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Seattle's Richard Sherman wins suspension appeal

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Seattle's Richard Sherman wins suspension appeal

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Even when others were suggesting he drop his case and accept his punishment, Richard Sherman never strayed from his steadfast belief that his four-game suspension would be overturned.

As unlikely as it seemed, Sherman was right.

The Seattle Seahawks will now have one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL available for the playoffs after Sherman won his appeal of a suspension for use of performance enhancing substances on Thursday.

Gone is the lingering question about a possible suspension that hung over Sherman and the Seahawks for more than a month.

``I know what the truth is and anybody else who knows anything knows what the truth is. The truth has been told today,'' Sherman said on Thursday. ``People can say what they want, there are always naysayers. I have great teammates and great coaches and great fans and that's all I care about.''

The decision that was made by former NFL executive Bob Wallace came early Thursday morning. Sherman was called by his lawyer and simply announced in the Seahawks locker room, ``I won.''

High-fives ensued. Sherman took to Twitter and let his 40,000-plus followers know of his result.

A team already rolling on the field with four straight wins and an offensive output unmatched in the last half-decade of the NFL got even more good news.

``There was obviously a good amount of stress because you just don't know,'' Sherman said. ``You know how strong your case is, how strong everything is, but it was just great to get it over with.''

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email the league is reviewing the decision, but was declining comment due to confidentiality provisions.

Sherman was steadfast since news broke of his pending suspension that he believed he would win on appeal. Sherman's appeal was based on errors in the chain of custody of his urine sample and that there were mistakes made by the tester.

His appeal took place late last week in St. Louis.

A copy of Wallace's decision was obtained by The Associated Press. In his explanation, Wallace writes that the collection process of Sherman's urine sample on Sept. 17, the day after Seattle beat Dallas in Week 2, was not ordinary.

According to the written decision, Sherman's sample cup began leaking, to which the tester grabbed another cup and transferred the sample. Documentation of the leaking cup was not originally on the submitted report following the test and only when asked by a supervisor in October did the tester acknowledge the sample being transferred from the original cup.

The tester later gave testimony that he'd never experienced a leaking cup before, yet didn't feel the situation rose to the level of needing to be included on his report.

Wallace wrote the omission of the leaking cup from the report was a ``big deal,'' and that, ``insuring a sample is collected properly is the cornerstone of the program and when an event occurs that does not happen routinely or that the collector has never experienced while collecting the sample it is incumbent upon that collector to note what happened.''

``Accordingly, Mr. Sherman's appeal is granted and the discipline is reversed,'' Wallace wrote.

Sherman said when he got word on Nov. 12 of the failed test he knew it had to do with the sample collected in September.

``It was a weird day, a weird testing procedure,'' Sherman said. ``A lot of things went wrong on that day and that's why the result came out the way it did because he made mistakes and he did things wrong.''

Seattle has played the last three weeks without fellow starting cornerback Brandon Browner, serving a four-game suspension for a banned substance violation.

Browner's suspension expires after Sunday's game against the Rams, so Seattle will have both of its starting cornerbacks for the postseason.

``It definitely feels good for him to take this journey and keep being on this team with us,'' Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. ``We're getting (Browner) back and the depth that we have and the young guys got a chance to prove who they are and it's all just coming together for us.''

According to STATS, Sherman is tied with Pittsburgh's Keenan Lewis for the NFL lead with 23 passes defensed. He is tied for second in interceptions with seven.

Sherman was a surprise omission from the Pro Bowl roster announced Wednesday. Despite his impressive numbers, Sherman was a first alternate at cornerback for the NFC, behind the Chicago duo of Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman, and Arizona's Patrick Peterson.

``I appreciate the league for allowing justice to be served and allowing me to continue to play,'' Sherman said.

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What you need to know from the Ravens' 27-14 win over the Broncos

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USA TODAY Sports

What you need to know from the Ravens' 27-14 win over the Broncos

The Ravens got a 27-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.

It was an interesting game for many reasons including Broncos star rookie running back, Phillip Lindsay, getting ejected in the first half for throwing a punch.

Here's what you need to know from Sunday's win:

— Rookie linebacker Kenny Young stepped in for injured C.J. Mosley and showed he will be a starter. Young had a critical sack on Broncos quarterback Case Keenum on a third down in the second and finished the day with 10 tackles. The Ravens defense as a whole was impressive. While they gave up a lot of short third downs, they stopped their fair share as well. Most importantly was the late fourth quarter interception from Patrick Onwuasor, while the Broncos were threatening in Ravens territory. 

— The Ravens are continuing to work on the run game, as something offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg emphasized after the team was averaging just 3.3-yards-per-carry heading into Week 3. Against the Broncos, the team averaged just 2.8 yard-per-carry, but put up two rushing touchdowns from Buck Allen and Alex Collins.

— It was a strange day for the Ravens' special teams when the Broncos blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown on the first drive of the game. The day became even stranger when safety Justin Simmons, (illegally) leaped over long snapper Morgan Cox to block a field goal and the penalty went uncalled. Kicker Justin Tucker made up for it by hitting not one, but two 52-yard field goals, his eighth straight from beyond 50. 

Joe Flacco finished the day 25 of 40 for 277 yards and one touchdown, while helping improve the team to 12-12 in the red zone. The QBs most impressive play came late in the fourth on a third down hitting the gas pedal, to not only get the first down but stayed in-bounds to keep the clock running and sealing the team's victory. His connection with John Brown continues to be strong after finding the receiver for a 44-yard gain, too.

The Ravens are now 2-1 and head to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night matchup in Week 4. 

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Five observations from the Redskins win over the Packers

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USA TODAY Sports

Five observations from the Redskins win over the Packers

LANDOVER, Md. — Entering Week 3, it was unsure which Redskins team would show up: the team that dismantled the Cardinals in Week 1 on the road, or the team that fell to the Colts by multiple scores in their home opener a week ago.

On Sunday, the Redskins looked a lot more like the team from week 1.

Behind a solid running game led by Adrian Peterson's two touchdowns and a strong defensive performance, the Redskins defeated the Packers 31-17 on Sunday. 

Here are Rich Tandler's observations from Week 3.

FIVE KEY OBSERVATIONS FROM REDSKINS vs. PACKERS WEEK 2

1. They got off to a great start and kept going

If  the  Redskins  were  going  to  win  this  game  they  knew  they  would  have  to  stick  with  the  Packers  score  for  score  and  score  touchdowns,  not  field  goals.  They  did  what  the  doctor  ordered,  getting  in  the  end  zone  on  two  of  their  first  three  possession.  The  first  one  was  a  quick  strike  with  Alex  Smith  throwing  a  46-yard  TD  to  Paul  Richardson  to  cap  a  four-play  drive.  The  next  one  took  10  plays  and  it  ended  on  a  two-yard  Adrian  Peterson  touchdown  run.  That  made  it  14-0.  The  Redskins  kept  their  foot  on  the  gas,  driving  to  two  more  touchdowns  before  halftime  to  take  a  28-10  lead  into  the  locker  room.  It  was  exactly  what  they  needed  coming  off  a  flat  loss  as  favorites  last  week.    

2. Alex Smith shows he can throw deep

During  the  week  there  were  plenty  of  fans  and  members  of  the  media  pointing  out  that  Alex  Smith  wasn’t  throwing  the  ball  deep,  that  he  had  returned  to  being  the  checkdown  game  manager  he  was  for  most  of  his  career.  But  he  limbered  up  his  arm  on  the  first  series  with  the  46-yard  touchdown  bomb  to.  In  the  second  quarter  he  went  deep  down  the  right  sideline  to  Vernon  Davis  for  a  50-yard  game.  He  finished  the  day  12  for  20  with  220  yards  and  2  TDs.  Smith  also  ran  for  20  yards.  Smith  had  an  interception  due  to  a  miscommunication  with  Jordan  Reed.  All  in  all,  a  better  day  for  Smith.    

3. The defense was strong early and late

The  Redskins  defense  was  good  early,  when  the  Redskins  were  in  the  process  of  building  a  21-3  lead.  And  they  were  good  in  the  fourth  quarter  when  they  held  the  Packers  to  a  three  and  out  from  deep  in  their  own  territory.  It  should  be  noted  that  the  did  benefit  from  a  dropped  deep  pass  on  third  down  that  would  have  given  the  Packers  the  first  down  and  excellent  field  position.  With  a  little  over  five  minutes  left,  they  got  a  takeaway  to  put  the  Redskins  in  great  position  to  win.  After  a  short  completion,  Fabian  Moreau  stripped  the  ball  away  and  Josh  Norman  recovered  at  the  Packers  46.

4. Peterson gets back on track

There  was  talk  that  Adrian  Peterson  all  of  a  sudden  aged  from  Week  1,  when  he  gained  96  yards,  to  Week  2,  when  he  picked  up  20  yards  on  11  carries.  Today  he  was  back  on  the  ball.  He  had  a  41-yard  run  in  the  second  quarter.  But  his  best  runs  were  when  the  Redskins  were  trying  to  kill  the  clock  and  he  tore  off  gains  of  17,  two,  and  seven  yards.  He  again  looked  like  a  viable  NFL  running  back  as  he  ran  for  120  yards  on  19  carries.   

5. The bye is ahead

The Redskins are going into their ridiculously early bye week on a high note. They have played well twice, and they didn’t show up for the one in between. They will have a long, tough road ahead of them. The team will go to into it knowing that they can compete with one of the best teams in the league with the best player in the league and come out on top. When they return two weeks from tomorrow, they will face another one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Drew Brees.

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