During a 20-hour span Seattle’s football powers played something like a home-and-away double-header against Arizona rivals. There were notable similarities; among them, local grid fans are glad, were not the final scores.
The Seahawks, with a 22-10 win, managed to split the “twin bill,” dominating the competition Sunday (Oct. 24) largely because they were faced with an often face-down foe, an untested — some would say “unqualified” — substitute quarterback.
The night before the Washington Huskies lost, laughably, 44-14, even though they also were supposedly pitted against a green QB. But the dawdling Dawgs made Matt Scott look less like a second-stringer, more like the greatest quarterback in the history of the University of Arizona. The junior threw 22 times and completed 18, also scampering for 65 yards.
Washington scored first but soon it became apparent that Jake Locker, their marquee player, was plagued with injuries that should have kept the oft-hurt quarterback on the bench.
At Qwest Field the next da,y the Hawks defense bedeviled the sub signal-caller of the Arizona Cardinals. Max Hall was 4 for 16, helping him toward a quarterback rating of 13.5: the pro-football equivalent of the 2010 Seattle Mariners team batting average. The Cardinals brought in Derek Anderson and would start to rally midway through the third quarter, but by then Seattle was up 16-0 and ready to take the outright lead in the NFC West Division.
The local programs are going in opposite directions. The Huskies, 3-4, banged up and playing in Tucson with apparent indifference, face daunting challenges during coming weeks. They take on a top-10-caliber team Oct. 30 when Stanford comes to town. Then it’s a trip to Eugene to meet the number-one team in the country. Handicappers for that one may make Oregon a five-touchdown favorite and even at that the Ducks may beat the betting spread.
For the 4-2 Seahawks, things haven’t been this good for a few seasons. The loss leaves the Cardinals at 3-3; the other two division competitors also lost Sunday and remain in the distance for playoff consideration.
A closer look at the Hawks reveals a mistake-prone franchise, comically so during the third quarter Sunday when Olindo Mare was forced to kick field goals three consecutive times (from 31, 41, then 51 yards) because of teammates’ penalties (Seattle was flagged 10 times for 94 yards). Matt Hasselbeck was left unprotected to the extent that he was sacked five times.
But the club persevered, aided when it was needed by the tough rushing (89 total) of Marshawn Lynch in his second game for Seattle. The other offensive heroes were Mike Williams, the 6’5” pass-catching machine (he wound up with 11 for 87 yards and a touchdown) and Mare, who kicked five field goals, 10 if you include the five that forced do-overs.
Looking over the schedule a month ago the Hawks and their stentorian supporters probably would have penciled in another road win in Oakland next week. Unfortunately, nobody — and that means nobody — could have, would have, much less should have predicted that recently lowly Oakland would go into Denver Sunday and beat a collective dead horse, much less best the Broncos by an Oregon Duck-like 59-14.
Let’s see, then: Denver beat Seattle by 17, Oakland beat the Broncos by 45 . . .
That’s gotta make the Raiders nine-TD faves next week. Maybe to even it out that means the Huskies will pull the upset in their half of next weekend’s home-and-away Seattle-football double-header with Bay Area foes.