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Seattle's limited passing game tough to judge

Seattle's limited passing game tough to judge

RENTON, Wash. (AP) For all the scrutiny that rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has received as the Seattle Seahawks' starting quarterback, the limited number of times he's thrown has made it difficult to fully assess how the first seven weeks of his career have gone.

Ultimately, Seattle is 4-3 heading into Sunday's game at Detroit and that's the most important number for the Seahawks. Most of Wilson's low passing numbers are by design, with the Seahawks asking Marshawn Lynch to carry the load of Seattle's offense and spotting Wilson's throws when needed.

Lynch leads the NFC and is second in the NFL in rushing attempts with 147 through seven weeks, and is on pace for 336 this season, which would easily be the most of his career. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have the fewest pass attempts of any team in the NFL and are on pace for the least amount of passes thrown in franchise history since 1977, when Seattle played just 14 games.

The Seahawks believe this can be a successful offensive formula, even though it's not the most exciting offense at times.

``There's a lot of good things that happen when Marshawn has the ball. He gets us going offensively because of how strong he is, how angry he runs. It brings some fire to our offense and gets us going,'' Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. ``As long as you're moving the chains and getting first downs, that's good. But as you know, it's hard in this league to get 10-15 play drives and finish those drives with scores because at some point you're not going to be make it all the way. ... You've got to have those explosive plays.''

The concerns about Seattle's passing game come on the heels of Wilson's worst performance yet. He completed just 9 of 23 passes for 122 yards and an interception in the Seahawks' 13-6 loss at San Francisco last Thursday. Seattle's hope was that Wilson's dynamic fourth quarter a week earlier that led to a 24-23 comeback win over New England would carry over.

Instead, the loss to the 49ers only raised concerns about just how one dimensional the Seahawks offense is away from home. In his four road games this season, Wilson has thrown seven interceptions and just two touchdowns, averaging 164 yards passing and a QB rating of 55.7. In his three home games, Wilson's QB rating is nearly 117, he's averaging nearly 200 yards per game passing and he's thrown six touchdowns with no interceptions.

``He's obviously very comfortable at home, and we have played better at home than we did on the road. We just have to get through that,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.

Seattle is averaging 25 pass attempts per game and is on pace for 400 pass attempts this year. In the last 12 seasons, only five teams have attempted fewer than 400 passes in a season: Atlanta in 2004, Pittsburgh in 2004 and 2005, San Francisco in 2005 and the 2009 New York Jets. Not surprisingly, in three of those circumstances the teams were starting rookie quarterbacks - Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith and Mark Sanchez.

Perhaps surprisingly, the combined record of those five teams was 50-30 with three of those teams winning at least 11 games.

In no way is that an indication of how the Seahawks' season will go. But it's recent historical proof that playing with such a limited passing game can still be successful.

Seattle also has struggled passing in the middle quarters after finding success early in the game. The first quarter, where the first 15 plays are usually scripted, has yielded scores on Seattle's opening drive in the last three games. But that success has fallen off significantly in the middle two quarters, especially in the third quarter. Seattle has thrown for just 198 yards and a passer rating of 59.9 in the third quarter this season, before seeing an uptick in the fourth.

``I don't think we need to go searching for anything,'' Wilson said. ``I think we have all of the talent, all of the right plays and the guys; we just need to make the plays at certain times.''

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Wizards release new red alternate jerseys, their fifth uniform

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WashingtonWizards.com

Wizards release new red alternate jerseys, their fifth uniform

The Washington Wizards have another new alternate jersey. On Wednesday, they released pictures of their 'Earned Edition' kit, which is essentially a red version of their 'The District' series.

The Wizards now have five jerseys. They are one of 16 teams with an 'Earned Edition' because they made the playoffs last season.

Here is a look at the new uniforms:

(photos via WashingtonWizards.com)

Notice the nod to the Washington monument up the sides of the jersey. Also, the D.C. flag on the waistband is a nice touch. 

The Wizards now have red and black versions that say 'The District' on the front. Last season, they they had one in white.

The Wizards will debut the uniform on Dec. 29 when they host the Chralotte Hornets.

Expect them to be mixed in for a few games over the course of the rest of this season.

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Ravens' Joe Flacco loses starting QB job to Lamar Jackson

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Ravens' Joe Flacco loses starting QB job to Lamar Jackson

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Joe Flacco has lost his job as Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback and will be the backup Sunday for the first time in his 11-year NFL career.

Flacco is finally healthy after missing the past four games with a right hip injury. The Ravens went 3-1 during his absence under rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, and coach John Harbaugh has decided to stick with the first-round draft pick with Baltimore striving to end a three-year playoff drought.

Harbaugh said Wednesday: "Every decision is based on making us the strongest possible team we can be."

Jackson will start Sunday when the Ravens (7-6) host Tampa Bay (5-8).

The 33-year-old Flacco has been a starter since his rookie season in 2008 and was Super Bowl MVP when the Ravens beat San Francisco to end the 2012 season.

Flacco says: "I'm obviously disappointed I can't be part of this team in the same capacity that I have been for a long time."

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