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Browns snap road skid with 20-17 win over Raiders

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Browns snap road skid with 20-17 win over Raiders

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Just when it seemed as if the Oakland Raiders had seized the momentum, Sheldon Brown took it right back and then watched Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland offense put away a second straight win.

Weeden threw for a career-high 364 yards and a touchdown and made key plays on the clinching 94-yard drive after Brown's interception and the Browns snapped a 12-game road losing streak by beating the Oakland Raiders 20-17 on Sunday.

The Raiders (3-9) were in position to tie or take the lead when Brown intercepted Carson Palmer's pass to Juron Criner. But it was the drive by Weeden that truly put the game away.

``Probably a defining drive of the season,'' Brown said. ``We had an opportunity to see the character of that offense.''

Trent Richardson capped the drive with a 3-yard run, Weeden hit fellow rookie Josh Gordon on a 44-yard score in the second quarter and Phil Dawson kicked two field goals as the Browns (4-8) won consecutive games for the first since September 2011.

That ministreak started with a 27-19 win at Indianapolis on Sept. 18, which had been the team's last road win until Sunday.

``It's big. Kind of get the monkey off your back,'' Weeden said. ``It'll give us confidence moving forward. We still have a young team, and to beat a good team on the road like this can only help us moving forward.''

The Raiders have lost five straight for the first time since a six-game losing streak in Lane Kiffin's first year as coach in 2006 and have been eliminated from playoff contention for a 10th straight year.

There was more bad news after the game as Oakland coach Dennis Allen had to fly to the Dallas area to be with his father, former NFL linebacker Grady Allen, who has a serious health issue. Dennis Allen is expected to rejoin the team Wednesday night, a day before the Raiders host Denver.

The biggest blunder for the Raiders came when Criner got behind Brown but Palmer underthrew the deep ball with Oakland already in position for a game-tying field goal.

``I was trying to take a shot there, go for the touchdown quickly and just didn't put the ball in the right spot, didn't give Juron a chance to make a play on the ball,'' Palmer said.

The Browns took over at the 6 with 9:31 to play and then ran more than 6 minutes off the clock on the 14-play drive.

Weeden completed an 11-yard pass on third-and-3 to Gordon to get the Browns started and also had a big 22-yard pass to tight end Benjamin Watson.

Weeden then converted a fourth-and-1 sneak from the Oakland 45 and Desmond Bryant jumped offside on a third-and-1 from the Raiders 10.

Richardson scored two plays later to give the Browns a 20-10 lead with 3:27 to go as the Browns won for the fourth time in seven games since an 0-5 start to match last season's win total.

``That was kind of a statement,'' Weeden said. ``We strung together a lot of really good plays. That shows the potential we have as an offense, and that's encouraging. We had a lot of guys make different plays.''

The Browns have been improved defensively of late and Weeden had one of his best games as a pro. He completed 25 of 36 passes and overcame two first-half interceptions to lead the impressive late drive against a banged-up secondary that lost safeties Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell and cornerback Phillip Adams to concussions.

Richardson ran for 72 yards and Gordon had six catches for 116 yards as Cleveland took advantage of Oakland's struggling defense.

``We can't stop the run, we can't stop the pass,'' Raiders cornerback Michael Huff said. ``Things just aren't going well on defense. Right now I guess we're just a bad defense. We can't really hide it. At this point, the numbers don't really allow it. We're just bad right now.''

Palmer was 34 for 54 for 351 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown to rookie Rod Streater. He added a 17-yard TD pass to Brandon Myers with 1 second left but it was too late. Myers caught 14 passes for 130 yards, tying Tim Brown's franchise record for catches in a game.

Oakland showed signs of life late in the third quarter when Desmond Bryant blocked a 28-yard field goal attempt by Phil Dawson.

Four plays later, Streater made a good adjustment on a deep pass from Palmer that cut Cleveland's lead to 13-10. But that's as close as the Raiders got.

NOTES: Dawson had made a career-high 29 straight FGs before the block. ... Cleveland's 475 yards was their most since registering 554 against Cincinnati on Sept. 16, 2007. ... The attendance of 43,641 is lowest at Oakland since the Raiders drew 32,218 on Oct. 3, 2010.

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Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

You know what’s fun? Winning Metropolitan Division titles. 

No, it’s not as good as the big prize. The Capitals will never top their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. But winning a competitive division against their biggest rivals five years in a row? Pretty, pretty good. 

Washington took its fifth in a row officially on Tuesday when the NHL announced that the regular season had concluded thanks to the ongoing coronavirus. The Capitals just outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers with 90 standings points to 89. The difference over 69 games? One extra Caps game going into overtime for a single point. 

Credit to the Flyers for making a late run. No one was playing better in the NHL than Philadelphia just before the season was halted. Whether that carries over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen. 

But the Capitals should take pride in that streak. It’s hard to do in an age of parity. They play in a division where the Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in the previous four seasons. The two teams slugged it out three times in the second round. That’s the luck of the draw, and so four straight division titles -- and two Presidents’ Trophies -- meant just one Cup for Washington. 

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It’s also rare to dominate a division the way the Capitals have for five years. The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title every year from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings won the Central Division an astounding eight times from 2001 to 2009. It doesn’t get you a championship -- Washington won the expired Southeast Division from 2008 to 2011 -- but it does mean you played great hockey year after year.

And to do it in the reconstituted Patrick Division, where long-time rivals like the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders and Devils joined with newer rivals Carolina and Columbus, makes it even sweeter. Add another banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena. The Caps are the class of the Metropolitan Division yet again. 

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Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Nationals decided to use “partial furloughs” to keep their baseball and business employees at work through the end of their contracts or the calendar year.

The road map works like this:

All full-time business and baseball employees will receive a reduction in pay and hours ranging from 10 to 30 percent. If the employee’s contract runs to the end of baseball season -- typically Oct. 31 -- then these parameters apply from now until then. If the employee is not on contract, these reductions persist until Dec. 31.

No full-time employee is being laid off because of the economic impact from coronavirus.

An example: If a person works a 40-hour week, and has the 10 percent reduction in pay and hours, they are down to a 36-hour week at 10 percent pay cut.

The reduction scale slides. The highest-paid employees, like Mike Rizzo, are taking the largest reduction in pay. Then on down the line.

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The Nationals deciding to do this now allows their staff to know what the future holds as opposed to wondering month-to-month what decision the organization will make in regard to their job status.

Major League Baseball organizations remain uneasy about their financial future in 2020 since the season has stalled. The league and its team owners are in the midst of negotiations with the MLBPA while attempting to find a safe, revenue-satisfactory path back to the field.

Meanwhile, teams across the league are assessing their non-player finances, and the approach varies. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided last week to furlough some non-playing employees.

In Washington, no full-time employee will be laid off because of this salary adjustment.

USA Today was first to report the Nationals’ overall decision.

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