NFC West Champions! They won’t get any style points for their 16-6 victory over the Rams, but neither that nor their 7-9 record counts now. Throw it out the window. The Hawks are “in the tournament,” as Bill Parcells likes to say, and will host New Orleans Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Tickets available!
Who Woulda Thunk It? Nothing encapsulated the unexpectedness of this division championship than seeing the wild embrace between Charlie Whitehurst and Leon Washington as time wound down. One with 2 career pass attempts coming into the season, the other coming off a compound leg fracture, out celebrating their roles in leading a team to the playoffs.
MBA spearheads SoCal sweep: For only the third time ever, the Huskies won at USC and UCLA in the same year. Thank Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who had big games against the Pac-10’s two best front lines. In past years, MBA has disappeared against top competition. (Last year against UCLA, he was benched after just four minutes.) This year, Bryan-Amaning scored a game-high 21 points and 10 boards, and will almost assuredly get Pac-10 Player of the Week award.
What they’re saying…
“Was that fun or what?” — Pete Carroll
“Its ok if you’re a Hawks fan and didn’t believe we would be division champs.. Just don’t let it happen again. Hahahah.” — Mike Williams, via Twitter
“They don’t put season record on the caps, just put division champs. Go Hawks.” — Walter Jones, via Twitter
“Great TEAM win.. We played hard fought thru adversity and got the LA SWEEEEEPPPPP!!! ‘Bandwagons FULL but u can run behind it.'” UW guard Isaiah Thomas, via Twitter.
“The Seahawks making the playoffs at 7-9 is the most Seattle thing ever.” — @aaroncampeau
More on Seahawks/Rams…
Pete Carroll didn’t say if Whitehurst would start next week. He did point out, though, that Whitehurst’s mobility played a big part in the Seahawks’ success today. Whitehurst ran 8 times for 28 yards, and on his TD pass to Mike Williams rolled right and threw back across his body. Whitehurst clearly has a stronger arm and more mobility. But he’s also clearly less accurate than Hasselbeck.
Receiver Ruvell Martin, plucked off the trash heap mid-season, had the biggest play of the game, a 61-yard reception on the Seahawks’ only TD drive. It was the longest reception of Martin’s career.
Linebacker Will Herring had the other, a 4th-quarter interception on what was apparently a miscommunication between Sam Bradford and a receiver. It was the first interception of Herring’s career.
How about Russell Okung? Playing on that damaged ankle, which forced him out of the game briefly, Okung controlled Whitehurst’s blind side. The Rams did not record a sack.
If they had lost, the Seahawks would’ve picked 8th in the 2011 draft. Now, as a playoff team, they’ll pick no higher than 21st.
In other news…
That Husky d-line that looked so good in the Holiday Bowl looks to be getting even better. Auburn High DL Danny Shelton signed with the Huskies. The 6-3, 286 lb. Shelton is the nation’s 12th-best d-lineman according to Rivals.com.
Check out local kid and former Seahawk Nate Burleson’s blingy Mariners, Sonics, and Storm jewelry.
With Mark Sanchez resting for the playoffs, former Husky Mark Brunell started yesterday for the Jets and threw 2 TD passes.
The Zags seem to have righted the ship–they’ve won their last six including wins over Baylor, Xavier, Oklahoma State and, last night, at Wake Forest.
Despite 7 three-pointers by freshman Sterling Carter, Seattle U lost 84-64 to Pepperdine.
Today in SPNW…
Orange Bowl: Stanford vs. Virginia Tech, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)