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Rice TD gives Seahawks 23-17 OT win over Bears

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Rice TD gives Seahawks 23-17 OT win over Bears

CHICAGO (AP) On target with his passes, too fast with his feet and composed when he could have wilted down the stretch, Russell Wilson was simply having a blast.

Why wouldn't he?

He stared down the Monsters of the Midway and gave Seattle a rare road win, not to mention a playoff boost.

Wilson threw for two late touchdowns, connecting with Sidney Rice for a 13-yard score with 7:33 left in overtime to lift the Seahawks to a wild 23-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

``Their defense is really spectacular,'' the rookie said. ``Some of the guys that they have, I've been watching them play for 10, 15 years. So it was a great win for us. Guys were really focused. Guys made some unbelievable plays when we needed them, and that's the key.''

Unbeaten in five home games, the Seahawks finally figured a way to win on the road after dropping five of their first six, and knocked off the NFC North leaders in the process.

A 97-yard touchdown drive late in regulation gave the Seahawks a lead that didn't last, and they finally won it on Rice's catch after Chicago's Robbie Gould sent it into overtime with a field goal.

Seattle (7-5) leads the NFC wild-card chase, and despite its frequent struggles on the road has won three in a row in the regular season at Soldier Field.

This one sure was dramatic.

Seattle took a short-lived lead late in regulation on Wilson's 14-yard pass to Golden Tate, only to watch Gould boot a 46-yard field goal as time expired to send it into the extra period.

The Seahawks won the coin toss and started with the ball on their 20. They ended this one with one final flourish.

Rice hauled in a pass from Wilson and took a shoulder-to-helmet hit from Major Wright that jarred the ball loose and appeared to knock the receiver unconscious as he lunged into the end zone. Rice stayed down for several minutes but eventually walked off the field. He insisted afterward he was alert the whole time.

``(Medical personnel) rushed out on the field because I had a couple of concussions before, so they just wanted to make sure everything was fine,'' he said.

The touchdown, meanwhile, was upheld after a review, and that gave the Seahawks their only road win other than a victory at Carolina.

``The ball didn't fall our way in some of the games this year,'' cornerback Richard Sherman said. ``I don't think we are 1-5 road team. I don't think we've ever been out of the game at the end. I don't think there was ever a blowout, it always comes down to the last drive, the last play. The football gods were with us today and they helped us out.''

The Seahawks pulled it out even though Marshawn Lynch was held in check with 87 yards rushing. He had a touchdown run in the second quarter, but also fumbled on the game's opening possession, leading to a score for Chicago.

Wilson threw for 293 yards, ran for 71 and was particularly cool down the stretch, sending Chicago (8-4) to its third loss in four games. That knocked them into a tie with Green Bay for the division lead with the Packers beating Minnesota, and coach Lovie Smith clearly was furious afterward.

``That hasn't happened to us very often around here,'' Smith said. ``Terrible job I did getting our football team ready. I thought we were ready to go. Some decisions I made really hurt us early on.''

He was particularly upset at himself for going for it on fourth-and-1 at the 15 early in the second quarter rather than have Gould attempt a field goal with Chicago up 7-0. Yet, he also said he'd do it again.

Along with that questionable decision, there were more injuries for a team that's endured its share of late.

Linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring) and cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder) were hurt on the winning drive. Receiver Earl Bennett (concussion) and safety Chris Conte (illness) left earlier in the game. The Bears had already ruled out return specialist Devin Hester (concussion) and guard Chris Spencer (knee) after they were injured against Minnesota. Throw in the torn ACL guard Lance Louis suffered against the Vikings, and the Bears were a short-handed bunch.

Jay Cutler threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Marshall added 165 yards receiving, but the Bears ultimately came up short.

``We don't lose many games like that here - as long as I've been here and having a lead that late in the fourth quarter,'' Cutler said.

NOTES: The Bears are now 64-11 under Smith when they go into the fourth quarter with a lead. ... Seahawks G James Carpenter suffered a knee injury. Coach Pete Carroll said X-rays showed no breaks, but he was scheduled for a scan during the week. ... Seattle outgained Chicago 459 yards to 358.

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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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