Ravens

Wilson continuing to grow as Seahawks QB

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Wilson continuing to grow as Seahawks QB

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Eight games into his inaugural campaign as starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson has begun to find a groove.

The Seahawks have put more on Wilson's plate in recent weeks as Seattle has gone to the passing game more frequently. Seattle has averaged over 30 carries a game for the season. But of Seattle's four games with fewer than 30 carries, three have come in the last three weeks.

Part of that has been because of the increased faith in Wilson.

Wilson has responded by putting together two of his best performances in the last three weeks. Wilson rallied the Seahawks from 13 points down in the fourth quarter to stun the New England Patriots. Wilson threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns as the Seahawks won 24-23 at home.

Wilson then had his most efficient game last week against the Detroit Lions, going 25 for 35 for 236 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Wilson again led his team to a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter but Seattle's defense couldn't hold the lead in a 28-24 loss to the Lions.

``He has 10 games under his belt counting preseason so he's been out there quite a bit,'' head coach Pete Carroll said. ``He has benefited tremendously and he's extremely poised about taking on the challenges of it. That gives him a chance to play like he's capable of. So we're just trying to fit it together as well as we possibly can right now.''

Wilson has managed to keep the Seahawks in every game they've played this season and has led go-ahead touchdown drives in the fourth quarter in three of Seattle's four victories. All four of Seattle's losses have come by less than a touchdown. Still, Wilson knows there were opportunities he let slip away at the end of the game in the first half of the season.

``I wish I had a couple more wins on my belt,'' Wilson said. ``We've lost a couple games right there at the end but the great thing about it is that, for me as a rookie playing the quarterback position, all those games have come down to the end of the game. I don't think it can get any better in terms of being a rookie for this organization, and for me personally, to be in those situations, and understand those situations that much better, and still play at a high level during those tough situations.''

Carroll had said the Seahawks ``kept a lid'' on Wilson early in the season in order to let Wilson ease into the role. Now the reins are off and Wilson is taking full advantage.

``We're going to continue to grow,'' Carroll said. ``There's nothing holding us back right now. We're really moving and he's done a marvelous job of continuing to progress and not having any fallbacks.''

NOTES: WR Doug Baldwin returned to full participation in practice Thursday, two weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain against the San Francisco 49ers. RB Marshawn Lynch (back) and G John Moffitt (knee) also fully participated. ... WR Braylon Edwards (knee), DT Jason Jones (ankle) and DT Greg Scruggs (oblique) did not practice. ... CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring) was limited.

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Ahead of NFL Draft, Ravens add to wide receiver corps with Willie Snead

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USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of NFL Draft, Ravens add to wide receiver corps with Willie Snead

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Receiver Willie Snead has bid farewell to the Saints, which means New Orleans apparently won't match the contract the Baltimore Ravens offered the restricted free agent.

Eager to add a target for quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens on Friday offered Snead a two-year, $10.4 million contract. The Saints had five days to match the deal. Snead indicated Monday on Twitter that he's headed out of New Orleans.

Snead tweeted: "What I'm going to miss most is the men in the locker room & the coaches."

He added: "Even though I'm sad to go, I'm even more excited for the next chapter in my life. I can't wait to strap it on as a Baltimore Raven."

Hampered by a three-game suspension and a hamstring injury, Snead was limited to eight catches for 92 yards last year.

In 2015, he had 69 receptions for 984 yards. He caught 72 passes for 895 yards in 2016.

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Was Columbus' travel a factor in the Caps' series comeback?

Was Columbus' travel a factor in the Caps' series comeback?

Whenever a playoff series ends, the analysis begins soon after. Why did this team win? Why did this team lose? Why did this player perform while this one did not?  This is an exercise performed by media, players and coaches alike, especially for teams that walk away from a series believing they let an opportunity slip away.

The Columbus Blue Jackets fell to the Washington Capitals in six games despite taking a 2-0 series lead by winning both opening games in Washington. Head coach John Tortorella will have all summer to think about what he could have done differently and what went wrong for his team, but it sounds like he already has at least one theory as to why they lost.

In a series that featured four overtime games, Game 4 stands out as being far more one-sided than the others. Washington turned in the most dominant performance of the series in a 4-1 win that knotted the teams at two wins apiece.

That game stood out to Tortorella too and he thinks he knows why the Blue jackets laid an egg that night: Travel.

"I think we should’ve stayed in Washington after that second overtime game, the second game there," Tortorella said. "I think that comes back and gets you later on in the series. We should’ve stayed in Washington and let them get a good night sleep. They got in here so late. I don’t think it affected us in Game 3. It comes the next days, so that falls on me."

When analyzing why the Caps won the series, chances are travel is not going to be a reason many people consider. Perhaps there is some merit to this. After all, as the father of an infant, I can certainly vouch for how much of a difference one good night of sleep can make.

But perhaps there is another message being sent here by Tortorella.

Tortorella is a master at using the media to his advantage. He uses the media to send messages to his team or draw attention on himself and away from the players.

Tortorella just saw his young team give up a 2-0 series lead and lose four straight games. Those are the kind of losses that can stick with a player and create doubt in the mind of a team the next time they reach a tough spot in the postseason.

So what did Tortorella do? He came out and put the worst loss of the series on his own shoulders. Why was it his fault? Uh...travel? Yeah, let's go with travel.

The Blue Jackets are not the first team to play overtime on the road or the first team to deal with travel concerns. To hear a coach say it was a reason they lost a game and not even the next game after the travel? Well, that's a first.

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