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.

Brady have animosity for Ravens after Deflategate? 'Try to put everything aside'

Brady have animosity for Ravens after Deflategate? 'Try to put everything aside'

FOXBORO -- It's not about their memorable regular-season game from 2007. It's not about their playoff battles in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014. It's not even about Deflategate. 

Tom Brady said on Thursday that the Monday Night Football matchup between the Patriots and Ravens will be solely based on what those two teams can do on that particular night. Nothing about their history as rivals will creep into Brady's mind, he said.

Or at least he'll try to make sure that's the case.

"I think all these games are kind of the same," Brady answered when asked if he had any animosity for the Ravens for their role in sparking Deflategate. "I just look at the opponent, look at what they do, and the only thing that matters is what they do this week in practice and in the game.

"I think you just try to put everything aside, and whether it was that, or whether it was a playoff game a couple of years ago, or whether it was a regular season game a couple of years ago or championship games . . . I mean, none of those really matter.

"It’s really going to be about what this team does this week and like I said, Coach [Bill Belichick] has tried to put a lot of urgency on that. We understand that. We know we’re facing a team that’s 7-5. They’re at the top of their division. They have a lot of confidence in what they do and so do we. It’s going to be a good, tough matchup."

Casting aside the complicated backstory of these two teams may be difficult to do, particularly when the Ravens had some hand in helping get the ball rolling on what eventually became a four-game suspension for Brady. But the Patriots quarterback knows he'll have to have a signular focus against the league's top defense when it comes to yards allowed and rushing yards allowed. 

"No one has done a better job over the course of the season than them," Brady said. "I think they do things really well in a lot of areas, so they’re good in first-down defense, good in third-down defense, third-and-short, good on the goal line, good in the red area. They contest every yard, so I think that’s the mark of a good defense.

"They don’t give you anything easy. You have to earn it. I think they do a good mix with their scheme and also with their personnel, so we’re prepared for a 60-minute game. That’s what we’re practicing for. If it’s something different than that, then we’ll adjust, but we know it’s going to be a good, tough matchup."

Haggerty: Pastrnak’s price keeps going up, but Bruins will gladly pay

Haggerty: Pastrnak’s price keeps going up, but Bruins will gladly pay

At this point, there’s no really no limit to the offensive pyrotechnics show that 20-year-old David Pastrnak is putting on nightly for the Bruins. 

The electric Pastrnak scored his 16th goal of the season in his 22nd game in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night. He was at the heart of a Bruins comeback that erased a three-goal deficit on the way to an overtime point. It was vintage Pastrnak with the speedy winger stripping Evgeny Kuznetsov of the puck at Washington’s offensive blue line, and then winning a race to the net before sliding a backhanded shot through Braden Holtby’s leg pads. 

It was a pure speed and skill play at its very core and that’s not an observation you’ve always been able to make about the B’s offense. 

That narrowed Washington’s lead to a one goal at the end of the second period and set things up for the Bruins to make an impressive final push in the closing 20 minutes. For Pastrnak, it also continues a breakout season that began with dedicating himself to improving his size and strength last summer, and included getting up to a weight of 190 pounds that allows him to stand in, stay on his skates and win key one-on-one battles all over the ice. 

But the most important difference for Pastrnak is the pure, unadulterated offense he’s generating for the Black and Gold this season. After two years of learning and development on the job, the Czech winger is totally cashing in on the elite offensive skills he brought into the league as the youngest player in the NHL two seasons ago. He’s on pace to become the fourth Bruins player in the past 25 years to hit the 40-goal mark. He is the exact kind of game-breaking force the B’s have been desperately yearning for since they shipped Tyler Seguin to Dallas following the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. 

“He’s burying pucks at a great rate. There’s no question. But I think the way that he’s done it…he soaks it all in and you see Pasta not at all full of himself, and coming in here where he’s always light-hearted and has a great day every day seemingly,” said David Backes. “You love to have guys at the rink like that who bring the energy every day, and a young guy that loves the game, and is always working on it and really using all the tools that he’s been given. 

“There’s a lot of season left to continue to add to that [goal] total and to continue to help us win games. He’ll tell you that the most important part of him scoring is that it helps us win games, and that’s what the mindset is in this [dressing] room.”

As Backes alluded to, don’t expect the fun-loving, hard-working Pastrnak to get caught up in the numbers, or be overwhelmed with his standing as the third-leading scorer in the NHL behind a couple of guys named Sidney Crosby and Patrik Laine. 

After all, this is a guy that purposefully hasn’t gone to get his two front teeth fixed after they were smashed by a high stick a few weeks back, and instead made a Dumb and Dumber joke on his Instagram account. 

So, Pastrnak isn’t hung up on the cosmetics of his breakthrough third NHL season. He’s intent on doing what’s been working for him this season. 

“Obviously there’s social media that I’m on, so I kind of see [the stat leaders] a little bit. But it’s obviously not something I’m focused on or looking for. So far it’s getting [the puck] in, but in ten games it could be somebody else who has that goal streak, you know?” said Pastrnak. “As long as we’re winning games it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the top [of the league’s goal scorers] or whether you’re on the bottom. 

“We are like one team, and that’s the way we’re going to get better. It’s not a one-man unit, it’s 22 guys. I’m just trying to play the same way. It’s not like I’m going to have to score every game. Nobody is going to score every game in this league. When I have a chance I still have in my mindset that I want to pass a little too much, so I’ll just keep playing the same way. We have the same chances, five or six scoring chances, every game. Sometimes four of them are going to go in, sometimes one and sometimes none. I think we did a good job as a line and I have to give a lot of credit to my linemates. Without them, I wouldn’t have all these goals.”

One thing that will be on the minds of Bruins management, however, as the numbers pile up for Pastrnak: his contract status beyond this season. Pastrnak will be a restricted free agent following this breakout year, and he has perfectly timed his goal-scoring ascension with his ability to monetarily maximize the situation with a giant second contract.

If Pastrnak stays healthy and productive enough this season for 30-40 goals and 60-70 points (and he’s nearly halfway there just 27 games into the season), then he’s looking at the same kind of contract handed out to young, productive players like Johnny Gaudreau, Jonathan Huberdeau, Sean Monahan, Jaden Schwartz, Nathan MacKinnon and Mark Schiefele, in the range of five to six years at around $6 million per season, give or take a few hundred thousand per season. 

The real “nightmare” scenario for the Bruins is Pastrnak truly goes supersonic offensively and puts himself in a position where he can demand Vladimir Tarasenko money (eight years, $60 million) in a second contract. Certainly ,Pastrnak is realizing his star potential at the NHL level in his third season and may have NHL All-Star games and other honors in his near future, but he’s not quite yet at Tarasenko’s level of sustained, consistent excellence as he exits his entry-level deal. 

“If I could find a similarity it would be in the way they can both just find the open ice, where they can get available and the puck just seems to find those guys where they’re able to put it where they need to score goals,” said Backes, a longtime teammate of Tarasenko with the St. Louis Blues. “Pastrnak is a little more opportunistic closer to the net in finding loose pucks and scooping them in. They both have great shots,  but Tarasenko is a little more of a delay, find the late ice, get the late pass and be able to rip one past the goalie from a little bit further away. 

“They both have great one-timers. There’s probably a lot of similarities, but I think Pasta working with his linemates and the chemistry they’ve been able to achieve is awesome to see, and is going to be awesome for this group.”

Clearly, the Bruins want to avoid getting into a potential stalemate situation with Pastrnak where other, offensively-starved and desperate teams could throw offer sheets his way. This is a big part of the reason why the B’s opted not to go the nuclear route in throwing an offer sheet at Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba last summer, and open themselves up for another team to do it to them. Instead, the Bruins let the situation play itself with Trouba, and didn’t send a message that NHL poachers could come after Pastrnak if he’s somehow without a contract extension after the July 1 opening of free agency. 

Nobody is expecting it to play out in any kind of adversarial way, given how much Pastrnak enjoys playing in Boston and how much the B’s value their budding superstar. The Bruins have enough cap space to ultimately make it all work with their 20-year-old scoring machine, and his level of breathtaking skill and natural scoring ability is nearly impossible to replace. 

So, it should be all good for the Black and Gold: there’s no reason to think Pastrnak is going to fall off the cliff offensively from his torrid start, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be doing it for the Black and Gold for a long, long time to come. It goes without saying, though, that everybody will feel a lot better when Pastrnak is signed on the dotted line, and the offense keeps pouring in from the puck prodigy.