Nationals

Seahawks roll past 49ers in noisy Seattle 42-13

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Seahawks roll past 49ers in noisy Seattle 42-13

SEATTLE (AP) Red Bryant remembers the early years of his career, when the Seattle Seahawks struggled to win only four and five games in his first two seasons.

Getting a 10th win on Sunday night and a trip to the postseason was special to the Seahawks' big defensive end.

``Who has been playing better than us the last few weeks?'' Bryant questioned. ``This is the National Football League and you don't get any gimmies. We work hard to win. ... It's hard to win in this league.''

Russell Wilson threw a career-high four touchdown passes to move into second place for most TD passes by a rookie, Marshawn Lynch scored two first-quarter TDs, and the Seahawks routed the San Francisco 49ers 42-13.

Richard Sherman returned Bryant's blocked field goal 90 yards for another touchdown as the Seahawks (10-5) jumped to a 21-0 lead. That only added to an already hyped crowd on a typically cold and rainy December night, with noise echoing off the walls and overhanging roof of CenturyLink Field that might have been heard all the way across Puget Sound.

No one appeared to care about the weather, not with the performance they were seeing on the field. And not with a ticket to the postseason guaranteed thanks to Seattle's first 10-win season since 2007.

``We knew we were capable of doing this. We had no doubt. Even in Week 1, we knew that we had the talent to do what we're doing now,'' said wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who had two touchdown receptions. ``It took time because we're a young team. We had to mature. We had to grow together, build that chemistry, build that trust out there on the field. That's the most important thing.''

Seattle surged into the playoffs on the strength of its sixth win in seven games, putting up dizzying offensive numbers that no one thought would continue against the top scoring defense in the NFL but did.

Seattle has outscored its last three opponents 150-30. The 42 points were the most allowed since Jim Harbaugh took over the 49ers, and the most San Francisco yielded since giving up 45 to Atlanta in 2009. It was the perfect way for Seattle coach Pete Carroll to snap a three-game losing streak against his rival.

``We just try to play really good football and see what happens at the end,'' Carroll said. ``We have been scoring and doing a nice job of it and it would be great If we can keep it rolling.''

Seattle will likely be the No. 5 seed in the NFC. There remains a slight chance of winning the NFC West, if the Seahawks beat St. Louis in the season finale and Arizona can upset the 49ers in San Francisco.

The Seahawks, 7-0 at home, delayed San Francisco (10-4-1) from celebrating a division title. They turned Harbaugh's 49th birthday into a miserable evening.

``If you had told me this would be the outcome I wouldn't have believed it,'' Sherman said. ``I would say you're making this up.''

Wilson hit Lynch on a 9-yard TD in the first quarter, Anthony McCoy for a 6-yarder late in the first half, and Doug Baldwin on 4 and 6 yard TDs in the second half.

Wilson has 25 TD passes, one behind Peyton Manning's NFL rookie record of 26. He finished 15 of 21 for 171 yards. His only incompletion in the first half was a deflected pass that Patrick Willis intercepted.

Wilson's counterpart, San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick, had already proven himself capable of winning on the road with victories in New Orleans and last week in New England. But Seattle is a different beast, widely regarded by players as the loudest venue in the NFL. His inexperience playing in such an environment showed. He was flustered and disorganized at the line of scrimmage, letting the noise from Seattle's fans affect him.

Kaepernick's forgettable night was capped when Sherman stepped in front of his pass intended for Randy Moss at the back of the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter for his seventh interception of the season.

Kaepernick was 19 of 36 for 244 yards with an 18-yard TD pass to Delanie Walker with 1:40 left. Frank Gore had just 28 yards on six carries after rushing for a season-high 131 when the teams met in Week 7.

``Every time you are on the field you are learning something,'' Kaepernick said. ``We just have to take what we can from this game and move on to next week.''

San Francisco played without defensive tackle Justin Smith due to an elbow injury that ended a streak of 185 starts. The 49ers lost tight end Vernon Davis in the first quarter with a concussion sustained when he was knocked off his feet on a huge hit along the sideline from Seattle safety Kam Chancellor that looked legal but drew a penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver.

San Francisco wide receiver Mario Manningham went down with a left leg injury early in the third quarter when he was tackled low by Leroy Hill and fumbled.

The loss of Smith affected the entire defense. Aldon Smith was left stuck on 19 1-2 sacks after being locked up by Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung.

``We can't make excuses,'' 49ers' safety Donte Whitner said. ``We understand: We lost the football game; we lost an ugly football game.''

NOTES: Lynch finished with 111 yards on 26 carries, his third straight game over 100 yards vs. the 49ers. ... Seattle was 11 of 13 on third-down conversions, a season-high. ... The 49ers were held to 82 yards rushing, just the third time this season he was held under 100 yards.

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Nationals set to bring back Matt Adams

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Nationals set to bring back Matt Adams

The Nationals just checked another box.

They have reached an agreement to bring back first baseman Matt Adams, pending a physical, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed.

It’s unclear if the deal is for strictly one year or a year with an option. Either way, Adams will be part of the 2019 roster once he passes a physical.

Adams flourished last season with the Nationals when he delivered an .842 OPS as a part-time player. He was crucial since Ryan Zimmerman spent the middle of the season on the disabled list.

The Nationals later flipped Adams to the St. Louis Cardinals for “cash considerations”, which made him little more than a waiver claim for St. Louis. The Nationals just saved the remainder he was owed on his contract following the Aug. 21 transaction.

Adams, a quiet professional, fit well in the clubhouse. One on-field tear earned him a T-shirt homage to his nickname: “Big City doing Big City things” that several of his teammates wore pregame.

His role will be the same as last season: insurance for Zimmerman, as well as a power left-handed bat off the bench who will receive the occasional start if Zimmerman is healthy.

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John Wall, Bradley Beal react to Trevor Ariza trade that sent Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers to Suns

John Wall, Bradley Beal react to Trevor Ariza trade that sent Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers to Suns

From the front office's perspective, the timing of the Wizards' trade for Trevor Ariza could not have been better. They secured the player they wanted as early as he could be traded, on Dec. 15.

From the players' perspective, the timing could not have been worse. They had just lost a game to the Brooklyn Nets and were in the locker room when reports began surfacing on social media. Those involved, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers, had to address reporters, not knowing where they would be moving to the coming days.

Then, as the trade saga took on new forms, they rode the bus and then on the plane with the Wizards, surrounded by those they would soon call former teammates. Their phones were buzzing with messages from people asking what was going on, when they themselves didn't know.

John Wall has seen plenty over the course of his nine NBA seasons, including Kirk Hinrich getting traded at halftime back in 2011. But he hadn't seen this.

"It was kind of weird and kind of difficult," Wall said. "[We] go into the locker room and we're about to shower and stuff and we don't understand who is about to get traded, who's been traded. It was kind of a tough situation. I give those guys a lot of credit. They handled that stuff like professionals. A lot of guys could have reacted in different ways, which I have seen in the past."

As NBA Twitter did backflips over the absurdity playing out in real time, how the deal was originally supposed to have three teams and it fell through allegedly because of a mixup over which 'Brooks' was getting traded from Memphis, the Wizards were following along, on the bus and with two parties involved sitting nearby. 

"You don't see that a lot. I feel for Kelly and Austin who were put on that trip back here and not knowing what was going on," Bradley Beal said.

Like with most trades, the players offered a mixed reaction with teammates leaving, but help also coming in. They know Ariza well from his days in Washington back in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons and believe he will bring defense and three-point shooting, two things the Wizards currently need.

There was a human element of seeing Oubre and Rivers go, though, that both Wall and Beal felt. Oubre, in particular, had become woven into the fabric of the organization over the past three-plus years. He arrived as a first round pick in 2015 and grew up in their system.

"It is kind of devastating for those guys who came in and tried to give it everything they have," Wall said. "Especially K.O., being here four years, watching him develop from his rookie year not getting any minutes and coming into his own and being an X-factor for our team the last couple of years, it's sad to see him go."

Wall continued to say he wishes both players the best with the Phoenix Suns. The Wizards happen to play Phoenix in a week, on Dec. 22 in Washington.

Ultimately, the trade served a reminder to Wall, Beal and others that the Wizards have some urgency to turn things around. They are in the luxury tax with the sixth-highest payroll in the NBA. An 11-18 record after 29 games just isn't good enough to justify the resources being committed.

Wall explained in detail how he believes money was a consideration.

"The only thing I really can think of from my standpoint is that Trevor makes $15 [million], I think. Austin made [$12.65 million] and Kelly makes [$3.21 million] this year," he said.

"It was a situation where we were in a tough bind. We have three guys that are paid pretty high. And then understanding what Kelly is going to receive or ask for this summer, I don't think we have the money to match it. So, I think that's the reason why we made that trade."

This is the third trade the Wizards have made already this season. All three deals have saved them money, but this one has the highest likelihood to make a difference on the court.

The players are optimistic Ariza can prove the missing piece.

"We needed a change," Beal said. "Hopefully this is the change that sparks some energy out of us, some life out of us, that will get us to play the way we know we're capable of playing."

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