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Bad Beats -- Weekly Review

   by Ben Burns - 10/22/2008

This week, I've recapped two of my plays from the past weekend. Both could have easily gone the other way.

Oregon State at Washington

The final score of 34-13 doesn't reveal what a tough loss this was for those of us who took the (+16) points with the home underdog. Coming off a bye and desperately trying to earn their first victory, the Huskies were in this game nearly the entire way.

After relinquishing a rare early lead, Washington managed to move the ball up and down the field quite effectively. In fact, the Huskies ran more total plays (60-57) than the Beavers and the teams were almost even in terms of first downs, time of possession and total yards. The Huskies held the ball for 29 minutes and finished the game with 16 first downs and 377 yards.

The Beavers were only slightly ahead in those categories. They held the ball for 31 minutes while racking up 19 first downs on the strength of 421 total yards. Statistically, it was the Huskies' best game of the entire season.

Of course, as is generally the case, turnovers played a major role. Washington QB Ronnie Fouch threw for nearly 300 yards but was also picked off three times while losing a key fumble. Despite the turnovers, missed field goals and squandered opportunities, the Huskies were very much in position to earn the "backdoor cover." Trailing 34-13 in the final few minutes, they advanced all the way to the Beavers' one-yard line. Cue the dagger. The Huskies ran the ball four straight plays and were stuffed on every one of them!

Ty Willingham, who will surely be one of the next coaches fired, summed up the obvious: "Our football team, I thought, fought to the very end and played hard but didn't do enough of the right things to put ourselves in position to win."

Seattle at Tampa Bay

I had Seattle in this game and admit that it was a rather fortunate victory. (It's true. Every once in a long while, I'm actually on the "right" side of a "bad beat!") The -11 Buccaneers led the entire way. After forcing a punt, the Bucs scored a touchdown on their opening possession. By halftime, they'd extended their lead to 17-0. The score could have easily been more lopsided.

A Matt Bryant field goal, with roughly five minutes remaining, gave Tampa a 20-3 lead. Cue the dagger. Given excellent field position thanks to a big kick-off return, Seneca Wallace went to work directing the Seattle 2-minute offense. Eight plays, two minutes and 39 seconds and one fourth down conversion later, Seattle had the ball in the end zone. That brought the score to 20-10 and no more points were scored.

The Bucs would finish with a whopping 402-176 edge in total yards to go along with their 22-7 advantage in first downs. Tampa ran nearly twice as many plays and held the ball for almost 42 minutes. As Bucs safety Sabby Piscitelli had to say: "I think the defense played great. But the biggest thing was the offense kept us off the field." Tough loss for those who laid the points!

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