Patriots

Russell Wilson leads Seahawks past Eagles, 24-10

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Russell Wilson leads Seahawks past Eagles, 24-10

SEATTLE -- The Seahawks felt they were being written off, with injuries and the schedule converging to create doubt about whether Seattle was still among the NFC's elite.

With Russell Wilson, the Seahawks seemingly always have a chance.

"He was in the zone," Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. "I told him whatever that felt like, he's got to hold on to it because we need him to be in that mode for the rest of the season, because if he does that, we'll be unstoppable."

Wilson was masterful while throwing three touchdown passes, the last a 15-yard strike to J.D. McKissic with 7:29 left, and the Seahawks stayed in the NFC playoff hunt with a 24-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.

Seattle (8-4) snapped Philadelphia's nine-game winning streak thanks largely to another brilliant performance by its quarterback. Wilson was 20 of 31 for 227 yards and threw touchdowns of 11 yards to Jimmy Graham, 1-yard to Tyler Lockett and the TD to McKissic after the Eagles had trimmed the lead to seven.

"I thought Russell was phenomenal tonight. I thought that was Russell showing you everything he's all about," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "From start to finish, from the first play of the game he was on it."

Philadelphia (10-2) was the highest-scoring team in the NFL with 31.9 points per game. But the Eagles got just 10 points out of seven drives that reached Seattle territory. Twice this year Seattle has faced what was the top scoring offense in the NFL at the time. Both times they scored 10 points against the Seahawks.

"I felt like everybody was sleeping on us and nobody expected us to win this game," Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. "But we expected to win this game. This is not a surprise to us."

Carson Wentz was 29 of 45 for 348 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Wentz had a costly fumble at the Seattle 1 on the opening drive of the second half that could have pulled the Eagles even at 10-all.

Wentz was inches shy of breaking the plane when Sheldon Richardson ripped the ball free. The loose ball bounced around the end zone and eventually over the end line for a touchback and Seattle's ball. It was a major turning point, as Seattle went 80 yards in 11 plays, capped by Wilson's 1-yard pass to Lockett for a 17-3 Seattle lead. The touchdown was set up by a 47-yard pass to Doug Baldwin on third-and-10, beating a Philadelphia blitz.

"I make my big plays here and there," Richardson said.

Seattle snapped a rare two-game losing streak at home mostly because of Wilson. It wasn't his best game in numbers, but it might be one of his best performances. He came up with key throws when needed, kept plays alive with his legs and pulled out some unexpected improvisation just went the Seahawks needed it.

"We had a good game plan going against (Wilson)," Philadelphia safety Corey Graham said. "But as you see, you know how it is, better in person than it is on film."

Wentz started a Philadelphia rally on the first play of the fourth quarter. Facing third-and-13 at the 16, Wentz was pressured from the pocket. As he was about to be dragged down by Quinton Jefferson, Wentz hit Nelson Agholor for 51 yards. Four plays later, and again facing third-and-long, Agholor beat Maxwell again and Wentz found him for a 27-yard TD to pull the Eagles within 17-10.

Agholor had seven catches for 141 yards.

LATERAL OR PASS?

Wilson pulled out a little more magic on what proved to be Seattle's decisive drive that ended in McKissic's TD. Facing third-and-8 at the Philadelphia 42, Wilson was forced to scramble. Six yards downfield and short of the first down, Wilson lateraled the ball to Mike Davis as he was about to be hit. Davis took the lateral another 17 yards for a first down. It was a borderline play that appeared close to a forward pass, but Philadelphia didn't challenge.

"Real time, it looked fine. It looked legit. We didn't get all the necessary looks, because they hustled to the line," Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson said. "But at the same time, it looked good. I trust the guys upstairs in making those decisions."

GRAHAM'S ROLL

Graham had just three catches for 26 yards but continued to be Wilson's favorite target near the goal line. Graham has touchdowns in four straight games and nine in the past seven games.

SCORING STREAK

Philadelphia failed to score at least 20 points for the first time in 15 games, a streak dating to last season. The Eagles were the only team in the league to score at least 20 in every game this season.

FIRST QUARTER FINALLY

Seattle became the first team to score an offensive touchdown in the first quarter against the Eagles on Graham's 11-yard TD catch. The Eagles had allowed just 18 points in the first quarter coming into the game, but allowed points on two of Seattle's first three possessions.

INJURIES

Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz left in the third quarter to be evaluated for a head injury and did not return. Ertz was injured trying to make a difficult catch across the middle that was broken up by Bradley McDougald.

UP NEXT

Eagles: At the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Seahawks: At Jacksonville on Sunday.

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Aaron Hernandez's suicide notes revealed

Aaron Hernandez's suicide notes revealed

Aaron Hernandez's suicide letters to his daughter, fiancée, and lawyer were revealed in his lawyer Jose Baez's new book, "Unnecessary Roughness: Inside the Trial and FInal Days of Aaron Hernandez."

Hernandez, a Patriots tight end from 2010 to 2013, hanged himself in his prison cell on April 19, 2017. He was serving life in prison for first-degree murder.

In his letter to his daughter, Avielle Jenkins-Hernandez, he wrote about life being eternal and to never fear him:

“Daddy will never leave you! I’m entering to the timeless realm in which I can enter into any form at any time because everything that could happen or not happened I see all at once! Life is eternal—believe!!!” Hernandez wrote. “Love, repent, and see me/yourself in everyone because that’s what the truth is! I’ll see you all in the heavens awaiting you all with the same love.”

“Never fear me, but love me with all of you! Fear is the only separation between you and I! We are each other—I/you—you/me—there’s no need to fear but what you do unto another will come back around!”

To his fianceé, Shayanna Jenkins:

Shay,

You have always been my soul-mate and I want you to love life and know I’m always with you. I told you what was coming indirectly! I love you so much and know [you] are an angel. We split into two to come change the world! Your characteristic is that of a true angel and the definition of God’s love! Tell my story fully but never think anything besides how much I love you. This was the supreme almightys plan, not mine! I love you! Let Avi know how much I love her! Look after Jano and Eddie for me —they are my boys (You’re Rich).

I KNEW I LOVED YOU = SAVAGE GARDEN

NOT MUCH TIME

I’M BEING CALLED!

JOHN 3:16

I love you all equally! We are all each other! Don’t shed one tear for I am with all of you and never wasn’t! do not go back to living while worshipping false idols in which I warned you about!

IT’S TIME!!!

The Real Live Forever

According to The New York Post, Hernandez included a drawing of a thin rope dangling from a noose on the bottom of the page.

Lastly, to his lawyer Baez:

“Well, I wrote this letter following my acquittal and wanted to voice how I felt and let some people whos[e] music helped me get through hard times, know that it did. Wrong or right — who knows — I just follow my natural instincts and how it guides me. Pros or cons, didn’t weigh them, but I’m sure you’ll let me know your view."

“Besides that, I want you to know you have me forever like you never understood and time will reveal that I’m not perfect but my love and loyalty is like you’ve never seen! I appreciate all your work, time, effort, and never let that slip your mind! In time, you will see how appreciated you are, as well as all the others equally!” he continued.

“I would like to send you letters so you can send to their [the artists] information or whichever way you think best. I don’t want any media really getting into me, trying to just send my love to all the artists who got me through my tough times and sending my respect to a few of the real ones out there."

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Keionta Davis proving to be an intriguing pass-rush option for the Patriots

Keionta Davis proving to be an intriguing pass-rush option for the Patriots

FOXBORO -- After Keionta Davis folded up Eagles quarterback Joe Callahan for a sack in the waning seconds of Thursday's preseason game, he took a brief moment to himself. Rolling off of Callahan, Davis paused ever so quickly with his shoulders pinned on the turf before getting helped up. 

Davis couldn't be blamed for taking a short breather for himself, if that's what it was. He played more snaps than any other Patriots defender (54) -- a rare honor for a 6-foot-3, 280-pounder -- and it wasn't all in mop-up duty. 

The second-year defensive lineman started the game for the Patriots and ended it with a sack. He had 1.5 sacks on the night to go along with three more pressures and two stops in the running game. 

"Coaches just wanted me to get some reps," Davis said. "I gotta play. It's that simple."

The reason Davis has to play is that he hasn't played for quite some time. For ever player who may need a workload reduction this summer after having played a lot of football in 2017, there's a player like Davis who could use the extra work to knock off the layers of rust that have accumulated. 

Davis was signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga last summer. He was a two-time All-American as a menace off the edge, and his talent was enough to reportedly coax Bill Belichick to Chattanooga to put Davis through a private workout. He had 31 sacks in college and was projected to be a mid-to-late round pick last spring, but he went unclaimed due to a bulging disc in his neck that was found in a physical at the NFL Scouting Combine. 

According to a story last May in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Davis had no idea anything was wrong. He finished the 2016 season as the Southern Conference defensive player of the year, and he participated in the Senior Bowl before getting the news.

The Patriots signed Davis last summer, but by the time the NFL's regular season rolled around, Davis was placed on the non-football injury/reserve list, ending his year before it began. 

That's what made Thursday night all the more special for the 24-year-old. His first sack in the fourth quarter was his first since last year's Senior Bowl. In the aftermath, he clapped his hands and looked up to the sky.

"It was relief," he said. "I didn't want to celebrate. I still got work to do, man. I'm not really trying to celebrate right now . . . Let me get through the rest of camp. More work to be done."

Davis' second sack (he was only credited with half sack on the play) came after powering back guard Darrell Green en route to his target. 

On both plays, it appeared that Davis was working as a three-technique -- off the outside shoulder of the offensive guard in front of him. Though he arrived to the Patriots as a true edge defender, listed at 260 pounds at the time, Davis has bulked up and spent plenty of time working from the interior this summer. 

"There's been a learning curve," he said. "I did put on some weight, up to 280 now, but my body feels great. I don't feel a difference. Moving inside everything moves a little bit quicker. It's something I haven't done before, but I'm asked to do it so I try to go in there and master it the best I can."

With good quickness and long arms, Davis is a natural fit to work against stubbier guards and centers. Especially in New England, where Trey Flowers -- another long-armed end -- has had great success as a disruptor from the inside. 

"I'm quicker than most guys on the inside" Davis said. "Got good length, I feel like. I think it uses my strengths to the best of my ability. And then I'm just learning from the guys who play inside. Malcolm Brown. Lawrence Guy's really helped whenever I'm inside. They give me the best tips they can."

For all the learning he did during his season off, for all the tutoring he's received from the veterans around him, playing time will continue to be critical.

Belichick indicated on Friday that while he's impressed by what Davis has done to this point, his young pass-rusher needs to log more minutes of game action. 

"He still has a long way to go," Belichick said. "He still has a lot of things he needs to improve on and refine and react quicker to and so forth, but that comes from not having actively played football for a year, or a little more than a year . . . 

"Hopefully those things will come back to him and his reactions and all will continue to improve. He's done a good job. He's in good condition. He's worked hard. I like what he's been doing."

Late on Thursday night inside the Patriots locker room, Davis entertained questions from multiple reporters, smiling often as he took his time with each. Even though he knew the game's score meant nothing, even though he said he knew he had plenty of work to do to earn a roster spot, he appeared to be enjoying the moment.

He was a long way from last year. 

"It definitely wasn't promised, and they definitely took a chance on me," Davis said. "Everything just worked out. I just want to show my gratitude by going out there and playing hard, competing. Whatever role they put me in, I'll try to do my best."

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