Redskins

Russell Wilson soars as Seahawks rout Bills 50-17

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Russell Wilson soars as Seahawks rout Bills 50-17

TORONTO (AP) Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson ran for three touchdowns and threw for another in leading the Seahawks to their second straight rout, a 50-17 win over the Bills on Sunday in Buffalo's annual home game in Toronto.

Wilson scored on runs of 14, 25 and 4 yards and then hit Zach Miller for a 4-yard touchdown in helping the Seahawks score 31 points on their first five possessions. The defense then took over by forcing three consecutive turnovers to start the second half, including Earl Thomas scoring on 57-yard interception return.

A week after a 58-0 win at home against Arizona, the Seahawks (9-5) inched closer to clinching a playoff berth and became the NFL's third team to score 50 points on consecutive weekends.

The Bills (5-9) were mathematically knocked out of playoff contention for a 13th consecutive season - the NFL's longest active drought.

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Three Redskins not named Dwayne Haskins who will care about these final three games

Three Redskins not named Dwayne Haskins who will care about these final three games

When you scan up and down the Redskins' roster, a roster that won't be involved in the postseason yet again, it's easy to spot the guy with the most riding on the team's final three games of 2019. His name is Dwayne Haskins.

But the young passer is far from the only player who'll care greatly about performing well in Weeks 15, 16 and 17.

Here are three members of the Burgundy and Gold aside from Haskins who could use a strong individual finish to the year.

Steven Sims

Trey Quinn was supposed to be Washington's answer in the slot once the franchise moved on from Jamison Crowder. Instead, Quinn averaged a weak 7.6 yards per grab before suffering a nasty concussion in Carolina, a concussion that sidelined him in Green Bay and very well could keep him out the rest of the way.

That means that Sims, who was already cutting into Quinn's role on offense before the injury, has a massive opportunity in two ways: He'll continue to get more looks in the passing game and also will have a shot to provide a spark as the Redskins' punt returner.

Relying on Quinn in 2019 was a big risk, and relying on Sims in 2020 could be as well. However, Sims has displayed far more explosiveness in a short amount of time than Quinn ever did, and if he can continue progressing — seven of his 18 catches this campaign have come in the past two contests — then he'll force the organization to strongly consider giving him a key role for the future. 

Ereck Flowers

When the Redskins signed Flowers last offseason, they were mocked. When they eventually said they would slide him inside and experiment with him at guard, they were questioned. 

Yet, in a year where most things have failed and failed hard, acquiring and trusting Flowers has been a definite success.

These next couple of weeks matter quite a bit for Flowers. They are three more chances for him to learn and improve as an interior lineman, and if he can get through them healthy, he'll soon become a free agent and one who could be quite interesting on the open market. 

While that's a strange sentence to both type and to read, it's also true. Whether it's with the Redskins or another squad, Flowers has done enough at his new position to set himself up for a decent payday. 

Fabian Moreau

Since the benching of Josh Norman, Moreau has lined up as an outside corner and fared much better than he did in the slot. He's picked off three passes in the past three games after notching just one interception over his first 40 appearances.

Now, there's hope again for the gifted third-year pro. That said, he still hasn't been perfect on the outside, so if he can tighten up his communication and his coverage against the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys, the Redskins will feel more secure in counting on Moreau as they reshape their secondary moving forward.

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How Carter Kieboom influences Nationals’ needs in Day 2 at Winter Meetings

How Carter Kieboom influences Nationals’ needs in Day 2 at Winter Meetings

SAN DIEGO -- Stephen Strasburg is back. The rotation is set, at least one through four, and a crab-bucket crawl is ready for the fifth spot. Howie Kendrick signed to play second and first, as well as pinch-hit. Ryan Zimmerman is expected to return. Anthony Rendon remains in limbo.

So, what now?

Day Two at the Winter Meetings for Washington should bring calm. Or at least lesser salvos. The Nationals entered the San Diego soiree with noise around them. Rendon and Strasburg were huge factors in the offseason. Washington is the World Series champion. It, as much as anyone in baseball, was on the marquee when everyone gathered.

Business now is more pragmatic. The Nationals are likely out on Rendon -- despite meager attempts Monday to say they are not -- which means bullpen and second base are at issue. 

Prospect Carter Kieboom is an option at second base. The Nationals began to work him there last offseason and continued to do so throughout 2019 with Triple-A Fresno. Kieboom made limited appearances at third base (10 games, nine starts, four errors) and is not ready to play that position at the major-league level. His work at shortstop in the major leagues showed he’s not ready to play there, either. There’s also no need with Trea Turner under contract.

Which means Kieboom’s future influences possible spending, which influences Rendon -- slightly -- and has a bearing on the bullpen expenditures. 

“He's close,” Davey Martinez said of Kieboom. “After we had him, he went back down to triple A, kept his head up, and played really well, hit well, did some adjustments. He's going to come to Spring Training and get a shot to play different positions. We'll see. We'll see what transpires, but he's a kid that we value very much. We know what he can do with the bat. We've got to figure out a position for him, whether it's second base or third base, but I think that he adds some value and he could help us in the future.”

This is expected and necessary posturing from Martinez. They don’t know where Kieboom should play. They think his bat will play. Can he become a productive hitter and average defender at second base? If so, that’s high value. Could he eventually take over third base? Washington has to consider the notion when tangling with whether to pay Rendon, or, more likely, Josh Donaldson via a shorter contract.

“I really feel that he learned a lot just coming up that short period of time,” Martinez said of Kieboom. “We know what kind of player we think he can be, and like I said, he's learned how to become that player. He went back down, and I've seen a lot of guys that came up and had a rough time that go back down and don't quite put it together. He went back down there and had a really good year in triple A.

“So it's just a learning process for him. ...And the biggest thing I'll tell Carter is that he's a guy that needs to use the whole field when he hits and not to take his at-bats out to the field. It's two different things. You've got to play defense, and then you've got to hit. I think that's something, as a young player, that you need to learn to be consistent up here.”

The organization’s belief in whether Kieboom can do that will factor into its decisions in San Diego. Monday’s Strasburg splash kicked things off. Tuesday is likely to be more about filling gaps than record contracts.

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