Shortly after the T.O. experiment predictably was declared over, rookie Russell Wilson was named the winner in the Seahawks’ astonishing quarterback competition; the Mariners had a fabulous start to the week but a lamentable, rain-soaked ending, and the Sounders had the fourth hat trick in franchise history in a six-goal extravaganza against Chivas. This Was The Week That Was:
AUG. 20-26, 2012
- GOOD WEEK — When head coach Pete Carroll opened the competition this summer, not many gave rookie quarterback Russell Wilson much of a chance to win the starting job. But prevail he did, lapping Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson. His first performance as a starter Friday at Kansas City — 185 yards, two TD passes, a 134.8 passer rating in a 44-14 win — prompted receiver Braylon Edwards to say, “He’s just very impressive. You never want to use the term surprising because I didn’t know necessarily what to expect, but he’s just very impressive to watch. He’s a rookie, but he conducts the offense like a veteran.”
- BAD WEEK — Seattle area golf fans hoping to watch local legend Fred Couples, winner of the recent British Senior Open, play in the Boeing Classic, saw him take only two shots before Couples was forced out of his hometown tournament with a recurrence of a long-lingering back problem. “I didn’t feel good warming up. I hit the tee shot at No. 1, and then my lower back really locked up when I walked down to the second shot. It was like a bomb went off in my lower back.” . . . Storm almost had a miserable week, losing 86-73 to Minnesota Tuesday and 68-66 on a buzzer beater to the Indiana Fever Thursday, but returned to form — all 11 players played for the first time this season — Sunday night by clobbering the road-weary New York Liberty, 84-66.
- PLAYS OF THE WEEK — Eric Thames‘ two-out, two-run double into the right-field corner in the bottom of the eighth Wednesday scored two runs and gave the Mariners a 3-1 win over the Cleveland Indians, Seattle’s season-high eighth straight victory and fourth series win since the All-Star break. Thames delivered what proved to be the game-winning hit after striking out in three consecutive at-bats . . . With his hat trick against Chivas Saturday, Fredy Montero joined Blaise Nkufo (Sept. 18, 2010), Lamar Neagle (Aug. 27, 2011) David Estrada (March 17, 2012) as the only Sounders to achieve the scoring feat.
- STAT OF THE WEEK — The Mariners concluded an 8-1 home stand Wednesday. It marked Seattle’s 15th win in 16 games at Safeco Field, the best 16-game home record in franchise history.
- EX-SEATTLE JOCKS OF THE WEEK — Tennessee Titans Monday named ex-UW star Jake Locker (2007-10) as their starting quarterback over ex-Sehahawk star Matt Hasselbeck. “By no means has this job been handed to Jake. He’s earned it,” said Titans coach Mike Munchak. Obviously. Three days later, Locker threw for 134 yards and two TDs in his first home start at quarterback against the Arizona Cardinals . . . Ex-Mariner Adrian Beltre (2005-09) of Texas hit three home runs in his first three at-bats in the Rangers’ 12-3 win over the Orioles Wednesday and cycled (triple, homer, double, single) for the second time in his career Friday in an 8-0 Texas win (cycled for Seattle Sept. 1, 2008) . . . Ex-Mariner R.A. Dickey (2008) of the Mets collected his 16th win, a 3-1 decision over the Astros, aiding his own cause with an RBI single Saturday.
- SUNDAY, Aug. 26 — After an eon of rain delays, the Mariners lose their third in a row to Chicago, falling 4-3 in seven innings. Kevin Millwood serves as the principal victim. He retires 10 in a row and has a 3-2 lead in the seventh when, with two outs, he gives up his first walk, to Jordan Danks. Umpires halt the action to apply absorbent to basepaths soaked from a steady rain, causing a six-minute delay. Millwood stands in the rain, watching. When play resumes, Millwood’s first pitch becomes a 436-foot home run by backup catcher Tyler Flowers that puts the White Sox ahead 4-3 the winning hit, as it turns out, but it takes nearly two hours to affirm the outcome . . . Seahawks Hit the Road: After Terrell Owens publishes on his Twitter account, “I’m no longer a Seahawk. I THANK the organization 4 the opportunity, I’m truly blessed beyond belief. My FAITH is intact & will NOT waiver (sic),” the Seahawks make it official, cutting the veteran receiver . . . Pete Carroll, via an unusual teleconference Sunday night, tells the world that Wilson has won the right to start the regular season opener, Matt Flynn will back him up and Tarvaris Jackson will be traded to Buffalo as soon as Monday. The Bills offer undisclosed draft pick, and the trade awaited a new deal for Jackson . . . Jay Don Blake captures the Boeing Classic at TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge, defeating Mark O’Meara in a playoff with a birdie on the second hole . . . Storm avert a horrendous week by blitzing the New York Liberty as Sue Bird has 18 points and 10 assists in an 84-66 win over the New York Liberty, playing their fifth road game in nine days.
- SATURDAY, Aug. 25 — Fredy Montero registers a hat trick, all on assists from Mauro Rosales, as the Sounders unleash their biggest offensive barrage of the season in a 6-2 road rout of Chivas USA. With the win, the Sounders move into a tie for second place in the Western Conference with Real Salt Lake . . . The Mariners take a 3-0 lead on Kyle Seager’s three-run homer, but can’t hold off the White Sox, who beat Seattle 5-4, their seventh win in eight games against Seattle in 2012 and their 18th in the past 21 . . . Tom Jenkins fires a 7-under 65 and takes a two-stroke lead over Willie Wood after two rounds of the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge.
- FRIDAY, Aug. 24 — Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson completes 13 of 19 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Seahawks to a 44-14 eradication of the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. With presumed No. 1 Matt Flynn watching in sweats (sore elbow), Wilson throws TD passes of 21 yards to Kellen Winslow Jr. and 11 yards to Charly Martin, and rushes for 59 yards, as the Seahawks improve to 3-0 in the preseason . . . Down 7-2 entering the ninth inning, the Mariners erupt for six runs to take an 8-7 lead, but can’t hold it, losing to the White Sox 9-8 on a Paul Konerko double that Eric Thames catches, but drops when he collides with center fielder Michael Saunders . . . Mark Calcavecchia fires a 7-under-par 65 to take the first round lead in the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge after Seattle native Fred Couples is forced to withdraw after injuring his back with his first shot . . . MLB suspends Tacoma Rainiers pitcher David Pauley for 50 games for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention program. It’s Pauley’s second violation . . . Wenatchee cyclist Tyler Farrar races to his second stage victory in the U.S. Pro challenge, a 117.9-mile leg from Breckenridge, CO., to Colorado Springs.
- THURSDAY, Aug. 23— Lauren Jackson rejoins the Seattle Storm, but scores just four points in a 68-66 loss to Indiana at KeyArena in front of a season-low crowd of 5,819. The Storm held a 66-53 lead with 4:04 remaining, but the Fever went on a 15-0 run, capped by Shavonte Zellous’s three-pointer at the buzzer . . . UW basketball coach Lorenzo Romar plucks assistant coach Lamont Smith, a heralded young recruiter, off the Arizona State staff and reassigns assistant Paul Fortier to director of player personnel and player development.
- WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22 — Eric Thames, acquired by the Mariners from Toronto July 30, ropes a double into the right-field corner in the eighth, scoring Kyle Seager and John Jaso, and giving the Mariners a 3-1 win over the Cleveland Indians for their second consecutive sweep. It’s the eighth straight win for the Mariners. “We’ve been doing what it takes to win,” says Seager. “We’ve been throwing the ball really well. Our pitching has been outstanding. And we’ve been able to get some clutch hits.” . . . UW senior golfer Chris Williams wins the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the world’s top amateur golfer, earning automatic invitations to the 2013 U.S. and British Opens.
- TUESDAY, Aug. 21 — More than 39,000 fans, sporting “King of Perfection” T-shirts, watch Felix Hernandez’s encore to his perfect game. Hernandez isn’t perfect (gave up a hit to his first batter), but good enough to beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1 for his eighth consecutive victory, also the Mariners’ seventh straight win . . . . Rookie Russell Wilson will start at quarterback, over Matt Flynn, against Kansas City Friday in order to see how Wilson responds against the Chiefs’ first-string defense. “He’s carried the style of play from college level to our level in these first couple of preseason games and we’re going to see what that means in game three,” says coach Pete Carroll . . . Lauren Jackson finally rejoins the Storm, but doesn’t play in Seattle’s 86-73 loss to the Minnesota Lynx.
- MONDAY, Aug. 2o — Michael Saunders smacks two home runs and the Mariners defeat the Cleveland Indians 5-3, their fifth straight victory and 13th win in 14 games at Safeco Field. Sanders had been in an 0-for-17 slump before the start of the previous series against Minnesota . . . American League predictably names Felix Hernandez as it Player of the Week following his perfect game against Tampa Bay Aug. 15 . . . Seahawks trade LB Barrett Ruud to New Orleans for an undisclosed future draft choice . . . Wenatchee cyclist Tyler Farrar earns his first victory in more than a year when he takes the opening stage of the U.S. Pro Challenge, a 125.7-mile race from Durango to Telluride, CO.
32: Consecutive batters retired by Felix Hernandez before he gave up a hit Tuesday — one shy of the team record by John Montague in 1977.
12-for-30: What Mariners newcomer Eric Thames (acquired July 30) hit during the Mariners nine-game home stand that ended Wednesday.
For Lauren Jackson’s first game with the team this season, the Seattle Storm drew a season-low 5,819 fans and lost to the Indiana Fever 68-65.
109.2: Jake Locker’s passer rating in the first half Thursday, when he threw two TDs in the first start of his NFL career, for Tennessee against Arizona.
In his first three preseason games with the Seahawks, rookie quarterback Russell Wilson led 12 scoring drives in the 18 possessions he directed.
READS OF THE WEEK
Thiel: Wilson Does It All For Seahawks In Rout: As significant Northwest debuts go, Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was about a dinghy short of Capt. George Vancouver. As for Matt Flynn . . . he seems like the guy who came to town the day after the circus left . . . MORE
Thiel: Wilson’s Elevation Gain No Shocker: Despite a practice-eating lockout, massive churn of talent, temp quarterback, numerous injuries to the offensive line and one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, the Seahawks in 2011 managed to get to 7-9 . . . MORE
Thiel: Felix Throws A Perfect Party, Too: Besbol Fiesta. On a Tuesday night in August: 39,204, dressed in Oregon Duck yellow. On their feet, waving placards and chanting, as if it were the World Cup. Against the Cleveland Indians, fergawdsakes, losers of 24 of their previous 31 games. Imagine if the 5-1 victory had meant as much in the standings as it did in the heart . . . MORE
Wayback Machine: Artie, Bob Cross The Line: The Seattle Times devoted two pages and part of a third to the Seattle Rainiers April 16, 1952 home opener, held at Sicks Stadium against the Los Angeles Angels. The Times, as well as the rival Post-Intelligencer, typically made much of the pre-game festivities, which featured the usual introduction of players and short speeches by Seattle Mayor Allan Pomeroy and PCL Commissioner Clarence Pants Rowland, and printed three stories related to the contest itself, a 6-0 win in front of 12,000 fans . . . MORE
That Was The Week That Was (Aug. 13-19): The Mariners received a perfect game from Felix Hernandez, had two walk-off wins and a sweep of the Minnesota Twins; the Sounders recovered from an ugly Aug. 12-18 by beating the hated Vancouver Whitecaps and taking over sole possession of third place in the MLS West; and the Seahawks romped past Peyton Manning and Denver in a game in which this was the major takeaway: the Seahawks have a quarterback controversy on their hands and the wrong guy is leading . . . MORE
“For me personally, I have had kind of a disaster of a season so this means a whole lot to me to finally get a win” — Tyler Farrar, Wenatchee cyclist, after winning a 125.7-mile race between Durango and Telluride, CO., as part of the seven-day U.S. Pro Challenge
“I think that’s the best game I’ve ever pitched here at Safeco Field. In front of these guys that crowd was unbelievable, and they were all yelling ‘Felix! Felix!’. That’s something good. I got chills. It was like ‘Wow!’ this is unbelievable. This is pretty amazing. This is something special” — Felix Hernandez, Mariners, after a crowd of 39, 204 watched the encore to his perfect game
“It all adds up. We’ve got a bunch of guys out there that are each doing what they need to do to help us win ball games. All the little things add up” — Eric Wedge, Mariners manager, after the Mariners defeated Cleveland 3-1 Wednesday for their eighth consecutive victory
“We’ve got a team in there that’s used to winning these games. We’ve got a coaching staff that’s used to winning these games. We have fans that are used to winning these games, and we didn’t” — Brian Agler, Storm coach, after the Storm lost 68-66 on an Indiana buzzer beater Thursday
“He didn’t do anything he hadn’t been doing. He just continues to show poise and the composure of a guy well beyond three games old” — Pete Carroll, Seahawks coach, after rookie quarterback Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to a 44-14 victory at Kansas City Friday
”I don’t surprise myself, I think because I prepare in the right way. I try to visualize myself being very, very successful, and just positive self-talk, I guess.” — Russell Wilson, Seahawks rookie quarterback, after directing a 44-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs
“I’m on the ground and I feel the ball shoot out and go all the way to center field and can’t do anything. That was rough because we put up six runs in the ninth inning. It’s rough, but that’s the game” — Eric Thames, Mariners right fielder, after his collision with center fielder Michael Saunders resulted in his dropping a Paul Konerko drive, giving the White Sox a 9-8 walk-off win Friday
Hes playing well. I think the second goal that he made where he played the ball to Mauro, he got the ball back and just chipped it over Kennedy as he was coming out. I thought that was a quality goal, a quality finish. Hes very sharp right now and very confident.” — Sigi Schmid, Sounders coach, after Fredy Montero’s hat trick Saturday against Chivas