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Dan Quinn returns with high-flying Falcons to face Seahawks

SEATTLE (AP) — When Dan Quinn left Seattle for his opportunity to be an NFL head coach in Atlanta, he wanted to create an identity unique to the Falcons.

Quinn didn’t want Atlanta to be a replica of what he experienced in Seattle, even if the principles he wanted for the Falcons were similar.

“Can the team be featured in the very best way of how we wanted to utilize the players? The messaging, the identity, the toughness that we wanted to play with, having that really come to life?” Quinn said. “I think it took going through some tough lessons and developing some resiliency through last year with some difficult losses. … Those were scars that were painful as hell to go through, but on the other side of it we grew tougher, we grew stronger.”

Quinn’s former team will get an up-close look at what he’s created in Atlanta when the Seahawks host the Falcons on Sunday in a clash of teams that look to be among the top contenders in the NFC.

It’s an enticing matchup, featuring Atlanta’s No. 1 offense against Seattle’s top-ranked defense that’s had an extra week of rest and preparation. And it’s a reunion for Quinn to see the defense he helped create in Seattle during his two seasons as coordinator, and whether it can slow down Matt Ryan and the Falcons.


Richard Sherman’s next job may be shadowing Julio Jones

SEATTLE (AP) — As his career has progressed, Seattle’s Richard Sherman has become more adept at shadowing a specific wide receiver instead of concentrating on covering one side of the field.

He may have quite the challenge coming up Sunday: Atlanta’s Julio Jones, just two weeks removed from racking up 300 yards receiving against Carolina.

“I watch the wide receiver play in Julio, he’s one the very greatest football minds at his position. He has a real understanding of the game, the coverage, the leverage and that was one of the things when I first met Sherm,” said Atlanta head coach and former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. “I was so impressed with his football knowledge growing stronger through the years. That’ll be a classic matchup that we’re looking forward to being a part of.”

Yes, even the coaches are excited to see how this one plays out.

While it’s not certain Sherman will match up on Jones exclusively, there have been plenty of assumptions this week that that will be the case. And should they face off, there won’t be any acrimony. Jones and Sherman have become friends off the field after meeting at the Pro Bowl.

“He’s a fascinating dude,” Sherman said.


Kershaw gets save, LA tops Nats 4-3 to win NLDS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Clayton Kershaw got the final two outs to earn his first major league save and finish the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals in Game 5 to win their NL Division Series.

Entering with runners on first and second and one out in the ninth inning after 12:30 a.m. on Friday, Kershaw got Daniel Murphy to pop out and struck out Wilmer Difo to send LA to the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Kershaw was pitching two days after going 6 2/3 innings in Game 4. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner was making his first relief appearance since the 2009 playoffs.


Rapids move to top the table and eliminate Earthquakes 2-1

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) — Kevin Doyle scored two goals and the Colorado Rapids beat San Jose 2-1 on Thursday night to take the MLS overall lead and eliminate the Earthquakes from playoff contention.

Colorado (15-5-12, 57 points) won its third in a row to surpass FC Dallas (56 points) in the standings. The Rapids visit the Portland Timbers on Saturday and host the Houston Dynamo to finish the season the following week.

Doyle capped the scoring on a penalty kick in the 73rd minute, beating San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham with a shot up the middle. He made it 1-0 in the 38th minute with a diving header to finish Marc Burch’s cross.

Chris Wondolowski tied it for the Quakes (8-11-13) on a penalty kick in the 57th minute.

It was the Rapids’ first victory over San Jose since the 2011 season.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.