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Seattle's efficiency at peak during late run

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Seattle's efficiency at peak during late run

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Buried within the dizzying numbers the Seattle Seahawks have posted the last three weeks that grabbed the attention of the entire NFL, is a steady rise in efficiency that's at the base of not only their scoring eruption, but the Seahawks' late-season charge to win six of seven.

It may sound as if what coaches and players say all the time, but Seattle's has been dramatically better on third-down conversions and in the red zone as the season has progressed.

Why have the Seahawks become the second-most efficient team at scoring inside the 20 in the NFL and coming off the third-best performance on third down of any team in the last 20 years? Because Seattle has made it a non-stop point of emphasis.

``We've progressed because we've made the choice we want to get better,'' Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate said. ``... We've just been real serious about it and working hard at it.''

The Seahawks (10-5) have scored 150 points the last three weeks, the first team to accomplish that feat since 1950. The dynamic play of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and the raw numbers Seattle posted has quickly given the Seahawks the tag of the team no one in the NFC wants to face early in the playoffs. Seattle is already bound for the postseason no matter what happens in Sunday's regular-season finale against St. Louis. They will likely end up the No. 5 seed in the NFC, but could finish as high as second or third with help from others.

But some of the underlying reasons why Seattle is suddenly an offensive powerhouse are because of its third-down efficiency and continuing to convert when they do put drives together.

In five of their last six games, the Seahawks third-down conversion rate has exceeded the league average of 38 percent. Seattle went a stunning 11 of 13 on third downs against San Francisco. The only two failed conversions against the 49ers came when Wilson scrambled around the San Francisco defense for 18 seconds before coming up short on a third-down run and when backup quarterback Matt Flynn took a knee on the final play of the game.

The 11 of 13 was the best conversion percentage -84.6 - in the NFL this season and the third-best in the regular season over the last 20 years, according to STATS, Inc. The only times that number was bettered was New Orleans against Detroit in 2008 (11 of 12) and St. Louis versus Denver in 2000 (6 of 7).

In its first nine games, Seattle topped the league average of 38 percent on third downs only once.

``It's just the familiarity and Russell Wilson has worked so hard to capture the essence of the plays and the concepts, as well as he has worked with these guys over a long period of time,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ``He doesn't waste reps. He gains knowledge and feel and confidence as he works through it, and that's why he's such a fast learner and all. He moves through things and he gets better. It's not just him because the receivers had cleaned things up; we've also used guys in their roles more clearly than we did early so the reps have paid off more so as well.''

Throughout the season, the Seahawks' red-zone efficiency has been among the best in the league. They've scored on 48 of 51 drives inside the opponents' 20 with their scoring efficiency rate of 94.1 percent No. 2 in the NFL behind only Houston. They are one of two teams in the league that have yet to commit a red-zone turnover.

Seattle is perfect in the red zone - 24 of 24 - in the past six games with 17 of those finished by touchdowns. The last time they failed to score on a drive inside the opponents' 20 was in Week 9 against Minnesota when the Seahawks took a knee and ran out the clock at the Vikings 9.

``The growth can't be understated as a team as a whole,'' Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. ``Just the fact we've all come together, the chemistry, the trust, I can't state it enough.''

Notes: Seattle CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring) will miss his third straight game Sunday and Carroll said he might not be back for the playoffs next week. LB Leroy Hill (hamstring) is questionable and will be worked out pregame Sunday. All other players on Seahawks injury report are expected to play. .. Seattle cut CB Ron Parker and DT Hebron Fangupo, and re-signed WR Deon Butler and signed LB Allen Bradford from the practice squad Friday.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

A poll of 250 college basketball coaches reveals 74% want a semi-normal schedule this year

A poll of 250 college basketball coaches reveals 74% want a semi-normal schedule this year

Several college conferences across the country are preparing for the fall sports season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Big Ten announced on Thursday that it will go to a “conference-only” model for all fall sports. The Pac-12 followed announcing football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball will play only conference games. Earlier in the week, the Ivy League announced no sports would be played until January 1.

RELATED: MAYBE OTHER LEAGUES SHOULD FOLLOW THE IVY LEAGUE'S LEAD

More conferences are likely to follow shortly. But after fall sports, what will happen with winter sports and, specifically, with college basketball? Stadium basketball analyst Jeff Goodman conducted an interesting poll.

Of the 250 Division I head men’s basketball coaches (of a 353 total), 74% want a season with non-conference and conference play. Only 24% of coaches want to push the start of the season to January and play exclusively conference games.

One of the unique aspects of early-season college basketball is the non-conference matchups, sometimes in exotic locations. One of the most notable, the Maui Invitational, is planning to move forward as scheduled.

A handful of local teams are scheduled to travel to tournaments this November. Virginia and Georgetown will both head to Anaheim, Calif. for the Wooden Legacy. VCU is part of an eight-team field at the Charleston Classic and George Mason is reportedly traveling to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam.

There is plenty to be sorted out before the start of the college basketball season but for now, we will take some optimism from the men on the sidelines. 

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Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey set to host garage sale Sunday, July 12

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey set to host garage sale Sunday, July 12

Offseason. What offseason? There is no offseason for Baltimore Ravens standout cornerback Marlon Humphrey who announced he's throwing a garage sale Sunday, July 12 in Owings Mills.

"Garage sale this Sunday! (Owings Mills, MD) New year means a lot needs to be left behind," Humphrey said. "Will have furniture, shoes, lights, and of course some Ravens gear 😎Everything must go..!"

Humphrey's post received north of 1,500 likes in two hours so it may be fair to say there will be a decent turnout. 

NFL players having garage sales is sort of a peculiar situation, it doesn't happen quite often. Former Green Bay Packers running back Eddy Lacy had one in 2017 which drew a large enough crown to wrap around the entire block.

In that instance, ten shoppers were allowed in at a time to peruse the items and Lacy said that all of the money will go to charity, with any leftover unsold items being given to the Freedom House homeless shelter in Green Bay, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

Humprey is entering his fourth season with the Ravens.

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