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Seattle has perfect offensive finish to beat Bears

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Seattle has perfect offensive finish to beat Bears

RENTON, Wash. (AP) The distances the Seattle Seahawks offense needed to cover late in regulation and then again in overtime left plenty of opportunity, as Pete Carroll put it, to ``really screw it up.''

Not with Russell Wilson at the controls. Not with the way this rookie is playing.

``There's really nothing to hold us back with what we can do and ask the quarterback to do with the system and all of that now. He can really handle the package,'' Carroll said. ``We're trying to benefit from that.''

With two drives on Sunday - one at the end of regulation and the other in overtime - Wilson kept Seattle firmly in control of the final playoff spot in the NFC with a 23-17 overtime win over Chicago. He led the Seahawks to touchdowns the final two times they touched the ball.

And they weren't short drives. Seattle went 97 yards on its final possession of regulation to take the lead, then another 80 yards in overtime to pull out the victory. Wilson accounted for 56 of Seattle's 80 yards on its overtime touchdown drive, including 28 yards rushing. Three times he converted third downs and capped Seattle's victory by hitting Sidney Rice on a 13-yard TD.

Combined over Seattle's final two possessions, the first of which was capped by Golden Tate sliding off tacklers for a 14-yard TD with 24 seconds left in regulation, Wilson accounted for 115 yards passing and 47 yards rushing.

His 71 total yards rushing turned out to be the most in Seahawks history for a quarterback. Most of those running yards came on designed zone-read plays where Wilson would fake the handoff to Marshawn Lynch, then dash around end for gains that gashed the Bears defense.

``He just has a tremendous level of awareness and poise and it's just surprising that anybody could be like that, not just a rookie or a young guy in his first shot playing in Chicago or what not,'' Carroll said. ``He just continues to be impressive in all of those ways.''

Closing out games has lingered as a significant problem for the Seahawks on the road. And lately because of their defense.

It started in Detroit, when the Lions scored with 20 seconds left after driving 80 yards to pull out a 28-24 win. Last week in Miami, the Seahawks gave up 17 fourth-quarter points and Dan Carpenter's field goal on the final play gave the Dolphins a 24-21 win.

And on Sunday, the Seahawks defense again let down when Jay Cutler scrambled free from pressure to find Brandon Marshall for 56 yards, setting up Robbie Gould's 46-yard field goal on the final play of regulation to force overtime. Carroll said when Cutler scrambled, Seattle's secondary briefly lost contain on Marshall and allowed him to come back toward the ball and make the play.

``We got a little out of whack. That's like playing in the park then, everything goes and Jay, that was a marvelous move to get free, a great throw, a great adjustment on the catch to get that done and it took all of that. That was a shocking play that it occurred like that. We thought we had it nailed,'' Carroll said. ``That gave them a great chance to come back in it, which just happened to set up a great chance for overtime and see a young kid win it all.''

For all the excitement about the Seahawks victory, there are injury concerns going forward. Rice was hammered on the game-winning touchdown at the goal line by Major Wright and was down on the field for a few minutes. He tweeted Sunday night that he was cleared by doctors but Carroll said Monday that Rice was going through concussion protocols in part because of his history with head injuries.

``It's based off the occurrence of it and his history, so it's a little bit of everything I guess,'' Carroll said. ``He feels good, he's not in bad shape at this point so we think he has a chance.''

Seattle is also unsure of the status of offensive lineman James Carpenter, who felt a sharp pain in his surgically reconstructed left knee and didn't play after the first quarter. Carroll said Carpenter was getting X-rays and an MRI, but was unsure of the results. He was also pessimistic about nickel cornerback Marcus Trufant, who has a hamstring pull.

Defensive end Red Bryant was in on 33 defensive plays despite a foot injury, but Carroll said he was sore Monday. He's also hopeful of getting back linebacker Leroy Hill, who did not play after being unable to make it through pregame warm ups with an ankle injury.

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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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