Tough road ahead for Hawks, Dawgs & links

OK, maybe we let our heart get in the way our our brains last week.

I didn’t pick the Washington Huskies to beat Oregon, but I thought the Dawgs were ready to give the Ducks a game. Surely, they’d cover the spread (20.5 points).

Wrong.

I thought the Seattle Seahawks would regroup and handle the Rams in St. Louis.

Wrong.

They did regroup, but it was too late. The Rams rode some special teams tricky to a 28-26 victory and the Seahawks are suddenly 3-3.

Seattle’s defense isn’t nearly as dominating as it was a year ago, but the biggest problem remains the Hawks’ offensive line. They allowed three sacks and had three holding penalties and QB Russell Wilson was running for his life, especially in the first half when the Seahawks fell behind 21-3 at one point.

At the start of the season, I thought these Seahawks might be even better than last year’s Seahawks.

Wrong.

Even after last week’s loss to Dallas, I thought the Hawks were still the team to beat in the NFC.

Wrong.

Arizona (5-1) might be the best team, even better than Dallas (5-1) and Philadelphia (6-1) and don’t forget about the Packers (4-2) or 49ers (3-3). The Seahawks are still in the mix, but they’ve put themselves in a precarious position. At 3-3, they don’t have a lot of room for error and the schedule is far tougher than it was a year ago with road games left against Carolina (Oct. 26), Kansas City (Nov. 16) and Philadelphia (Dec. 7) and home-and-home games still to play with the Cardinals and 49ers.

We were reminded that the previous eight Super Bowl champions didn’t win a playoff game the following year. So the Seahawks didn’t have history on their side when the season started, but to suggest they might not make the playoffs seemed pretty far-fetched.

Now? Well, maybe not so much.

Pete Carroll, interviewed on 710 ESPN radio Monday morning, said, “The story is not written right now.”

What about those Huskies?

The Oregon-Washington game was a total mismatch. Oregon’s 45-20 victory, their 11th straight over the Huskies, was far more convincing than I figured it would be. Washington’s defense, so impressive the week before while holding Cal to seven points, couldn’t stop the run or the pass. And Washington’s offense didn’t look so hot either against an Oregon defense that has struggled at times.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota played like a Heisman Trophy winner and the Ducks didn’t look anything like the team that barely beat Washington State 38-31 and lost to Arizona 31-24.

If Oregon runs the table against Cal, Stanford, Utah, Colorado and Oregon State, they should wind up in college football’s four-team national playoff. But in college football’s most unpredictable season, who can say for sure what’s going to happen from week to week?

As for Washington, it’s back to the drawing board, as a disappointed coach Chris Petersen pointed out after the loss.  The Huskies were also beat up physically in Eugene. QB Cyler Miles left with a possible concussion, and if he’s not available, it appears redshirt  freshman Troy Williams will be the starter. He won the backup job over Jeff Lindquist and played most of the fourth quarter after Miles was injured.

The UW has six games left, including a tough home game against Arizona State on Oct. 26 (7:45 p.m., ESPN), and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Huskies went 4-2 or 1-5. At the start of the season, I predicted Washington would finish 10-3, tied for second in the Pac-12 North. Now my brain tells me they’re looking more like an 8-5 team that will find itself playing in the Cactus Bowl (Jan. 2 at Tempe, Ariz.) or Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 20).

Some links

The St. Louis Surprise. Mike Silver of NFL.com writes about Jeff Fisher’s call for a fake punt on fourth down, the play that sealed the Rams’ upset of the Seahawks on Sunday.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com writes about how the Percy Harvin trade hurts Seattle’s chances to repeat.

At 3-3, Seattle is not in desperation mode, but the Seahawks’ flaws are showing, writes Don Banks of SI.com.

Percy Harvin trade makes sense for Jets.

Art Thiel of Sportspressnw.com puts the latest Seahawks loss on coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider.

Remember Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni? Well, if you’re old as dirt, like me, you do. He was the slugging first baseman for the Kansas City Royals’ 1985 World Series champions. Now? He’s an advance scout for the San Francisco Giants. It’ll be a strange, trip for Balboni when he returns to KC this week for the start of the World Series.

Hard to believe but Tim Lincecum, only 30, is now a bit player with the Giants, the backup long relief pitcher as San Francisco heads to the World Series.

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