Seahawks rally past battered Redskins...

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Seahawks rally past battered Redskins...

From Comcast SportsNetLANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Russell Wilson raced ahead to throw the final block on Marshawn Lynch's go-ahead touchdown run, and the Seattle Seahawks finally had a victorious road show.Robert Griffin III's knee buckled as he tried to field a bad shotgun snap, leaving the Washington Redskins an offseason to worry about their franchise player's health.The last rookie quarterback standing in the NFL playoffs is Wilson -- the third-round pick who teamed with Lynch on Sunday to lead the Seahawks to a 24-14 victory over the Griffin and the Redskins.Lynch ran for 132 yards, and Wilson completed 15 of 26 passes for 187 yards and ran eight times for 67 yards for the Seahawks, who overcame a 14-0 first-quarter hole -- their biggest deficit of the season -- and will visit the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons next Sunday."It was only two touchdowns, but it's still a big comeback and in this setting and the crowd, it's a marvelous statement about the guys resolve and what is going on," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "It's not about how you start but how you finish."Seattle will be riding a six-game winning streak, having left behind any doubts that the team can hold its own outside the Pacific Northwest. The Seahawks were 3-5 on the road in the regular season and had lost eight straight road playoff games, the last win coming in December 1983 against the Miami Dolphins.The day began with three rookie quarterbacks in the playoffs, but No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck was eliminated when the Indianapolis Colts lost 24-9 to the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the day.Lynch's change-of-direction, 27-yard touchdown run -- with Wilson leading the way with a block on safety Madieu Williams near the goal line -- and a 2-point conversion gave the Seahawks a 21-14 lead with 7:08 remaining."Marshawn always tells me, Russ, I got your back, no matter what,'" Wilson said. "So I just try to help him out every cone in a while when he gets downfield."Then came the play that essentially put the outcome to rest.On the second play of the Redskins' next possession, Griffin's heavily braced right knee buckled badly as he tried to field a bad shotgun snap on a second-and-22 at Washington's 12-yard line. He lay on the ground, unable to recover the ball as the Seahawks pounced on it.Griffin walked off the field under his own power, but the Redskins announced he would not return. After a few minutes, Griffin walked back to the sideline and watched the end of the game. The extent of the injury was not immediately known.Griffin was playing in his third game since spraining his right knee about a month ago against the Baltimore Ravens, and he had been looking gimpy since tumbling backward following an ill-advised sidearm throw in the first quarter.Nevertheless, he stayed in the game. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he didn't pull Griffin because the quarterback wanted to continue."I think I did put myself at more risk," Griffin said. "But every time you get on the field, you're putting yourself on the line."Griffin was scheduled for an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.Having recovered the fumble, the Seahawks kicked a short field goal to give them the insurance they needed. Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins, subbing for Griffin, was unable to rally the Redskins in the final minutes.Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick and last year's Heisman Trophy winner who set several rookie quarterback record this year, finished 10 for 19 for 84 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also had five carries for 21 yards, including a laboring 9-yard run that made him look 32 years old instead of 22.The loss ended a seven-game winning streak for the Redskins, who recovered from a 3-6 start to win the NFC East.The Redskins opened the game threatening to make a mockery of the NFL's top scoring defense. Simple toss-to-the-right stretch plays netted 8, 9 and 18 yards for Alfred Morris in an 80-yard drive, and tight end Logan Paulsen barreled into linebacker Malcolm Smith after a catch to highlight a 54-yard drive.Both possessions ended with 4-yard touchdown passes: one to Evan Royster for his first NFL TD catch and the other to Paulsen. The Redskins led 14-0 in the first quarter against a team that allowed a season-low 15.3 per game in the regular season, but Griffin had tweaked the knee on that second drive.The Seahawks responded by getting Lynch involved more and scoring on three consecutive drives to pulled within a point at halftime. Steven Hauschka, who injured his left ankle during the first half and had to relinquish kickoff duties, nevertheless sandwiched field goals of 32 and 29 yards around a 4-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Michael Robinson.The Seahawks were poised to take the lead on the opening drive of the second half, moving the ball to 1-yard line with a pair of nice runs by Lynch and a leaping catch by Golden Tate.But Lynch fumbled on second-and-goal from the 1, the ball popped loose and was recovered by defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins. Then, on their next drive, the Seahawks drove to Washington's 28 before a sack forced a punt -- rather than a long field goal attempt by an injured kicker.With the Redskins' offense struggling, however, the Seahawks had more chances to take the lead -- and finally did on the 79-yard drive capped by Lynch's touchdown run.The playoff meeting between the two teams was the third, but first outside Seattle. The Seahawks won 20-10 in January 2006, and 35-14 in January 2008. Those were the last two postseason games played by the Redskins.Seattle had outscored opponents 193-60 in its final five games of the regular season. But they were 3-5 on the road and had lost eight straight road playoff games. Their only road playoff win came in their first postseason road game, Dec. 31, 1983, at Miami.And now they have another.

Cubs not worrying about a thing after split with Marlins: 'We're right there'

Cubs not worrying about a thing after split with Marlins: 'We're right there'

MIAMI – Jon Jay walked into a quiet clubhouse late Sunday morning, turned right and headed directly toward the sound system in one corner of the room, plugging his phone into the sound system and playing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.”

The Cubs outfielder whistled as he changed into his work clothes at Marlins Park, singing along to the lyrics with Anthony Rizzo a few lockers over: “Don’t worry, about a thing, ‘cause every little thing gonna be all right.” 

That’s what the Cubs keep telling themselves, because most of them have World Series rings and the National League Central is such a bad division.

“The biggest thing is to keep the floaties on until we get this thing right,” manager Joe Maddon said before a 4-2 loss left the Cubs treading water again at 38-37. “We’re solvent. We’re right there. We’re right next to first place.”

The Cubs will leave this tropical environment and jump into the deep end on Monday night for the start of a four-game showdown against the Washington Nationals in the nation’s capital.

Miami sunk the Cubs in the first inning when Addison Russell made a costly error on the routine groundball Miami leadoff guy Ichiro Suzuki chopped to shortstop, a mistake that helped create three unearned runs. Martin Prado drilled Mike Montgomery’s first-pitch fastball off the left-center field wall for a two-out double and a 3-0 lead. Montgomery (1-4, 2.03 ERA) lasted six innings and retired the last 10 batters he faced.

“Keep The Floaties On” sounds like an idea for Maddon’s next T-shirt. The 2017 Cubs haven’t been more than four games over .500 or two games under .500 at any point this season. The 2016 Cubs didn’t lose their 37th game until July 19 and spent 180 days in first place.

“That’s what was so special about it,” Rizzo said. “We boat-raced from Game 1 to Game 7 with a couple bumps in the road, but this is baseball. It’s not going to be all smooth-sailing every day. You got to work through things.”

As MLB addresses long game times, why Mark Buehrle’s zippy pace is worth highlighting

As MLB addresses long game times, why Mark Buehrle’s zippy pace is worth highlighting

Sometime in the future, near or far, Major League Baseball will probably begin using a pitch clock to penalize sluggish hitters and pitchers.

The sport without a clock will, someday, have a clock. ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian offered that as one of his predictions for what baseball could look like 20 years from now, which would be one of Rob Manfred’s signature reforms as commissioner. 

This kind of change wouldn’t be necessary, though, if more pitchers were like Mark Buehrle. 

“Buehrle was hyper,” pitching coach Don Cooper said. “He wanted to go, go, go.”

No pitcher since 2007 — when Pitch F/X began calculating “pace” — worked faster than Buehrle, who averaged 16.7 seconds between pitches. Only 56 qualified pitchers since 2007 can be considered to work “fast,” i.e. with an average time between pitches of 20 seconds or fewer (it’s a list that includes fellow former White Sox left-handers John Danks and Chris Sale). And that’s only 12 percent of the 473 qualified pitchers in the last decade.

Buehrle’s 99-minute complete game against the Seattle Mariners in 2005 still is the only nine-inning contest to be completed in fewer than 100 minutes since 1984. There was that memorable 1:53 duel with Mark Mulder and the Oakland A’s in 2003, and both Buehrle’s perfect game and no hitter lasted 2:03. 

Of course, Buehrle didn’t just work quick, he pitched well while zipping through innings. Buehrle finished his career with a 3.81 ERA, made four All-Star teams and threw at least 200 innings every year from 2001-2014. He had a .572 career winning percentage, too, so Cooper knew about Buehrle would give the White Sox a chance to win in about six out of every 10 starts.

“But you also know it’s going to be about two hours and 10 minutes, too,” Cooper added. 

A given game’s length isn’t all about the pace of the pitcher, of course. Batters can slow things down by stepping out of the box and calling for time, and games can feel like a slog with replay delays and mid-inning pitching changes. 

Still, how quickly a pitcher works usually dictates the pace of a game and how long it takes to be completed. Cooper wondered why hitters didn’t step out more against Buehrle to disrupt his rhythm, but perhaps the answer is that everyone on the field gets caught up in the quick pace set by the pitcher. 

“Everybody tells me they were so happy when I pitched for a quick game, but every time I was on the bench in between my starts, it was a 3, 3 1/2 hour game and it wasn't very much fun,” Buehrle said. “I think some of these games do get too long. Pitchers take their time, hitters get out of the box. I don't get all that but that's just the way I worked. I just grabbed the ball and went.”

Maybe adding a pitch clock with penalties affecting the count will force pitchers and hitters to find a quicker rhythm. That was one of the hallmarks of Buehrle’s career, and those snappy starts are one of the reasons why No. 56 was such a popular player on 35th and Shields. 

Former manager Ozzie Guillen, in summing up Buehrle's mentality, also offered some free advice for fixing baseball's pace-of-play problem: “Just throw the ball, get people out and have fun.”