My extremely late rant about last weekend's horrible football games...

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My extremely late rant about last weekend's horrible football games...
This probably should have been posted on Monday, but I’ve been a busy man. So here you go.
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First off, a few links that I found particularly interesting:
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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/seahawks/2008238321_hawk08.html(Seattle Seahawks beat writer Danny O’Neil writes this article about how the Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is going to be focusing a lot more on the rushing game for success this year. Note: Before the season started, Holmgren made it very clear he wanted to get back to passing a lot more. Kind of a huge turn of strategy.)
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http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/seahawks/2008/10/07/defense_rests.html(O’Neil talks about what exactly the problem has been with the defense. This isn’t necessarily a HUGE problem…but it is an area of concern, as O’Neil states. When a defense gets shredded for 40 or more points in three of its last seven games, things aren’t right)
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http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/seahawks/2008/10/06/branch_bruised.html(WR Deion Branch, who missed the first three games recovering from surgery last offseason, suffered a bruised heel Sunday at New York. I have yet to hear if he’ll be ready on Sunday.)
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http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/seahawks/2008/10/07/courtney_taylor_3.html(Seahawks WR Courtney Taylor was waived by the Seahawks. I don’t know how I feel about that, but he had a chance to prove himself at Buffalo when six of our top seven WRs were injured, and you felt like superglue was the only thing that was going to help him make a catch. Let’s just say, I’m not crying about this.)
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http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/seahawks/2008/10/08/matt_hasselbeck_4.html(Starting QB Matt Hasselbeck might not practice the rest of the week, but Holmgren said he “needs” to play Sunday. Agreed! Without Hasselbeck, the Seahawks are 1-4 after Sunday.)
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http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/football/ncaa/10/07/extended.rankings3/index.html(Washington is ranked 99th by SI.com—yes, even below Washington State. I will say this much. If the Huskies had Portland State on their schedule, we’d at least have one victory as well.)
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http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=859678(Yet another article on former Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin and his potential interest in Washington)
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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/budwithers/2008238533_withers08.html(Seattle Times columnist Bud Withers talks about what exactly has gone wrong with the Washington football program)
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http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/huskyfootball/2008/10/08/_woodward_hugh_millen_i.html(Former Husky quarterback Hugh Millen took issue with coach Tyrone Willingham taking the redshirt off freshman WR Cody Bruns in Saturday’s blowout loss at Arizona. Millen’s complaint is that it was 38-7 when Bruns was put in. Why waste a redshirt in a blowout loss? Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano defended the decision saying Bruns wanted to play. But multiple sources—according to Millen—say otherwise. Interesting.)+Finally for some postseason baseball news…
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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/mariners/2008238532_mari08.html(Seattle Times Mariners beat writer Larry Stone writes this article about the team’s search for a new general manager.)
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Okay, enough with the links. Last weekend had to be one of the most frustrating sports weekends for me in a long time. The Huskies and Seahawks lost by a combined score of 92-20. I expected Washington to get crushed, and while I expected the Seahawks to lose, I thought they’d at least be competitive. I won’t waste any time talking much about the Huskies because it’s not worth it. There’s absolutely nothing that can be said about them that hasn’t already been said. They’re 0-5 for the first time since 1969 and it’s quite possible—especially with Jake Locker being injured—that they will finish 0-12. The Huskies have played 12 true freshmen this season—setting a school record. They’re way too young and way too inexperienced to think they have a chance against anyone they play—even Washington State. Seattle Times Huskies blogger Bob Condotta said it best. “Right now, there isn’t much to analyze or debate. The cold, hard truth is that the Huskies just aren’t very good in any area. It really doesn’t matter much what they do, or what the other team does. The basic difference in these games right now is that the Huskies just aren’t as good as their opponent, in any area.”
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So there you have it. Greg Hansen, a columnist for the Arizona Daily Star, said this Huskies team is so bad it rivals the Oregon State teams that used to go 1-10, the 2-10 Arizona team from 2003, the one-win Stanford team in 2006 and the one-win California team in 2001. Here’s his article: http://www.azstarnet.com/sports/260946
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The following two links (Okay, I lied earlier about being done) are from Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer. The first is about how Tyrone Willingham needs to just be put out of his misery and the second is his blog, which includes proof that Willingham doesn’t care about the long-term situation of the program anymore. (Hint: It has to do with playing Bruns on Saturday.)http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/jerrybrewer/2008229194_brewer05.html
http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/brewer/2008/10/04/husky_recap_game_5.html
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That’s enough about the Huskies. If only they weren’t the only disappointment last weekend.
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The Seahawks proved to be even more of a disappointment. I can’t remember the last time the Seahawks lost by as many as they did Sunday. That’s probably because I was 13 when it happened last. The last time the Seahawks lost by 38 or more was in their 1997 season opener—a 41-3 loss to the New York Jets. Some interesting stats that make Sunday’s result not completely surprising though:
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The Seahawks are now 10-19 in the Eastern time zone since Holmgren took over in 1999. The Seahawks are now 5-15 in games immediately following a bye week (2-8 since Holmgren took over).The Seahawks have also now lost five consecutive road games by a combined score of 177-87.
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And since I’m so much of a stat freak, here are some more:
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In their last seven games—dating back to last season—the Seahawks’ defense has allowed an average of 32 points per game.
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In their lost seven games—dating back to last season—the Seahawks have allowed at least 30 points five times, and at least 40 points three times. Now time to put all that into perspective. In the 26 games prior to this most recent seven-game stretch, the Seahawks allowed 30 or more points just once. They hadn’t allowed 40 in a game since Dec. 6, 2004.
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This is the worst stretch in terms of points allowed per game for the Seahawks since 2006 when in five games between Sept. 24 and Oct. 29, the Seahawks allowed an average of 32.2 points per game. The Seahawks also had a seven-game stretch from Nov. 28, 2004 to Jan. 8, 2005 when they allowed an average of 30.7 points per game.
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So yeah, those are some pretty bad statistics. But there’s got to be a bright side, right? Not if you listen to ESPN and all the talking heads that call the Seahawks “terrible.” But that’s what I’m here for. To bring some sanity to the debate.
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1) I mentioned the 26-game stretch where the Seahawks allowed 30 or more points just once. That shows how good this defense can be. Last year—with the same exact players on defense—the Seahawks allowed an average of 19.28 points per game. Not too shabby in my book. Certainly, there were defenses which were better. But that’s pretty good. So, Seahawks fans have a choice. Whine about a relatively short period of time where the defense hasn’t been so good, or remain optimistic knowing how good it’s proven it can be.
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2) Even though the defense has been struggling, the offense seems to continue playing well. Even despite Sunday’s performance, the Seahawks offense is averaging 25.6 points in its last seven games. Once again, not too shabby.
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3) This next stat took a little more research, but I think it’s very telling. The Seahawks are 49-12 with Matt Hasselbeck as their starter when they allow 25 or fewer points. Think about that for a second. 25 points is quite the cushion. How many teams can say as long as their defenses keep the opponent under 25, they’ll win 80 percent of the time? So as long as the defense plays semi-respectable, Seahawks fans really have nothing to worry about.
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Nevertheless, I know a lot of people are probably worrying about this most recent performance. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t at all disconcerting. But I’ve seen this team look like absolute crap before only to come out the next week and perform spectacularly. I remember in 2006 when the Seahawks dropped a Sunday night game at Chicago 37-6 only to come back the next week and pull of a gritty 30-28 win at St. Louis. The Rams were 4-1 and even led the Seahawks 21-7 in the second half of that game. Last year the Seahawks started 3-1 and then dropped three of four—including a home game against the then-winless New Orleans Saints. With everybody saying how horrible the Seahawks were, they came back and reeled off six victories in seven games, including a tough road win at Philadelphia.
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Next, I hate using this as an excuse because I know a lot of people look at it as just that. A stupid excuse from a disgruntled and ignorant fan. Consider this record though: 15-50. That’s the record of west coast teams from the AFC and NFC combined on the road in games that start at 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time since the start of the 2005 season. This year, west coast teams are a combined 0-10 in games that start at 10 a.m. PST. In fact, if you take it back all the way to 2002, west coast teams are winning at just a 24 percent clip in games that start at 10 a.m. There was a debate just a couple minutes ago on NFL Live between former NFL players Mark Schlereth and Tim Hasselbeck regarding this topic. Hasselbeck took the stance that the NFL needs to allow games that involve west coast teams playing on the east coast to be delayed until 4 p.m. eastern standard time. Hasselbeck went on to say that as fans, we can’t underestimate the impact traveling cross country and playing at 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time has on teams. “The stats don’t lie,” he said. Schlereth took the opposing side and stated that west coast teams need to just “buck up, go out there and play.” He cited an example from 1997 when he was with the Denver Broncos. The Broncos had their flight to Buffalo delayed due to a snowstorm, and were dead tired when the game started. Nevertheless, the Broncos still pulled out the “W”—a 23-20 overtime defeat. I looked at that game’s box score though. Denver was 6-1 going into that game and Buffalo was 4-3. Not only that, the Broncos had these two guys named John Elway and Terrell Davis. Don’t know if you’ve ever heard of them. Denver was CLEARLY the better team. So one could argue the fact that they only won by a field goal in overtime shows how uneven it is. Of course, none of that excuses Seattle’s 33-30 OT loss to San Francisco at home, but two of the Seahawks losses have been on the east coast at 10 a.m. PST. I don’t know if changing the start time would really help, but it’s definitely something that should be looked into I think.
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Like I said though. I’m not too worried right now. The Seahawks have a chance to get a win this week at home against Green Bay—another injury-riddled team. If they can’t figure things out against the Packers, I may start to worry a little bit more.
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Here is Steve Kelley’s most recent doom and gloom article.
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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/stevekelley/2008231255_kelley06.html
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What I found especially humorous was one of his opening lines. He says, “But this isn’t a good football team. For the first time since the 2003 season, it doesn’t look like a playoff team.” Really Steve? Because I think I remember you saying the same thing LAST year.
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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/stevekelley/2003950499_kelley15.html
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“Paraphrasing a former NFL coach, after an especially egregious defeat many seasons back, “Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs? The Seahawks couldn’t even beat the previously winless New Orleans Saints on a perfect Sunday night in Seattle. Forget their good geographic fortune and the fact they reside in the tepid NFC West. Ignore the standings that show the Hawks tied for the division lead. They aren’t playing like a postseason team. Not even close.”
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Message to Seahawks fans: Don’t be like Steve! Have a little more faith. If you read his articles at the end of last season, he was the biggest cheerleader you could find on the Seahawks’ bandwagon. He’s weak, he’s fair-weather and hardly worth taking seriously.
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Don’t ever forget: in sports, things can turn around in a hurry.+I know that staying optimistic during such turbulent times is difficult. But consider the words of Vic Ketchman, senior editor for jaguars.com as my final thought:
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“Yes, teams can recover from bad starts. Look at the 2001 Redskins. They started 0-5, won eight of the next 11 and came within one score of making the playoffs. I covered a team in 1989 that lost its first two games by a combined score of 92-10, but it made it into the playoffs and came within one score of the AFC title game. Yeah, it can be done…”
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