and the heavens just opened up both times and dumped torrents of rain on everyone at Montlake. Yet the Seahawks won both of those games. I do find it funny that they flew in an atmospheric expert to find the optimal positions for the players' benches. Yet the full desired effect hasn't been achieved on account of the lack of rain, and I don't think many people were anticipating playoff games with snow.

Both of these teams are zoos, but I'd have to say the Rams win out on the zoo factor. A possible felon and the summoning of NFL security after a player-coach confrontation? Give me the running back that complains about not getting a rushing record and the wide receiver that's late for everything and abuses substances over the Rams' nuttiness.

Grant Wistrom. I wish he was healthy and able to play today, because it'd sure help. Instead, the Seahawks are left with so shred of a pass rush. It makes me almost hope that the Seahawks do go the route of Mitch Levy's suggestion and just put 11 defensive backs out there with no linemen.

Lastly, here's the P-I's blow-by-blow edge, and the matchup capsule.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels start ACC play today at home in the Dean Dome against Maryland bright and early at 9am on ESPN.

The Huskies are at UCLA tonight at 7:30, no TV because of the Pac10's idiotic and archaic TV contract stipulations. Read about UCLA's much-traveled Brian Morrison here.

Gonzaga will be at Saint Mary's tonight at 7pm on FSNNW.

Yes, Shaq is off to avenge Miami's loss from Monday. You know, the loss after which Shaq complained about Danny Fortson flopping to get calls. You'd think if he was the Big Aristotle, he'd be able to find a way to neutralize Danny Fortson. I don't want to speak too soon, though, because Shaq just might find a way to have the whole Sonic frontcourt get abused by him tomorrow. The P-I got this article in on Saturday because they don't go to print tomorrow.

Tomorrow vs. Miami
Tuesday vs. LA Clippers
Wednesday at LA Clippers
Friday vs. Golden State

Seattle shut out Kelowna 3-0. If you need any more evidence that it's the year of the shutout in the WHL, look no further than Bryan Bridges getting his 8th shutout of the season to break former T-Bird Cody Rudkowsky's 1997-98 franchise record. On January 7th. The Thunderbirds knocked off the BC Division-leading Rockets thanks to the play of Bridges as well as goals in the second period by Matt Hansen and Derek Couture, and a third-period goal from Nate Thompson. Seattle outshot Kelowna 28-27. Bridges stopped all 27 in the Seattle net. In what wouldn't be the only weird delay of the night, the second period was cut short and the time was tacked onto the third period after a section of plexiglass had to be reinstalled.

Everett shut out Spokane 2-0. The only goals in this one were scored on the power play by Shaun Heshka, in the first and final periods. In more evidence that this is the WHL year of the shutout, Everett goalie Mike Wall notched his 7th shutout of the year with this game, extending his own franchise record (the 'Tips haven't existed for long). Everett outshot Spokane 18-17. Wall stopped all 17 in the Silvertips' net. The weird delay (23 minutes) in this game was caused by a transformer that blew up outside the Everett Events Center.

Saskatoon beat Portland 5-2. The Winter Hawks got Braydon Coburn back from his stint with the gold medal Canadian team from the World Juniors, but it would take much more than that to fell the East Division-leading Blades. Saskatoon drew first blood near the 12-minute mark of the first period, and the PA announcer wasn't even done announcing the first goal before the Blades tallied another one. The Winter Hawks couldn't answer with a goal until Cody McLeod scored with 2:03 left in the second period. Unfortunately for Portland at that point, the score was only 5-1 after the goal. Coburn was minus-4 in his return to the Winter Hawks. This was Dustin Butler's 23rd straight start in the Portland net, and he stopped 30 for Portland, who outshot Saskatoon 35-32.

Prince George beat Vancouver 4-3. This game was the Giants' fifth in six nights, and it showed. However, they almost completed a spirited comeback and nearly got a point in the standings out of this game, but it was not to be. The Cougars scored twice in each of the first two periods to jump out to a 4-0 lead, with the Giants feeling the effects of their brutal stretch. But then Triston Grant scored shorthanded late in the second period to cut the deficit to 4-1. The teams came out of the dressing room for the third period and Garet Hunt didn't wait long (67 seconds) before scoring to bring the Giants within two. Vancouver got a powerplay but this time Adam Courchaine put one across to bring the Giants to within one at 4-3; most importantly the Giants had nearly 12 minutes in the game to try and net the equalizer. However, Vancouver could not pull this one out of the hat. Vancouver outshot the Cougars 39-31. Adam Jennings stopped 27 for the Giants.

Puget Sound beat River City 9-1. It was just another day at the office for Mike Truex, who netted a hat trick to ratchet up his season goal total to 26 (the Tomahawks have played 29 games). Truex scored the tying goal early in the second period, and Jan Loboda broke off shorthanded and scored what held up to be the winner, about three minutes after Truex tied the game at 1-1. Then it got crazy, as the Tomahawks ended up scoring three more goals in that second period, and four more in the final frame. Chase Ambuter and Ryan Osterheldt scored twice to account for seven of Puget Sound's nine goals. The remaining unmentioned goal was by young Kyle Stoumbaugh, who had not scored in about a month, and maybe more. Iggy Slepokourev stopped 30 of 31 in the net for the Tomahawks.

Tonight: Tri-City at Seattle, Kamloops at Everett, Portland at Prince Albert, Vancouver at Kelowna, Edmonton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at River City
Tomorrow: Edmonton at Manitoba

Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone. I hope there'll be something happy to talk about at the end of the day, but I'm prepared either way. Even a Seahawk loss today wouldn't blindside me like the first-seeded Sonics losing in the first round to the Nuggets. Nothing prepared me for that, but if I lived through that, I can live with either fate today for the Seahawks.

But I know which one I'd much rather experience.

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Friday, January 07, 2005


If anyone going to the game tomorrow wants to print this mofo out, then go right ahead. Consider it a gift from us to you, and you'll never forget that if you look at it because there's a gratuitous plug for us at the bottom.

As for image quality, I have no idea how the resolution is going to work out, but if you don't want to try to blow it up, just comment or email me and hopefully I can swing something with my email account and yours, which hopefully has a decent deal of space in it and hopefully you have something that can read .png's, though I can give it to you in .jpg, which for some reason is bigger (I thought it was supposed to be the other way around).

Notice how the word "Shaun" is conveniently longer than the word "run," so that either hand can hold the sign on the bottom corners without obstructing the clear message of the sign. Yay!!

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When was the last time the Seattle Seahawks won a playoff game?

Try December 22, 1984 (see the Seattle P-I reprint of that game article here)

Did you know that Steve Largent didn't catch a single ball in that 13-7 win against the then-Los Angeles Raiders? And being the class act that he has always been, Largent said after the game, "I don't really care. I think any wide receiver will tell you the fun part is catching passes, but the bottom line is whether you win or lose."

How long has it been since the last Seahawks playoff victory? Madonna's "Like A Virgin" was number one on the charts, the Mariners were the laughingstocks of baseball, and I was 2 years old.

I can't say that I remember the last Seahawks playoff victory, since I was just 2 years old. But I've met many diehard Seahawks fans who still remember December 22, 1984 like it was yesterday. The Seahawks and their fans are long overdue for a playoff victory. In the last 20 years, teams such as the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and even the Arizona Cardinals have won a playoff game. Hell, the Panthers reached the Super Bowl last year!

It's fair to say that until the Seahawks get that playoff drought off their back, they won't garner the respect they want to get across the country. You have to win in order to get respect. There are still some fans in this country who think that Steve Largent still plays for the Seahawks. There are also a few media outlets who still use the old Seahawks logo instead of the new logo. Lack of respect? Maybe. But the Seahawks have to do something about it. What's that something?


In that win over the Raiders in 1984, Dan Doornink ran for 123 yards, a franchise playoff rushing record to this day. Shaun Alexander will likely break that mark tomorrow. Alexander ran for 45 yards and 3 touchdowns at Green Bay in the playoffs last year, but it's definitely safe to say that the Seahawks will use Alexander more tomorrow.

20 years ago, the Seahawks retired the #12 in honor of the fans. "The 12th Man", in other words. Tomorrow afternoon in Qwest Field, the 12th Man has to come through. BE LOUD! BE CRAZY! YELL LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW! I can tell you from experience that my voice is hoarse as hell after each Seahawks game I've attended (4). Hell, my voice may be hoarse Sunday morning and I'll be watching the game in Arkansas, a good 2300 miles away from Seattle.

It's important to be vocal tomorrow afternoon. For every false start the Rams offensive line has, that's a credit to the fans. It's the first outdoor playoff home game in Seahawks history. There's a reason why the stadium was built, for days like tomorrow. For anybody that is complaining about the weather up there tomorrow, shut the hell up. I'll be more than glad to take your tickets away from you right now and use them myself. Bad weather, who cares? If I can survive the Raider game from 2001 at Husky Stadium, I can survive anything.

If the St. Louis media is talking about omens, I might as well bring up one omen myself. In 1984, the Seahawks signed future Hall of Famer Franco Harris. The Seahawks traded for a future Hall of Famer this season in Jerry Rice.

You want to know how long it's been since the Seahawks won a playoff game?

Jerry Rice was still playing football at Mississippi Valley State.

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One day away.


Jim Thomas: Rams can look to Super 'omen'
---In 1979, the Rams were 9-7, but represented the NFC in the Super Bowl that season. Of course, the Rams were in LOS ANGELES, not St. Louis. But hey, let's do a piece on those 1979 Rams in the St. Louis paper! The 1979 Rams (9-7) and the 1988 San Francisco 49ers (10-6) are the only teams in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl with more than 5 losses. We can only hope that the Seahawks become the third team in that category.

In case you were wondering, St. Louis' football team in 1979, the St. Louis Cardinals , finished 5-11. 1979 was also the last year a Seattle team won a championship (1978-1979 Seattle Supersonics).

Shakedown, 1979!

Bernie Miklasz: Ingredients are ideally suited for Martz magic

This Rams offense isn't at the same level as the "Greatest Show" era (1999-2001) but it's establishing an identity.

---An identity of being an 8-8 team. If they lose tomorrow to the Seahawks, then what? Mike Martz has never coached a postseason road game outdoors (his only postseason road game previous to this season was 2000 at New Orleans). I don't want to sound like a Green Bay Packer fan here, but I think the weather could be the 13th man. We all know who the 12th man is.

Bryan Burwell: Nothing rivals an old-fashion grudge match
What makes this the most intriguing battle of this wild-card weekend is what makes all great rivalries so special. This clash is dripping with derision and disrespect, jealousy and animosity. The Rams privately think the Seahawks represent everything old champs despise in snot-nosed pretenders. They view the 9-7 NFC West champion Seahawks as frauds who tried to ascend to the top of the division long before they did anything to earn it. And where do the Rams rest in Seattle's minds? Well try as they might to convince themselves that the Rams are long-in-the-tooth has-beens, the Seahawks have not quite been able to prove that St. Louis' time has passed.

The Seahawks earned the NFC West title by winning games outside the NFC West. While the Seahawks were just .500 in the division (3-3), they were 6-4 against non-NFC West foes, including victories over NFC playoff teams Atlanta and Minnesota. St. Louis, on the other hand, lost to New Orleans, Miami, and Carolina, 3 teams the Seahawks defeated during the 2004 season.

As for proving themselves, the Seahawks can end the Rams season tomorrow. I really like the sound of that, don't you? It wouldn't totally erase the fact that the Rams swept the Seahawks during the regular season. But it would definitely lessen the blow.

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Don Banks: Marquee Matchup - Rams at Seahawks

St. Louis Rams (8-8) at Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. EST (ABC)
Qualcomm Stadium

Notice anything wrong here?

I really think every sports media employer should test each one of their workers on sports stadiums/arenas. If you're going to be in the business, you should know your stadiums/arenas. Any idiot knows that Qualcomm Stadium is in San Diego, not Seattle. Oh, and it's JACK MURPHY Stadium, not Qualcomm Stadium. The same goes for Pro Player Stadium being Joe Robbie Stadium.

Look out for this guy
Seattle SS Michael Boulware
• Rookie (Florida State), 6-2, 223
• Stats: 5 interceptions, 1 touchdown return, 2 forced fumbles
• Shifted from his collegiate linebacker position, Boulware has emerged as a play-making force in the Seattle secondary.

Even the national media gets it.

I've said it all week long, Michael Boulware will be the difference tomorrow.

The Pick
The Seahawks, hyped as a Super Bowl pick in the preseason, can wipe away at least some of the frustration left over from their uneven 2004 by sending those pesky Rams home for the rest of the playoffs. As flawed as Seattle is, St. Louis has even bigger warts to contend with. This time, the Seahawks will build a fourth-quarter lead for their faithful fans at Qwest Field, and then actually find a way to hold onto it.
Seahawks 27, Rams 24

Don Banks picking the Seahawks? I'll be damned.

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Well, that's the last of the Dispatched posts this week.

Hopefully next week I'll be able to do Philadelphia or Atlanta related posts.


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Seriously. Yell, hoot, and holler like you never have before whether or not you're going to be at the Q in the middle of it all. This team needs it, this region needs it. Dammit, we all need a playoff win so the media can shut the hell up about the Seahawks not having one for so many years. It's time for this crap to stop.

So I urge all of you, fans of the Seahawks from Seattle and all around this northwest region, and even those throughout the world (but especially at the stadium tomorrow)...


Now for the usual...

John Levesque likes the Mariners' increase in Pokiness. Good gracious, would you look at that injury list for 2001? Crazy.

Yes, the Rams/Seahawks playoff game on Saturday will be televised. KOMO and KJR snatched up a portion of the tickets. KOMO will be donating their tickets to military personnel, while KJR will have 1000 tickets on hand at FX McRory's TODAY (north of the Q, for those wondering) for Mike Gastineau's 3-7pm shift. Tickets will be given out with minimum $10 donations to aid the tsunami relief efforts.

The offenses. There's some similarities, some differences. Three words come to mind right now -- KNOCK IT DOWN!! That's for Seattle's defense, pretty much.

I'm surprised it took until Friday for us to get a "we've got Jerry Rice -- in the PLAYOFFS" article. The man still wants it. The ABC crew will be in town again, except with different people on a different day on a different time of day than the Dallas game. Still, the whole nation is watching. Jerry Rice could be the not-so-secret secret weapon.

Chad Brown plays with pain and 12 screws in his leg. This makes me a weakling when it comes to the injuries I had in high school -- toe sprain and ankle sprain. But what sucks is having to wait forever and a day to get cleared by a doctor when you know you're okay. What really sucked about the injuries is that I got neither of them via baseball. Say hello to PE basketball and PE badminton. It makes me mad to this very day.

Grant Wistrom is doubtful for the game, and I don't think he'll play at all, which sucks, but I doubt he'd be able to do much if he got out there. Jeremy had mentioned something to me about lining him up against someone else if he was able to play. Why? So Orlando Pace wouldn't work him. Says Wistrom: "I've never been snakebit like this before." Welcome to Seattle, Grant. Welcome to where being snakebit is a constant. We know it all too well here.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels start ACC play tomorrow at home in the Dean Dome against Maryland.

For Jeremy's take on last night's Washington/USC game, scroll down one post or click here if you're in the archive reading this. For the takes of the local print guys, click here and here. Surely those three links will convince you that USC basketball is in a sad state right now.

The Huskies are at UCLA on Saturday.

Gonzaga beat Santa Clara 91-87. Yes, Gonzaga just beat the one team in the country that has beaten North Carolina this season. Derek Raivio went nuts and tallied 32 on 6-for-10 shooting from downtown, and he nailed all 10 of his free throw attempts.

Gonzaga will be at Saint Mary's on Saturday.

The Storm start their title defense against the very hated LA Sparks. Sparks bad!! Anyway, the salary cap is $673000. Wow.

For my take on last night's game at Washington, scroll down two posts or click here if you're in the archive.

Yes, the Sonics finally lost two straight. Yes, some adversity has finally hit the green and gold (yellow) this season. I had no idea this team would suck this badly in two games without Reggie Evans. It's mind-blowing. I know you probably can't trace everything that's gone wrong over the past two nights solely to his absence, but nothing seemed to click against Orlando and Washington. Nothing seemed to flow on the offensive end. For most of the season, you could see the smoothness of their offense, and I was even starting to see plays develop before they were actually happening. These last two nights? Disarray. The tiredness didn't just leak into Ray Allen's shot last night, it's also found its way into the defense as well, who couldn't seem to hold their opposition in any way the past two nights. It's been said that the commitment to defense this year might give the Sonics a chance to win games in which they aren't hitting their shots. The last two nights, they must have been losing their legs, because the shots weren't going in, and the defense was nonexistent as well.

Also, I had that big spiel about free throws in the game post too. Probably just me ranting, but my mind works in mysterious ways, often in a wordy fashion.

Or maybe Ray Allen was thinking too much about contract talks. Come on, Ray.

At least Reggie Evans should be playing in the Miami game on Sunday. That must have been some vile gastroenteritis.

Sunday vs. Miami
Tuesday vs. LA Clippers
Wednesday at LA Clippers
Friday vs. Golden State

Russ Farwell, general manager of the Seattle Thunderbirds, knows he has a good team and knows that since he has defensive depth, he probably doesn't have to trade for anything, and he probably won't unless someone knocks his socks off. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

So it's going to be standings since nothing happened last night.

US Division (rank_team_games played record[pts], last 10, streak)
1 Seattle Thunderbirds 37, 26-10-0-1[53], 7-3-0, W1
2 Everett Silvertips 39, 19-12-6-2[46], 3-4-3, L1
3 Portland Winter Hawks 41, 16-18-3-4[39], 2-7-1, W1
4 Tri-City Americans 36, 15-15-4-2[36], 5-4-1, W1
5 Spokane Chiefs 40, 13-19-7-1[34], 3-4-3, L2

BC Division
1 Kelowna Rockets 42, 23-9-9-1[56], 5-3-2, W1
2 Kootenay Ice 40, 23-13-4-0[50], 5-4-1, W1
3 Vancouver Giants 40, 22-15-1-2[47], 6-4-0, W2
4 Prince George Cougars 40, 16-20-3-1[36], 4-6-0, L2
5 Kamloops Blazers 40, 15-21-2-2[34], 5-5-0, W2

North Division (rank_team_games played, record[pts])
1 Rochester Americans 35, 21-8-3-3[48]
2 Manitoba Moose 34, 22-9-1-2[47]
3 Edmonton Road Runners 35, 19-10-2-4[44]
4 Saint John's Maple Leafs 34, 21-12-0-1[43]
5 Hamilton Bulldogs 37, 14-16-4-3[35]
6 Cleveland Barons 35, 15-17-1-2[33]
7 Syracuse Crunch 33, 12-15-3-3[30]

West Division (rank_team_games played, record[pts])
1 Puget Sound Tomahawks* 28, 24-3-1[49]
2 Portland Pioneers* 27, 24-3-0[48]
3 Tri-City Titans 30, 10-19-1[21]
4 River City Jaguars 29, 5-24-0[10]
*clinched playoff spot

Tonight: Kelowna at Seattle, Spokane at Everett, Portland at Saskatoon, Vancouver at Prince George, Puget Sound at River City
Tomorrow: Tri-City at Seattle, Kamloops at Everett, Portland at Prince Albert, Vancouver at Kelowna, Edmonton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at River City
Sunday: Edmonton at Manitoba

Everyone had a jolly good wonderful time today and

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Thursday, January 06, 2005


If the MCI Center's atmosphere is lifeless dead, then what can the L.A. Sports Arena's atmosphere be described as?

At least one Seattle-based basketball team won tonight. The Washington Huskies (#12 in AP and #14 in ESPN/USA Today polls, respectively) took care of business in Los Angeles, routing the woeful USC Trojans 84-59. The Huskies are now 3-0 in the Pac-10, after starting off 0-5 last season in the conference. What a difference a year makes.

It helps when you have some players. Tre Simmons lived up to his name, going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, scoring 22 points, leading the Huskies. Paraphrasing Fox Sports West analyst Kurt Rambis (yes, THE Kurt Rambis): "It must be nice to be a shooter with a name like Tre." Well said, Kurt. In one of the many "WHAT THE HELL" moments of the year, Rambis didn't wear glasses or have any facial hair on him. What is the world coming to? Oh, and Matt Vasgersian was the play-by-play guy. I'm sure David will like to hear about that.

The Huskies led 10-0 until USC scored their first basket 5 1/2 minutes into the ballgame. USC couldn't hang with Washington's athletes at all. While watching this game, I told myself many times that Henry Bibby deserved to fired. This is Bibby's team out there. Interim coach Jim Saia doesn't have a chance in hell with this team. There's a reason why Rick Majerus decided not to take the USC job after all. It's because there aren't a lot of players on campus right now. The only player the Trojans have right now is former Rainier Beach star Lodrick Stewart, whose brother Rodrick transferred from USC to Kansas. Rodrick will start classes at Kansas next week. Don't even get me started on the overrated Craven twins, Derrick and Errick.

Washington took a 36-19 lead into halftime. As Vasgersian said on the telecast, let's "roll the ugliness", a great line from "The Jerk".

USC had 17 turnovers in the 1st half, leading to 20 Huskies points. The Trojans were also outhustled by Washington big time. Every loose ball went to the Huskies. That's one reason why Washington and USC are in two different positions right now.

For the game, the Huskies didn't shoot remarkably well, only 44%. But compared to last Sunday's 42% performance against Stanford, they will take it. Considering the opponent they faced tonight, 44 percent isn't too bad. When you cause your opponent to turn over the ball numerous times, you're going to get a lot of fast break opportunities. That's Washington's game and they didn't go away from that. Of course, it also helps to have a player like Simmons who can shoot the 3 very well.

Mike Jensen scored 14 points, 6 of those points coming in the Huskies' first 10 points of the game (see the 10-0 run to open up the ballgame). Brandon Roy had 10 points. And Nate Robinson only had 8 points tonight, but with the Huskies' depth, it didn't matter if he didn't have a big night. That's why Washington is going to be playing in March right there, because they have the players who can step up when Robinson doesn't have a great performance. To be fair, Robinson could have scored more than 8 points, but fed the ball to his teammates on a few occasions. That's a solid player right there, not always taking the shot, but giving it to his teammates who have the better shot opportunity.

The Huskies are 13-1 overall, 3-0 in the Pac-10. They head to Pauley Pavilion on Saturday to take on UCLA. The Bruins beat Washington State 80-77 in double overtime tonight.

Before I end this post, it's a shame that the Western Washington market couldn't get this game on Fox Sports Northwest. I can tell you from my time down here in the South that when the Arkansas Razorbacks have a game on Fox Sports Net, the Fox Sports Net channel here will pre-empt their programming so they can air the Arkansas game. Keep in mind that the FSN channel I have is Fox Sports Southwest. The Arkansas games are broadcast on Fox Sports South. There's no reason why Fox Sports Northwest can't get the telecast of the Washington-USC game, even if it is the USC broadcasting crew. For christ's sake, this is the #12 team in the nation. These aren't the Huskies of the mid-1990s, you know.

It's amazing when someone in Arkansas (me) can watch the Washington Huskies yet people in Western Washington can't. Unreal.

Anyways, have a good night.

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Wizards 107, SuperSonics 96

Here's the scrawl for tonight's game, nationally televised on TNT, if you can get it. Postgame notes will be below the in-game stuff as soon as I get around to it.

[final content posted ~8:08p]

1st qtr
No score until 10:39 mark on Gilbert Arenas hits both free throws. 9:33 James holds ball high, has it batted away, makes stupid foul (halts transition though). 7:22 James over the back on offensive rebound (2nd foul), Vlad Radmanovic comes in. 6:31 Sonics already over the limit. Sonics still shooting badly. 5:38 Jamison on Radmanovic hits with no hand in face 14-8 WSH. At 5:10, the Sonics are shooting 5-for-16 (31%) from the field and haven't gotten to the free throw line. 4:52 Lewis gets the foul and one (16-13 WSH). 3:19 Lewis three 22-16 WSH, answered on the other end. 2:28 wide-open jam in transition by Washington. 0:59.4 Lewis fouled...Ehlo notices quite a few people are slipping on the floor.

After one quarter -- Washington 29, Seattle 17

You know, I absolutely hate it when my teams crap the bed on national television. Why does this always have to be the case?

Man, does this team miss Reggie Evans THAT much? The quarter wasn't even half over when the Wizards got the Sonics into the penalty. The result? The Wizards were perfect in 14 attempts from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, the Sonics in their last four quarters of play have allowed 31, 30, 29, and 29 points. Surprisingly, they're only getting beat 13-12 on the boards so far, but they turned the ball over six times in the first quarter. Also, they've still got the crappy shooting from the night before (7-for-25, 28%). The Sonics turned the ball over six times in the first quarter. The next one is Locke's stat: the Sonics only scored on back-to-back possessions ONCE in the quarter. Embarrassing. Also, only Rashard Lewis scored more than two points for the Sonics in the first quarter.

2nd qtr
10:43 Ray Allen's first basket of the night WSH 34-21. 10:07 Seattle timeout...this team SUCKS right now; they are absolutely LISTLESS. 8:49 Murray first field goal since last month against Philly WSH 36-23. 8:02 Murray layup...SEA 38-25. 7:35 Sonics sleep on inbound, Washington hits three, lead 43-25. 6:33 Ridnour nice driving layup 43-27, answered with a three on the other end by Jarvis Hayes. 5:45 Murray PACKS one on Ruffin 46-29 WSH. 3:51 Ridnour righty runner 46-33. 3:28 Allen fouled. 3:13 Potapenko righty SLAM, Sonics 10-0 run, WSH 46-37...Sonics still have a way to go; but Arenas gets a three on the next possession, then Vitaly gets a charge called on him. 2:11 Sonics don't block out Jeffries, who dunks off a rebound WSH 51-37. 1:46 Arenas three 54-37, answered by Potapenko slam.

Kevin Calabro after Vlad Radmanovic throwing the ball the length of the floor at the halftime buzzer to Sonic fans along the baseline: "that may be their greatest thrill of the night."

Kevin Calabro also told David Locke that the press was getting hand-dipped ice cream for halftime food.

David Locke brought up a great point with about five minutes to go in the half. He talked with one of the Sonics' assistant coaches, and that coach said the Wizards are going to take a certain number of shots, and not all of them will necessarily be good shots. The Wizards launched a couple of threes that bricked, the Sonics got the ball back, and this sparked their 10-0 run. Of course, the Sonics are playing absolutely no defense, and Washington erased it with an 8-0 run of their own. It's the 5th game in 9 days for this team, but damn. Like I said, does this team really miss Reggie Evans THAT much?

The only positives here I can think of are that Ron Murray (8 pts) and Vitaly Potapenko (4) are actually doing something.

Both teams have made 18 shots from the field in the first half, and the Wizards have actually missed one more shot than the Sonics. The difference? Free throws. The Wizards got to the line 14 times and didn't miss in the first quarter, and they sit here at half perfect in 18 attempts from the ol' charity stripe.

Translation: the Sonics aren't shooting well, but the Wizards aren't shooting any better. They're just still buoyed from drawing a bunch of fouls on the Sonics early in the first quarter and going to the line for the rest of that quarter. As for the Sonics, I wish they'd realize that if their shots aren't falling, sooner or later they're just going to have to take the ball to the rack and start going to the line. This is how Ray Allen was able to stay effective when he was sick and his jumpshot wasn't there. The Sonics? They're just 5-for-7.

Halftime stats
Rashard Lewis 15 pts (6-10 FG), Ron Murray 8 pts (4-6 FG), Luke Ridnour 5 pts (2-2 FG), Ray Allen (1-7 FG) 4 pts/4 reb, Vlad Radmanovic 0 pts (1-6 FG), Antonio Daniels 0 pts (0-3 FG)

Let's face it. If you go through one half of basketball and Ray Allen is your leading rebounder, you're in trouble.

3rd qtr
11:18 nice Lewis offensive rebound off Allen miss, hooks one in right baseline 60-44 WSH. 10:43 up-and-under spinning shot in the lane 60-46. 10:18 James block leads to Ridnour behind-the-back pass to Lewis trailing for a SLAM. GREAT way to start out the half. Some games are won and lost depending on how you play coming out of the locker room at halftime. I'm not sure if the Sonics dug themselves too deep a hole, but they might still have a chance. 8:57 Ridnour running righty layup 64-52 WSH...Sonics 10-4 run to open half. 8:20 James hits both free throws...Sonics 12-5 run to open half. 7:59 Ridnour intercepts, Allen lays up...14-5 Seattle run. 7:04 Sonics TURNOVER on two straight possessions with bad passes. 6:41 Antawn Jamison lays in his missed free throw, WSH 72-56; this one's probably over -- I'm calling it. 6:25 Lewis three left corner after timeout WSH 72-59. 4:52 Allen stuffed by Haywood on the break, ouch. 2:57 Seattle takes 20...just like last night, NO bounces are going Seattle's way. If they make a run, it ends quickly and they can't make a defensive stop for the next three trips down the floor. If any ball is tipped on a rebound, they're usually not coming up with it. It's probably the long road trip, but if it's not that, it's just that the team is just plain not getting it done. One more loss like this and I think it's freak-out time. Sonics over the limit at 2:08. Good gracious, Rashard Lewis is on fire. Too bad he's the only one doing anything. Lewis scored 13 straight Sonic points to end the quarter.

After three quarters: 85-71

Ray Allen finally got into double digits with those two free throws at the end of the quarter. Sadly, this game looks too much like the one last night, except the Sonics didn't hold the Wizards to 15 points in the first quarter like they did with Orlando last night. I've already called it, but the Sonics aren't going to win this game unless the Wizards fall flat on their faces and the Sonics get dunks, layups, or free throws on every possession, or if Rashard stays hot. He's got 32 points after three quarters (he had 17 in the 3rd alone), and is the leading rebounder for the Sonics with 7. The Wizards are 22-for-24 from the line after three, and the Sonics are a mere 8-for-11. Did I mention the Sonics are probably about two steps slow on defense?

4th qtr
11:20 Fortson finally getting some offense down low WSH 85-73. 10:49 Daniels HITS A THREE WSH 85-76...first make after missing ten straight. 9:22 Fortson tips back a Lewis miss off a WSH turnover 85-78, answered on other end, then Ridnour can't finish the layup on the ensuing possession. Surprise. 8:21 KWAME BROWN SIGHTING!! Brown fouled Fortson. 7:00 Fortson lays in a Ridnour transition baseline lob 88-80, Fortson has ball go off him and out of bounds on next possession. 6:09 Allen transition layup 88-82, but 5:54 Ridnour plowed on Brown pick (no call), and Fortson fouls Arenas and one WSH 91-82. 4:35 Sonics make defensive stops, Ray Allen loses the handle on the ball, Fortson blows a layup and the Wizards cash in on the other end. In a weird note, Luke Ridnour is three points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist from a triple-double with 4:27 remaining. 4:15 Sonics get ball back, ball off Allen's fingertips out of bounds on the break. 3:52 Allen three left WSH 94-85. 1:40 Hughes dunk WSH 103-88, timeout. This one's definitely over now.

Final: Wizards 107, SuperSonics 96


The Sonics have a consecutive-game losing streak for the first time this year. They are 12-2 in back-to-back sets this year, and came away with a 3-2 road trip.

Last night the Sonics got great nights out of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Tonight, Rashard Lewis did all of the heavy lifting, and Ray Allen had a crappy night, and though the bench was better than it was last night, nobody off of it really caught fire. Of course the Sonics shouldn't have won this game.

If you look at the boxscore and want to say that any one thing doomed the Sonics tonight, it was the free throws, and the Sonics arguably didn't recover from the first quarter, when the Wizards made all 14 shots they took from the free-throw line. Even worse, the Sonics shot better than the Wizards did from the floor, but Washington's free throws more than made up for the difference.

What about other in-boxscore reasons the Sonics lost? Turnovers. There's been some bad passes lately on the break, which mentally for a fan like me is like poking an inflated balloon. "All right, they're going to get an easy layup or a dunk, yeah!! DAMMIT, HOLD ONTO THE BALL/WATCH WHERE YOU'RE PASSING IT!!" Usually for the Sonics I consider about 13 or 14 turnovers (just based on boxscores) as the upper limit to what they should give away in order to still have a chance to win the game. Tonight they were in the 20s.

But what the boxscore doesn't tell with any one stat is the Sonics inability to make sustained defensive stops to preserve their runs. The Sonics could reel off a 9-0 run, but they'd always collapse and compound that with a couple of turnovers or missed shots (or have one guy down low trying to clear out for the rebound against three or four Wizards) and Washington would have no trouble erasing most or all of the run that the Sonics had just made. Of course, you can look into this, you could look into Reggie Evans being out for the last two games, or you could look into the fact that this was the Sonics' fifth game in nine days.

Rashard Lewis 35 pts/11 reb (14-26 FG, 5-10 3pt, 2-4 free throws), Ray Allen 17 pts/6 reb/4 ast/4 stl (6-20 FG, 1-8 3pt, 4-4 free throws), Luke Ridnour 8 pts/7 reb/10 ast (3-6 FG, 2-4 free throws), Nick Collison 2 pts/3 reb (4 fouls, 4 turnovers, 11 min)

Danny Fortson 8 pts/8 reb (5 fouls, 4 turnovers, 21 min), Ron Murray 8 pts (4-9 FG, 20 min), Vlad Radmanovic 5 pts/4 reb (2-8 FG, 1-5 3pt, 25 min), Antonio Daniels 5 pts/3 ast (2-6 FG, 24 min), Vitaly Potapenko 4 pts/3 reb (2-2 FG, 7 min)

Jerome James Watch
4 pts/4 reb/3 blk (1-2 FG, 5 fouls, 10 min)

shot 39-for-87 from the field (44.8%), shot 8-for-28 (28.6%) from downtown, shot 10-for-14 (71.4%) from the line, outrebounded Washington 49-43, turned the ball over 22 times (only forced 9 turnovers), allowed six Wizards to score in double figures

Again, I must say those numbers for the free throws sicken me. No Sonic went to the line for more than four shots tonight, and the team only went to the line 14 times in all. Last night I was complaining when they went to the line 24 times when their shots weren't falling (though they shot better tonight), so you can imagine what I'm thinking after this game. I mentioned it a few paragraphs ago, but if Ray Allen's missing a ton of shots, I wish there was a point where he could decide that he's just going to take everything to the rack, and unless he gets called for six charges, he should be okay because he only shoots a crazy 91% or whatever it is from the free throw line. A quick basket in transition can get you some momentun, sure, but like I said last night, if you're playing from behind and want to chip away at a lead, you can take the jumpshot route if they're falling, and you can keep going to the line if they're not (the clock doesn't elapse when you're at the free-throw line). The Sonics are a good free-throw shooting team, and I wish they'd realize this when their jumpers stop falling.

Once again, the positives (other than the third-straight double-double from Rashard Lewis) were Ron Murray and Vitaly Potapenko being able to contribute a bit.

I guess another positive is that Luke Ridnour has officially found his shot again, though shooting is not his main role on the team. Luke's five-game stretch of going 9-for-46 from the field has been since replaced with 27-for-51 shooting (52.9%) in the six games since that brutal stretch. Every time Ridnour puts up a line like he did tonight, it reminds me of what Brent Barry used to do here on a nightly basis. Luke was 2 points and 3 rebounds short of a triple-double tonight.

For the record, in the last three games, all in which Rashard Lewis has gotten double-doubles, the Sonics are 1-2.

It's eating at me, though. Isn't there a point where they're missing all these jumpers and a switch goes off in their heads saying "go to the rack and shoot free throws"? I know this team has been a great shooting team at times this year, but when it's the last game of a five-games-in-nine-days swing, you have to find another way to get it done.

On second thought, maybe the Sonics didn't have the legs to drive to the rack at all because it was their fifth game in nine days. I still think it could have worked though. They need to take advantage of the fact that they're a good free-throw shooting team again.

....aaaaaand I'm spent. Except just mentally, and not both mentally AND physically like the Sonics.

I asked Jinkies why the Sonics lost tonight, and the cat answered, "I am sorry, but I am into other cats only. I thank you for the offer."

I think if I'm ever in a bind trying to figure out how to close a post on this site, Jinkies is my security blanket.

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Two things, television-related.

-- The Rams/Seahawks game WILL be televised on Saturday. KJR purchased 1000 of the remaining tickets and will have them at FX McRory's tomorrow from 3-7pm, and they're collecting $10 minimum donations on every ticket to help out the tsunami victims.

-- Mike Gastineau just had a hilarious rant about how neither of the Husky men's basketball team's games this weekend at USC and UCLA will not be televised. He ripped the Pac10 mercilessly for having the "logic" to put on Arizona/Cal in the Seattle market even though the local team is playing that night. Similarly, a bullcrap occurrence is that Fox Sports West is showing Arizona/Cal to the greater Los Angeles area, but Fox Sports West 2 is showing Washington/USC. Gastineau exclaimed, "double standard!!" It really is. It's true; Pac10 people bitch about "our teams don't get any respect from the big media types!" Well guess what? Every other big conference has a better TV deal than this conference. Gastineau says he can watch a bad Indiana team on his TV set, but the team that plays four miles from his house is on TV less than Indiana. Similarly, Gonzaga is on ESPN and ESPN2 every time you turn around these days, and they'll be on the Deuce tonight.

So yes, a game that would get way better than Arizona/Cal, and involving a popular local team, will not be seen tonight. The hilarious thing is that Gastineau was ranting about this even though the fact that the games won't be on television actually helps KJR because they're the only ones in the Seattle area broadcasting the Huskies tonight, but on radio.

Basically, the Seahawks' revolution will be televised, whereas the Huskies' revolution will not be televised. At least not this weekend.

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We're just two days away from the Rams-Seahawks.

With that, another edition of Dispatched, although it's a shorter one than the last three days.


Jim Thomas: Nutten is doubtful, but may play

Bill Coats: Archuleta gets some relief from back pain

Jeff Gordon: Holt will keep his head up for the shootout in Seattle

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Sports Illustrated writers: Experts pick the NFL playoffs

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Hey, all. Two treats before getting down to business here...

-- Sports-related: the article that ran about the better halves of Mike Hargrove, Mike Holmgren, and Nate McMillan. The Hargroves have beaten out some Navy brats by moving 93 times.

-- Not sports-related: this, found last night by Jeremy. My connection to this song is that a few 2000 Bremerton High classmates and I performed a lyrically-altered version of that song at our graduation (I played drums). So basically, it was about the times and tribulations of high school rather than what Tommy Tutone was singing about in the original song. As for the site itself...absolutely hilarious. The thought of hearing what happened for area code 915 is just side-splitting.

Yes, it's as we thought -- Mike Cameron sold Pokey Reese on Seattle. Well, that and the chance to play alongside Bret Boone again, as he did in Cincinnati. Aaaand the chance to play in the same infield with two big-time players in Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre. Imagine that...players coming here because they see the Mariners stepping up and signing big-name guys. That used to be an entirely foreign concept here.

You know, these are pretty good-sized columns that our friend Derek is cranking out every Thursday. This one's about the bullpen of the Mariners and how Mike Hargrove might manage it. The basic verdict is that signs are encouraging, based on how he worked the bullpen in Baltimore. The Mariners don't have the flamethrower in Jorge Julio, but rather an assortment of arms, ages, and talent levels. Also, who can forget Guardado coming in even with ridiculously huge leads? Good times. Who can forget Kevin Jarvis coming in with the Mariners down only two or so, but finally getting to the other team's arms on offense? I'm glad to see the Assenmacher/Myers comparison, since for me Assenmacher (my mom called him simply "Paul Ass" during the 1995 playoffs) is the first guy I knew of (at the tender age of 13) that was a stereotypical LOOGY. Derek's got Atchison as his righty long man, and I think Atch at least deserves a shot in spring training at the role.

He had an outtie. That's how Pokey says he got his nickname. Like the Miller commercial, I think Pokey might be penalized there for too much information. He turned down a starting job in Tampa Bay to come here? Why am I not surprised? Larry Stone puts in the laundry list of Pokey's injuries in 2001. We thought Rich Aurilia had some weird injuries, but I think Pokey's got him beat.

Before the nitty-gritty here, there's an interesting article on the business perspective for those owning businesses around the Q, gearing up for a bigger windfall for the playoff game. Good stuff. Hooray for Mama Blue as well, who gets some ink later in the article.

Also, I'm kind of shocked that this is even a problem. Trent Dilfer calls it "embarrassing." He's right. A few more games like this and it'd be Atlanta bad. I'm left wondering who to blame...Koren Robinson or Ken Behring?

Dammit, Clare, did you have to rehash that? I didn't need to be reminded. Ugh. Read that if you want to either be sickened, or if you want another big reason why the Seahawks need to win on Saturday.

Dammit, Greg...it's the same thing here too. Though I'd have to say this about Ken Lucas' high school experience -- it sure seems like having three touchdowns called back by the refs is something that only happens in high school or anywhere before the age of 18, doesn't it?

The Seahawks had a running back saying some things, a wide receiver that's out of his mind, and a coach that stands a decent chance of getting the ax if the Seahawks lose on Saturday. The Rams? Well, they're a zoo.

Art Thiel would basically think I'm insane for thinking Mike Holmgren would possibly think about not wanting Shaun to get the rushing title, but I can tell you that was the first thing on my mind at the end of the game last Sunday, and it's not because I convinced myself of this. Holmgren would much rather pass than run, this is no secret to anyone, and it seems to me that on a couple occasions this season, I've seen the Seahawks lose, and the first thing I'm asking myself is "why didn't Shaun Alexander get more touches early in the game?" (early because if the Seahawks are down late, they're passing to save clock) All this while the receivers were dropping balls, and the defense was on the field too long, etc. That's two ways to keep Shaun off the field -- throw a bunch to take away touches, and have the defense suck to limit Seattle possessions (of course, I'm not saying Mike Holmgren has tried to sabotage the defense or anything, though you could hammer his drafting habits of years past if you really wanted to). But back to the article, Thiel blames Alexander for not pass blocking and pretty much questions his toughness and calls the apology press conference "mostly a crock."

We've said it here before, but it needs to be said again.

Mo Morris will not rush for 1696 yards in a season with the Seattle Seahawks.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels have the work week off before ACC play starts in the Dean Dome against Maryland on Saturday.

The Times isn't showing running an article about any Huskies today, but rather ex-Rainier Beach HS star and current USC Trojan Lodrick Stewart. His twin brother Rodrick fell out of favor with then-coach Henry Bibby at USC and eventually transferred out to Kansas. Lodrick basically admits that life is boring as hell without him, but that he thinks "it will be good for [him] and [Rodrick] to go [their] separate ways." Of course, the last two words of the last sentence inevitably bring up this.

In what is no surprise, the USC basketball program is second fiddle or worse than the football program on the same campus. Lodrick Stewart says Henry Bibby "was like a power tripper." The whole section in the article about Bibby is just weird. There's a reason why his own son (who scored 32 last night) can't stand him. Also, Henry Bibby had Robert Swift sign for him and then turn pro. Buuuurrrrrn! Furtherly also (I use also a lot; I need to take a trip to Conjunction Junction, or just a remedial English class), I can't imagine living through how long the promise of a Galen Center has been kept alive. George Raveling said he was trying to lure the O'Bannon brothers to USC and their new arena that would be on the horizon. Both brothers chose UCLA, and won a national title along the way.

The Huskies are at USC tonight and UCLA on Saturday.

Gonzaga starts conference play tonight. The RPI ranks the West Coast Conference as eighth-best in the country. The article says the Bulldogs just might be quicker and might even be better in March. They're younger and they lost a lot from last year's team, but I'm surprised they're doing this well. I thought they'd do pretty well, but they're doing really well right now.

The Bulldogs are at Santa Clara tonight and at Saint Mary's on Saturday.

For my take on the game, simply scroll down one post or if you're in the archive, click here.

Danny O'Neil's got the right headline here. That didn't look like the same team out there that's won 23 times, and it didn't even look like the same team that's lost 5 of their 6 losses this year (I think only one loss might compare to this one). This looked more like last year's team. It seemed like they did nothing like we've been used to seeing. Nothing clicked at all. Ray Allen says that the Sonics probably in hindsight should have put someone bigger on Steve Francis, because Luke Ridnour just wasn't cutting it. After the Sonics got within three, the Magic reeled off a huge run, and scored on nine straight trips down the floor. The Sonics couldn't stop them, and they didn't have another big run left in them. Bonus points to O'Neil for the Vlad stat at the end of the article. Radmanovic scores a full 1.5 points more per game on average when the Sonics end up wining than he does when they lose.

So the Sonics have to bounce back on national television tonight against the Wizards. I expect them to, although the Wizards aren't chop liver this year by any stretch of the imagination. Here's to hoping the Sonics have someone that can contain Gilbert Arenas. All in all, the Sonics still have a chance to be 4-1 on this five-game east coast swing. That's still not bad at all.

Not only do the Sonics still have a chance to go 4-1 on the trip, they have a chance to keep going without losing consecutive games. It still hasn't happened.

Did anything get done between Lon Babby (Ray Allen's agent) and Sonic GM Rick Sund? It doesn't look like too much happened beyond mere formalities (Babby called it a "weather report"), but they don't seem like they hate each other, so that's good.

By the way, that last Tribune link says that the February 16 home game against Golden State has been moved to a 6pm start to accommodate ESPN, who will now be televising the game. That and some thing where if the NBA players and owners don't have a new collective bargaining agreement by July 1, the owners could lock out the players, but really, with the Sonics how they are right now, shove this lockout thing back into the furthest corner of your mind.

Tonight at Washington
Sunday vs. Miami

Seattle beat Spokane 6-3. Like their KeyArena co-tenants, the Thunderbirds also have not lost consecutive games this season. The T-Birds fell behind early in this one but tied the game at 1-1 in the first period. After 30 minutes of play, Seattle suddenly found themselves down 3-1. T-Bird coach Rob Sumner called timeout. Seattle scored the next five goals to win the game. Ladislav Scurko, fresh off playing for Slovakia in the World Junior Championships, scored what held up as the winning goal for Seattle. More impressively, Nate Thompson scored the first, third (tying), and fifth goals for the Thunderbirds, good for a hat trick. Denis Tolpeko and Ryan Gibbons had the two other goals. The T-Birds had five plus-2 skaters in the game. Shots were 34 apiece, and Gavin McHale stopped 31 as Bryan Bridges rested.

Vancouver beat Prince George 6-3. Amazingly, Vancouver did the same exact thing as Seattle did, as they too scored five straight goals after being down 3-1. However, the Vancouver victory was in much more dramatic fashion -- four third-period goals. Incredible. There were three two-goal scorers in the game. Dustin Byfuglien scored the first two goals for the Cougars, and Brett Parker notched the third for the Cougars in the first period. Matt Robinson scored the first goal of the game, which gave Vancouver an early lead, but then Prince George came away with their aforementioned offense of the night. Conlan Seder cut the deficit for the Giants to 3-2 in the second period. Vancouver was down 3-2 heading into the third. I did mention that there were three two-goal scorers in the game. I've named one of the three, but here come the other two. Mitch Bartley scored the tying (on the power play) and winning goals for the Giants, and Gilbert Brule sealed the deal with the last two goals of the game. Adam Courchaine tallied three assists. Paul Albers and Cody Franson (one assist) were both plus-3 on the night. The Cougars put up 21 shots on backup backup Tyson Sexsmith, and he stopped 18. The WHL boxscore isn't showing any line right now for Real Cyr, so I can't give you much in terms of which team outshot which. Tyson Sexsmith, age 15, stopped 18 for the Giants.

Manitoba shut out Cleveland, 3-0 (video). Ryan Kesler and Lee Goren scored in the first period for the Moose, and Josh Green tallied with the empty net in the third period. Wade Flaherty did the rest in net. Jason King had three assists and was the only plus-2 skater on the night. Shots were 23 apiece and Flaherty stopped everything that got to him for his third shutout of the year.

Tomorrow: Kelowna at Seattle, Spokane at Everett, Portland at Saskatoon, Vancouver at Prince George, Puget Sound at River City
Saturday: Tri-City at Seattle, Kamloops at Everett, Portland at Prince Albert, Vancouver at Kelowna, Edmonton at Manitoba, Puget Sound at River City
Sunday: Edmonton at Manitoba

Have a great Thursday, everyone.

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