Seattle Seahawks

Jake the Snake and DDP launch 'Resurrection of Jake the Snake' in Portland

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Jake the Snake and DDP launch 'Resurrection of Jake the Snake' in Portland

Former professional wrestlers Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) and Jake the Snake are in Portland for the unveiling of 'Resurrection of Jake the Snake' which will have screenings September 6th-12th in Portland following yesterdays premiere at the Oregon Film Festival. The documentary follows the DDP as he helps rebuild Jake the Snake who finds himself fighting real world demons including drugs and alcohol. 

You find more info about the movie here:

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Seahawks embrace winning ugly with playoffs on the horizon

Seahawks embrace winning ugly with playoffs on the horizon

SEATTLE - Seattle's 21-7 win over Minnesota Monday night at CenturyLink Field could be summed up by one play. 

On the opening drive of the third quarter the Seahawks ran a pass play to offensive lineman George Fant who had lined up as an eligible receiver as he does a handful of times each game to serve as an extra run blocker. 

This time, however, Seattle called a pass play and Fant found himself wide open in the right flat. Quarterback Russell Wilson did not hesitate to throw in the direction of the backup offensive lineman, who extended his large mitts for hands to haul in the pass and then proceeded to take a few steps downfield before stumbling and falling to the turf just short of the first down marker without ever being touched by a defensive player.

The cheers induced by the site of a 322-pound man wearing #74 making a reception quickly transitioned to groans when Fant hit the ground. Fant had been foiled by what his teammates called the dreaded “turf monster."  

Mere seconds passed by before his teammates began mocking him. 

“As soon as I came to the sideline they told me, ‘man, I can’t believe that,'” Fant recalled. 

Neither could anyone else even though on this night that play fit into the construct of the game at hand.

On a night with so much on the line for both teams, the Seahawks (8-5) and the Vikings (6-6-1) put forth one of the most boring football games in the history of the sport. No, this display did not qualify as a monumental defensive battle. Few spectacular defensive plays occurred. Instead, both offenses appeared to have forgotten how to play football to the point where through three quarters the most interesting thing that happened was Fant’s unspectacular reception for nine yards on a drive that a few plays later ended with a punt.

But, in an effort to identify the silver lining for the Seahawks, winning ugly does have its merits.

While Wilson managed to pass for just 60 yards – not 260, not 160, but yes, 60 – Seattle found a way to win thanks to a defense that shut down Minnesota’s usually potent passing game and a rushing attack that pounded out 214 yards on 5.1 per carry against a top 10 rushing defense.

So while Seattle led just 3-0 at halftime, never trailed in the game and didn’t score a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter, at the end of the night the Seahawks had stumbled their way into being one victory away of clinching a playoff berth with a date at San Francisco (3-10) up next. And they did it by battling through the sludge of a forgetful game to end out on top.  

“It’s good, especially for the young guys to see that we can win however,” said Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter with Seattle up 6-0. “Whether it’s a defensive game, an offensive game, special teams game, it’s always good to have these kinds of wins throughout the season because you can use them in the playoffs.”

Ah yes, the playoffs, a glorious place where few expected this team would end up when the season began. Now Seattle is staring at a possible postseason matchups at either NFC East-leading Dallas (8-5) or NFC North-leading Chicago (9-4). Both teams, like Minnesota, have strong defenses, which means that the Seahawks would likely need to win an ugly game in order to advance.

So after a couple of weeks of putting up gaudy offensive numbers against San Francisco and Carolina, the Seahawks probably benefited from engaging in a less than esthetically pleasing contest that, according to Wilson, required the team to remain calm and “keep swinging.”

“If you want to be a championship team you’ve got to find a way to win games even when it doesn’t look pretty, Wilson said.

Winning games in bruising and sometimes frustrating fashion requires resiliency. The type of resiliency that allows a team to rebound from maddening plays such as when Wilson, with seconds remaining in the half and the ball at the Minnesota one-yard line, slipped, regained his feet and then attempted to throw the ball away but instead lofted it directly into the arms of Vikings to linebacker Eric Kendricks to end the scoring threat and leave Seattle with just a 3-0 lead at the break.

Talk about a gut punch. But, Seattle kept its composure and the defense kept Minnesota out of the end zone while the offense searched for a way to win.

“Our defense really picked us up in a big way,” Wilson said.

Seattle’s running game set the tone. Without the 214 yards on the ground, Seattle’s defense would have found itself in poor field position situations that could have led to better scoring opportunities for Minnesota. According to Seattle coach Pete Carroll, the ability to run the football and commit to the running game pays off in many ways including helping to grind out a hard-fought defensive battle.

“I think that’s what balance is all about,” Carroll said. “That you get what you need on that day. You don’t know how it’s going to come to you. If you don’t emphasize the running game it’s really hard to call on it when you need it.”

The elation in Seattle’s locker room following the game created the perfect atmosphere for teammates to make light of Fant’s mishap that he claimed might have resulted in a touchdown had he kept his feet and broken one tackle.

“He almost scored,” Carroll said with a laugh. “That’s how he saw it…He didn’t quite get all of the yards that were there. Maybe next time.”

Said Fant: “It’s alright, man. It’s alright. I made the play.”

And in the end, just like with Seattle winning ugly, that's all that matters. 

 

Blazers Outsiders: Making a case for Damian Lillard as MVP

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USA Today

Blazers Outsiders: Making a case for Damian Lillard as MVP

Damain Lillard is having one of the best seasons of his career. Could an MVP award be in his future? Blazers Outsider Chris Burkhardt gives us his thoughts. 

At the end of the 1977-78 NBA season Bill Walton became the first Trail Blazers player to be named the league's Most Valuable Player. In the 40-years since, he remains the only Blazer to have earned the honor. However, that could all change in the near future thanks to Damian Lillard. Well, at least it should. 

Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.com released his MVP rankings late last week and Lillard came in at No.8. As Kennedy put it, "Lillard continues to fly under the radar for some reason, but anyone who’s watched him knows he’s having a phenomenal season. He’s averaging career-bests in points, rebounds and turnovers per game."

Eighth, really? Eighth seems a bit low for Lillard. Not only is he having a career year, but his numbers are some of the best in the entire league. He is currently 5th in the league in point per game at 27.2, 6th in the league in three-pointers made (80), 12th in total assists (166), and is 3rd in the league for total rebounds among point guard (135). His 173 made free throws are the fourth most in the NBA, his overall win share rating of 4.2 is 5th best in the NBA, and he holds the best offensive win share rating in the entire league at 3.5.

There are only three players in the NBA that are in the Top 5 in overall win shares, offensive win shares, free throws made, and points per game: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and Damian Lillard. That is some pretty good company, yet for some reason Durant and Davis seem to be the only names of that group that you hear in the MVP conversation. 

Why? Let us not forget that Lillard made first-team All-NBA last season, is a three-time NBA All-Star, and finished 4th in MVP voting last season. 

Could this be the year he legitimately joins the MVP conversation and perhaps takes home the crown? It should be. The Blazers started off the season hot and early on were the number one team in the NBA. The team has since fallen in the standings but is still squarely in the playoff hunt. Without Lillard and the value he brings this team could easily be in the bottom of the conference.

There is a reason they call it "Lillard Time." He has a propensity to take his game to superhuman levels, put the team on his broad shoulders, and single-handily lead the Blazers to victory. That in and of itself is worthy of an MVP nod. 

The stats easily show that Lillard is one of the best players in the entire league. This is something the fans and his peers know all too well. It's about time the voters give him that same respect. 

Highlights from the Seattle Seahawks' win over the Minnesota Vikings

Highlights from the Seattle Seahawks' win over the Minnesota Vikings

The Seahawks pulled off an impressive win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football, winning 21-7. The game was much closer than the score indicated. It was 6-0 Seattle heading into the fourth quarter.

After Seattle punched in a TD and a two-point conversion, the defense forced a Minnesota fumble on the next possession that turned into a scoop and score for another TD. It was a quick 15 points late in the fourth quarter. 

Here are some of the top plays from the game:

NFC Playoff Picture update after Seattle Seahawks' win over the Minnesota Vikings

NFC Playoff Picture update after Seattle Seahawks' win over the Minnesota Vikings

The Seattle Seahawks are now one step closer to punching their ticket to the NFL playoffs, officially. 

With Seattle’s 21-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football, the Seahawks, who currently occupy a Wild Card spot, are now in prime position to clinch a playoff berth. 

Let’s take a look at where Seattle stands in the playoff picture following the Week 14 victory: 

The Seahawks are now 8-5 on the season and remain fifth-seed (Wild Card) in the NFC behind the Saints, Rams, Bears and Cowboys who are all currently winning their Division. If the playoffs were to start today, Seattle would travel to Dallas to take on the NFC East-leading Cowboys. 

The Seahawks and Cowboys last met on Sept. 23, when Seattle dominated Dallas 23-14 to get its first win of the season. Russell Wilson went 16-for-26 for 192 yards for two touchdowns. Running back Chris Carson ran the ball 32 times for 102 yards and a touchdown while Earl Thomas intercepted Cowboys QB Dak Prescott on two occasions. Ezekiel Elliott was left touchdown-less in the loss. 

A lot has changed for the two teams since the Week 4 meeting. The Cowboys are riding a five-game win streak and the acquisition of wideout Amari Cooper from the Raiders is really paying off. 

Workhorse Elliott now leads the league in rushing with 1,262 yards on the season with 65 receptions and six touchdowns. 

The Seahawks are now on a four-game winning streak behind the MVP like play of Russell Wilson. The two-time NFC champion has been extremely efficient, and with scoring threats like Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett and David Moore on hand, the Seahawks have transformed to a significantly stronger unit. 

Now that the Seahawks are in the drivers seat, they’ll need to keep doing what they’ve been doing lately to lock down their Wild Card spot. Just win. 

Up next for Seattle, the 49ers, Chiefs and Cardinals. 

 

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets: How and Where to Watch

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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets: How and Where to Watch

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

 

WHY THIS GAME MATTERS
After snagging two home wins, Portland will now look to get its road record back on track and keep the momentum going. The Trail Blazers have lost four road games in a row and six of their last eight. With a current 5-7 record away from Moda Center, the Blazers visit the Houston Rockets who haven't dominated at home with 5-5 record at the Toyota Center.

GAME HEADLINES

Portland hoping to keep the wins coming
The Trail Blazers have now won two straight after beating the Phoenix Suns 108-86 on Thursday night, followed up with 113-105 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night. In Saturday’s victory, Damian Lillard finished with 28 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Jusuf Nurkic recorded 22 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, four assists and three steals. Portland enters Tuesday’s game with 15-11 overall record.

Rockets on a skid
Houston is currently 11-14 on the season after losing three in a row and seven of its last nine. The Rockets are coming off a 107-104 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. In the loss, James Harden finished with 35 points and eight assists. It was a crazy finish to the game with the Rockets leading by eight in the final minutes, but Mavs rookie Luka Doncic went on a 11-0 run by himself to help Dallas get the comeback win.  The Rockets have been dealing with injuries this season. Houston is 10-7 when Harden and Chris Paul are both available to play and 1-7 when they are not on the floor together. Harden has missed three games this season and Paul has missed five so far after dealing with a two-game suspension early in the season. Both Harden and Paul are set to play in Tuesday's game vs. Portland.

Blazers looking to match last meeting
Tuesday’s contest will be the second of three meetings between the Blazers and Rockets. In the first meeting on October 30th, Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic each scored 22 points, in an easy 104-85 win. James Harden did not play in the first game due to a hamstring injury, but Portland never trailed in the win. CJ McCollum added 19 points. In the loss, Chris Paul led the Rockets with 17 points and nine assists.

INJURY UPDATES
Per Blazers PR, Anfernee Simons (upper respiratory infection) is out for Tuesday's game.

For the Rockets, Carmelo Anthony (NWT), Vincent Edwards (G League), Brandon Knight (left knee) and Zhou Qi (left ankle) are out. Marquese Chriss (left ankle) is doubtful.

QUICK LINKS
Dwight Jaynes: Trail Blazers get a good feeling from win over Minnesota Timberwolves

Jamie Hudson: Beast Mode: You gotta love Jusuf Nurkic's overall game

Dane Delgado: Does CJ McCollum need to stop shooting his floater?

VIDEO: Portland's playoff success depends on the bench

VIDEO: The Breakdown: What's up with the Blazers' defense?


GAME DETAILS
Where to Watch: NBC Sports Northwest

Where to Watch on the go: Stream the game live on the new MyTeams App

Tip-Off Time: 5:00 p.m. 

NBCS NW Coverage: Blazers Outsiders Pregame Show (6:00 p.m.), Blazers Outsiders Postgame Show (immediately after the game)

Point Spread: Houston -6.5

Radio: 620AM Rip City Radio

Download the brand new MyTeams app today - This is the app for everything Blazers: games, highlights, articles, podcasts and more from your NBC Sports Northwest Blazers team.

Rapid Reaction: Three quick takeaways from the Seattle Seahawks’ win over the Minnesota Vikings

Rapid Reaction: Three quick takeaways from the Seattle Seahawks’ win over the Minnesota Vikings

SEATTLE - For a game that had so much hype surrounding it, this was a snooze-fest until the final four minutes of the game. Under the Monday Night Football lights of CenturyLink field, the only thing electric about Seattle’s offense was their “action green” uniforms. Probably the most exciting play was 6’ 5” 322-pound tackle George Fant catching a nine-yard reception. The defense stepped up limiting the Vikings to just one touchdown, a blocked field goal, two stops on critical 4th downs, and one scoop and score to seal the victory.

The Seahawks (8-5) keep their lead in the NFC Wildcard race with a 21-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1). 

Here are some quick thoughts from our reporters on site…

Final Box Score: Vikings 7, Seahawks 21

Aaron Fentress, NBCSNW Seahawks Insider: Seattle's rushing offense had a strong night against a top 10 rushing defense despite not producing very many points. But at least running the ball well, Seattle's offense helped the team's defense with strong field position for most of the night. They will need to run the ball well to win in the playoffs. 

Dani Klupenger, NBCSNW Seahawks Insider: In between naps during this snooze-fest Monday night game, I will say Seattle made some big plays on fourth down. On defense, the one that sticks out is McDouglad’s stop on 4th and 1 to prevent the Vikings touchdown and offensively, Chris Carson’s conversion on 4th and 1 prior to the 2-minute warning in the first half. It's going to take big plays like those if Seattle wants to pull an upset in the playoffs.

Ashley Young, Football Coordinator: Something that was emphasized in practice this week was tackling. With shifty Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook, making opposing defenses look silly, the Seahawks defense open field tackling looked really good. Just for reference, Cook ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Bobby Wagner, Tre Flowers, and Bradley McDougald made critical open field tackles to contain Cook from gaining serious yardage. With a possible first round playoff game vs. Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys, you better believe the ability to tackle these shifty backs will be a key. 

Next Up: The Seahawks (8-5) hit the road to face division rival the San Francisco 49ers (3-10) who are coming off a 20-14 win over the Denver Broncos (6-7) at home in the Bay Area. 

Does CJ McCollum need to stop shooting his floater?

Does CJ McCollum need to stop shooting his floater?

We know what that CJ McCollum has had to readjust on offense now that he's playing handcuffed to Damian Lillard in that first unit this season. Terry Stotts has put McCollum in a position to succeed early this year, but now that we’re deeper into the season it was time to look at the tape and see how it’s shaking out away from the box score.

Two things have really stuck out to me and both of them are sort of surprising. 

The first is that McCollum is taking more shots near the hoop proportionally compared to last season. The good thing is that he’s taking fewer long 2-pointers to make that change. The bad news is that is he hasn't increased his number of free throw attempts so it's sort of hurt his efficiency early in the year. 

I think that has to do with McCollum falling in love with his floater and his shots from 5-to-9 ft. He's shooting under 40 percent from that area — 10 percent worse than teammate Lillard — and although his shot distribution is similar to players like Jimmy Butler or DeMar DeRozan, he gets the line about half as often as his contemporaries. 

This has a lot to do with the fact that McCollum seems to gather much sooner then some of the other players who draw a lot of free throws. McCollum likes to gather early near the free-throw line, and go for either floaters, or one-handed scoop shots that aren't his best option. He might be better served doing what we seen a lot from Lillard this year, getting deeper into the paint and using his body to shield the ball for longer before making a move at the basket. There's lots of video evidence to suggest that when McCollum does that, he's a much better finisher and drawer of fouls.

This leads into the other thing about McCollum, and it's that he suffers from his mid-range percentages perhaps muddling his ability to select good shots from 10-to-19 ft. He gets a lot of praise as a good mid-range shooter, and this season that has definitely been true. However, film study shows this is only the case when McCollum makes it a point to get to his spot on the floor to shoot from mid-range. When McCollum decides to shoot from that area on the floor as a defacto option on a broken play, he's considerably worse.

Every bone in my body tells me that there's no way McCollum will shoot near 60 percent from those mid-range areas over the course of the year. If those percentages start to dip even a little, McCollum is going to look like a much worse offensive player. If he can make a more conscious choice to attack from mid-range rather than be forced into it, he might be able to bolster him self efficiency-wise moving forward. The same goes for his attempts from 5-to-9 ft. McCollum will be a much better player if he starts going up stronger, and deeper on drives.

Watch the full video above to get the complete breakdown on McCollum's shooting inefficiencies this year.

Did someone put ice on the Oakland field?

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usa today img.

Did someone put ice on the Oakland field?

Was there a patch of ice on the Oakland Raiders field Sunday afternoon precisely at 4:48 PM (PT) on the 40-yard-line? We're only kidding, it was a sunny 57 degree day in Oakland, however, Steelers kicker Chris Boswell slipped on what would have been a game-tying field goal. Whoops.

The Oakland Raiders get their third win of the season with a 24-21 win over Pittsburgh. The Steelers drop their third game in a row and have a tough schedule coming up: host New England and at New Orleans before hosting the Cincinnati Bengals to finish the regular season. Other than a tough schedule ahead, Ben "Big Ben" Roethlisberger left this game early after taking a big hit but checked back into the game in the fourth quarter. 

Keep an eye out for this AFC North division featuring the Steelers at 7-5-1, Baltimore (7-6) who barely lost today at Kansas City, and the surging Cleveland Browns (it's been awhile since I've said that) at 5-7-1 who defeated Carolina today.

 

Can the Trail Blazers bench gets its groove back?

Can the Trail Blazers bench gets its groove back?

The Portland Trail Blazers’ Big 3 delivered a crucial win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday night at the Moda Center.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum hit the two most important shots of the game and Jusuf Nurkic stuffed the stat sheet with one of his strongest performances of the season as Portland notched its first win over a team with a winning record since Nov. 11.

But while earning a much needed victory, the Blazers saw the continuation of a troubling trend. The second unit that was such an impressive early season asset turned in another underwhelming performance.

“We’ve been a little up and down,” Blazers backup guard Nik Stauskas said. “Just haven’t been as consistent maybe as we would’ve like to be. I think our offense has struggled at times and we’ve kinda let that affect our defense at times, too.”

The Blazers came into the season committed to playing a five man bench unit, giving Evan Turner control of the reserves as a point forward while allowing Lillard and McCollum to share the court for nearly every minute they played each night.

The early returns on the Turner-led BenchBunch were overwhelmingly positive. That group would blitz opponents nightly and was a major catalyst for Portland’s 12-5 start. However, over the past three weeks, Portland’s bench has struggled, getting consistently outscored and out played.

“For the last few games where we weren’t playing that well, the starters were playing great and we’d come in and the other team would get back in the game,” Blazers backup big man Zach Collins said. “I think it was a combination of stuff not going our way and not paying attention to the little stuff on defense.”

The struggles from the second unit have prompted Blazers Terry Stotts to move away from long stretches of all-reserve lineups, letting Lillard or McCollum stay on the floor with four reserves. Stotts has also tweaked things in-game in an effort to find pairings that can be effective.

In a one-point loss to the Nuggets on Nov. 30, Stauskas played nine first half minutes and then didn’t get off the bench after halftime. In the loss at Dallas four nights later, Seth Curry and Meyers Leonard played a six minute first half shift before slipping out of the rotation after halftime. Curry played just three minutes in the fourth quarter and Leonard didn’t play at all in the second half.

On Saturday night against Minnesota, Curry picked up his first DNP of the season as Stotts went with Jake Layman off the bench. And Layman was resurfacing after a recent stretch of five games where he didn’t play at all.

Some of the mixing and matching is the natural flow of a coach trying to find solutions on a struggling team, but the shifting parts on the back half of rotation have also offered challenges and uncertainty over roles.

“There’s been some up and down moments, obviously. We’re just trying to figure it out. We’ve had a couple pieces moved around a little bit,” Turner said. “We’ve been going in and out of communicating and also sometimes distributing. I think guys are trying to, rightfully so, be assertive, but I think you need to be assertive as a unit.”

The Blazers on Saturday were confident the bench would rekindle its early season magic. Stauskas said these down stretches are just ebbs and flows of a long season and Collins and Turner said the reserve unit would get back on track with a renewed commitment to defense.

“It happens throughout the course of the season,” Stauskas said. “We just need to stay consistent with it, keep putting in work and hopefully that chemistry, that fluidity that we had towards the beginning of the season kinda comes back. We know we’re capable of it so we just gotta get back to it.”