TOP OF THE TOWN – One of the most amazing football games I have seen in a long while happened Saturday (Sept. 18), and I have seen hundreds if not thousands of games. And in the middle of it all was a former Washington Husky quarterback, Jake Haener, who left the program in the fall of 2019 when he was beaten out for the starting QB job by Jacob Eason, now the backup for the Indianapolis Colts (he may start this Sunday because Carson Wentz is injured). Haener popped up through the transfer portal at Fresno St where the 6-foot-1 product of Danville, Calif. became the Bulldogs’ starter. A successful one, too. He has now thrown for 3,485 yards and 24 touchdowns with six interceptions. This season, Haener has led the Bulldogs to a 3-1 record. Their only loss was a tight one, 31-24 to third-ranked Oregon.  He has led the Mountain West Bulldogs to a 22nd ranking in the latest AP Football Poll. They are a genuine power, thanks to Haener. That brings me to last Saturday’s game, which pitted the Bulldogs against the 13th-ranked Bruins of UCLA.  Haener in the game against UCLA took a brutal hit as he released a 19-yard touchdown pass with 2:55 in the game to give the Bulldogs a 33-30 lead. UCLA went back ahead 37-33 with just under one minute to play. Haener, in obvious pain from the hit (he was bent over at times while directing the Bulldogs back down the field) took just 40 seconds to complete a 75-yard drive that ended with him firing a 13-yard TD that proved to be the game-winner in a 40-37 stunner. After Haener threw the pass he crumpled to the ground. I don’t think I have ever seen such a performance from a quarterback, and one that was hurt and probably shouldn’t been out on the field. Haener kept getting knocked down by the Bruins, but he continued to stagger back up and amazingly continue to throw darts to his receivers. He completed 39 of 63 passes for 455 yards and two TDs and was so battered at the end he should have been airlifted to the nearest hospital. Afterwards he told a Los Angeles’ ABC affiliate, “My body hurts so bad.” His performance was noticed. He was named the Mountain West player of the week and was added to the Davey O’Brien Great 8 list and is now eligible for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. … I have repeatedly told our youngest son, Michael, that the Seahawks aren’t as good as you think. We often get hyped up over our hometown or regional teams during the preseason, but just as often that hype is unjustified. The Seahawks are good, but not great. They were exposed once again last Sunday by Tennessee. Their pass rush was not as good as it was in the season-opener against the Colts and their secondary leaks big-time. It’s no secret the corners are not up to snuff. The Hawks for weeks leading up to the season opener tried different combinations at the position and worked the waiver wire for additions. But it’s just not the corners that are a problem. Coverage by the linebackers and safety are suspect. I saw this last season, also. Opponents routinely moved the ball down the field by completing mid-range passes over the middle, often to tight ends. And once again the offensive line is leaky. Russell Wilson also showed he is human. Sometimes we forget that because he has become such a positive figure and has pulled out many victories from near-certain defeat with his almost magical powers. But his magic wand didn’t work against Tennessee and he overthrew two bad passes in overtime that should never been attempted. As coach Pete Carroll pointed out, it would have been best to move the chains down the field with shorter passes to at least put the Titans in bad field position if they got the ball back. It really doesn’t matter now. Now, the Hawks must patch up their defensive problems because they visit Minnesota this Sunday and that will be no picnic in the park. I figure the Seahawks are an average team that will likely finish last in the tough NFC West division, which is arguably the toughest in the NFL. Of course, maybe Carroll and Wilson will pull a rabbit out of a hat and surprise a lot of people, including me. That’s it for today. Stay safe.

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