#1

Detroit coach Mike Babcock

in second hand Lense Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:41 am
by Cl11234566 • 345 Posts

SEATTLE -- A couple thousand Seahawks fans were crowded in front of the television stage when Russell Wilson walked out of the locker room still in full uniform. Instantly, the chant started. "MVP! MVP!" Hard to argue against Wilson after a performance like Monday night. Wilson threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns, and the Seahawks became the first team to clinch a spot in the NFC playoffs with a 34-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints. More important than just wrapping up a spot in the post-season, the Seahawks (11-1) moved two games ahead on the rest of the NFC in the race for home-field advantage and hold the tiebreakers over New Orleans (9-3) and Carolina (9-3), the two closest pursuers. The rest of the top teams better get ready to visit the Pacific Northwest in January. After this rout, the road through the NFC playoffs is almost certain to go through Seattle. "For us to come out in that fashion and to win that game the way that we did was awesome," Wilson said. Wilson was outstanding, picking apart the Saints defence. He threw touchdown passes of 2 yards to Zach Miller and 4 yards to Doug Baldwin in the first half as Seattle built a 27-7 lead. Wilson added a pinball 8-yard TD pass to Derrick Coleman in the third quarter. Wilson completed 22 of 30 passes and finished with a quarterback rating of 139.6. He has 22 regular-season wins in his first two seasons, tied for the most ever by a second-year QB and is 14-0 at home. Michael Bennett had a 22-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the first quarter to give Seattle a 10-0 lead and the Saints never threatened. It was a dominating performance by the Seahawks, making up for a lacklustre effort the last time they were given a national television spotlight and were taken to the final yard and final play by St. Louis. Not this time. The most anticipated game in the NFC this season was a laugher. Drew Brees and the Saints were stymied the entire night as he lost for the first time on Monday night after nine straight wins, and continued the belief New Orleans cant win outdoors late in the season. New Orleans didnt crack 100 yards of total offence into midway through the third quarter. Jimmy Graham was nearly invisible outside of his franchise-record 12th TD catch of the season in the second quarter that pulled the Saints to 17-7. Brees finished 23 of 38 for 147 yards. Graham had three catches for 42 yards. Darren Sproles led New Orleans with seven catches, many of those check downs. The seven points matched the fewest scored by the Saints since Sean Payton became coach in 2006 and the 188 total yards were the fewest in his coaching tenure. "Lot of things to look at," Payton said. "Lot of things we didnt do well." It was K.J. Wrights job to shadow Graham and he hounded the Saints star all night. "The coaches told me Were going to let you hold (Graham). Just do your job, win on your leverage, trust your guys around you and just play your best game. Thats what I tried to do," Wright said. The Saints went three-and-out on their first possession and that was just the start of their struggles. On their next possession, Brees was hit from behind by Cliff Avril and fumbled into the arms of Bennett, who returned it for the touchdown. Brees was unable to take advantage of Seattles depleted secondary. The Seahawks were without Brandon Browner (injury) and Walter Thurmond (suspension) but Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane played well in their places. "We took one in the chin today," Brees said. "We got out played today. They played great. They made a lot of plays and we didnt." Seattle used the bye week to add wrinkles to its offence. Wilson was a threat not only passing but running with the zone read again becoming an addition to the playbook. Wilson carried five times in the first half, three of those designed keepers. But it was his passing that stole the show. Wilson was 14 of 19 in the first half for 226 yards and a rating of 148.1. He found Miller open for a 60-yard catch-and-run early in the second quarter, then capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Miller and a 17-0 lead. Wilson later hit Doug Baldwin for 52 yards. Seattle had seven pass completions of 12 or more yards in the first half. The Seahawks finished with 315 first-half yards, the most allowed by the Saints in a first half since 2005 against Minnesota. Baldwin said Seattle saw a specific blitz package from the Saints on film and the Seahawks knew theyd have chances to go downfield. "We wanted to be great against the blitz," Wilson said. " ... We knew they were going to bring some pressure and we like the sense of pressure because there is a lot of green grass behind it." Notes: Wilson averaged 10.3 yards per pass attempt, while Brees was at 3.9. ... 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With the final four being arguably the four best – and most complete – teams from the regular season, picking a winner is not as easy as it sounds.DETROIT -- The offensively challenged and banged-up Detroit Red Wings proved to the defending Stanley Cup champions that theyre still tough to beat. Darren Helm scored on Detroits sixth attempt in the shootout and then Jonas Gustavsson stopped Andrew Shaws shot, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night. "Were a little depleted, but we still have a great team and we showed that," said Patrick Eaves, who had the second of his teams three goals in the shootout and a game-tying goal in the first period. "It was nice to get rewarded for playing well." The Blackhawks faced Detroit for the first time since beating the Red Wings in overtime in Game 7 of their second-round series last year to complete a comeback from a 3-1 deficit. They are only scheduled to play one more time in the regular season because the Red Wings were moved to the Eastern Conference this season as part of the NHLs realignment. "Any time you play the Red Wings, its going to be an intense game given the rivalry and whats happened in the past," Chicagos Patrick Kane said. "Theyre playing through some injuries and havent had any luck as of late in that area, but its still a dangerous team. Sometimes you get these young guys that come up from the minors, they want to prove themselves and prove they belong." Chicago captain Jonathan Toews scored on his teams first attempt in the shootout and Patrick Sharp scored on the second before Kane was stopped with a chance to win a game the Blackhawks led 2-0 in the first period. "They played better as the game went along," Toews said. Gustavsson, playing for the injured Jimmy Howard, made 31 saves in his first game in nearly a month. "It was a good test and I felt good," said Gustavsson, who has been on injured reserve three times this season with a groin injury. "I didnt feel any pain." Corey Crawford gave up four goals on the first 17 shots hhe faced and finished with 27 saves for the Blackhawks.dddddddddddd "We werent very good," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "They worked hard. They were a hard-working team." Chicago took a 2-0 lead when Marian Hossa and Shaw scored 1:45 apart midway through the first period and it looked like the Red Wings were in trouble. Tomas Tatar, though, scored less than a minute later and Eaves tied the game at 2 late in the opening period. "To make it 2-1 was a key in the game," Eaves said. Sharps slap shot just seconds into a power play early in the second put the Blackhawks ahead again, but Kyle Quincey responded 1:17 later in the period with a game-tying goal. Detroits Gustav Nyquist was set up perfectly in front of the net on a go-ahead goal off Henrik Zetterbergs third assist of the night after Justin Abdelkader hustled for loose puck in a corner. "Abby played hard and chased down the puck and set up Z," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. The Red Wings were without injured forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Daniel Alfredsson and Joakim Andersson. They did get defenceman Jonathan Ericsson in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 23 when he broke ribs in a game against the New York Islanders. "Getting Big E back made a huge difference for us matchup-wise," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. NOTES: Datsyuk missed his eighth straight game with a lower-body injury, but has begun to skate again and said he will "for sure" play for Russia has its captain next month at the Winter Olympics. ... Crawford hadnt given up four goals since Dec. 5, 2013, since a 4-3 loss to Minnesota and had allowed five goals in two games earlier in the season. ... Chicago was 9-0-1 in its previous 10 regular season games in Detroit. ... Kane hasnt scored in 11 games, the longest streak without a goal since going 12 games without a goal during the 2008-09 season. ... Detroit plays March 16 at Chicago. ' ' '

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