The allure of the deuce

For both the Huskies and the Seahawks, it was a weekend when going for two made all kinds of sense.
For both the Huskies and the Seahawks, it was a weekend when going for two made all kinds of sense.


Such was the stentorian roar late Saturday afternoon from the front seats at the Duchess Tavern, possibly the second-best place in the world to watch Husky football.

The University of Washington had just nudged up the point count 22-14 against UCLA at the Rose Bowl. An eight-point margin obviously means an opponent can tie with a touchdown and a two-point conversion. The collective wisdom at Ravenna'ꀙs unofficial Husky home away from home was that a 10-point spread via a Dawg deuce conversion was preferable to a nine-point lead, the latter not much better than an eight-point advantage, hence:


Yet again, then, was demonstrated the futility of trying to have a conversation (much less a conversion) via an inanimate object such as, say, a plasma TV set. Not only did Husky mentors settle on a safe but, ultimately, regrettable one-pointer. 'ꀜCoverage'ꀝ by FOX Sports was such that the viewing audience didn'ꀙt even get to see Erik Folk thump one for the Huskies'ꀙ 23rd and final point of the game. The Bruins quickly scored seven, then kicked a fourth-quarter field goal, toting up the 24-23 final.

One scanned the available post-game quotes from Husky personnel, looking in vain for so much as a mention of the decision to take the safe solo point. Obviously, had the Huskies amassed 24 instead of 23 it would have affected whatever strategy UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel might have contemplated late in the game. Had the Dawgs gone for two and missed it, the score during the final (futile) UW possession would have been 24-22, with victory still just a field goal away.

'ꀜShoulda gone for two,'ꀝ a Duchess patron, hoarse from issuing orders to the TV set, reiterated when the game ended.

As it is, the game extends the Huskies'ꀙ string of losses on the road, a skein seeming to stretch back to about the Reagan era. It also leaves the club 3-6 with a trio remaining in the quest to get back to the apparent respectability of a .500 season. A 4-8 final mark seems more realistic, with a — what else? — road loss likely this Saturday against Oregon State and a split at home (beating Wazzu Nov. 28 and losing the finale a week later against Cal).

The next day, with 2:32 left in the third quarter, the Seattle Seahawks took their first lead, 22-17 over the Detroit Lions. A five-point lead typically means you try for a two-pointer. Fans at Qwest Field and those seeing the game on TV didn'ꀙt need to shout what was on their minds because it would have seemed obvious enough for a whisper to suffice:

'ꀜ(go for two.)'ꀝ

Instead, the Hawks lined up for the single point, which quickly became an impromptu, failed attempt at two when the kick-holder muffed the snap.

The play didn'ꀙt figure in the 32-20 Seahawks victory, an outcome that seemed unlikely after a first quarter in which the Lions, among the league'ꀙs worst teams the past three seasons, took advantage of a casual Seattle defense and Hawk turnovers their first two possessions, mounting a 17-0 lead.

But Matt Hasselbeck was commanding for the home team. After getting picked on his first toss (Detroit would suffer five interceptions of its own), the Hawks QB was 39 for 51. His 329 yards amounted to his first 300-yard effort of a season abbreviated by rib injuries. Nate Burleson'ꀙs seven grabs set an aggressive tone for a game that had begun in the lackadaisical fashion of the recent Seahawks home loss to Arizona.

It seems astonishing to note that the 3-5 Hawks actually could revenge the Cardinal loss and start to redeem the season with what seems an unlikely shot at winning in Arizona next week. Such a feat, though, actually would bring the team within a game of first place in their crummy division.

In any case, fans during the aftermath of Sunday'ꀙs win seemed unconvinced that this incarnation of their faves is capable of playoff contention. Bloggers groused about the lackluster start, noting, after all, that this is just one win in a row.

Then again, there must'ꀙve have been a few out there feeling positive enough to, if not shout or even murmur it, at least observe the meager single-game win streak and think to themselves:

'ꀜHey, why not go for two?'ꀝ


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