Brady, Pats bounce back, Chiefs and Falcons win

New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead (34) is congratulated by quarterback Tom Brady (12) after his 19-yard touchdown catch against the New Orleans Saints ini the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 18 September 2017
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Brady, Pats bounce back, Chiefs and Falcons win

LOS ANGELES: The New England Patriots’ early-season struggles didn’t last long.
Quarterback Tom Brady threw for 302 of his 447 passing yards in a 30-point first-half burst and the Super Bowl champion Patriots bounced back from a season-opening defeat with a 36-20 rout of the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday.
Brady, who had completed just 16 passes in a 42-27 loss to Kansas City last week, connected on 19 of 25 with three touchdowns in the first half alone.
It was the first time in the 40-year-old superstar’s career that he completed three TD passes in the first quarter.
“We were 0-1, and with the 10-day break, it felt like a year,” Brady said. “It was a good four quarters of great competition. We got off to a good start with some situational things, but we still left some things out there.”
Brady hit Rex Burkhead for a 19-yard TD, connected with Rob Gronkowski on a 53-yard score and threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan.
The Patriots led 30-13 at halftime and handed a Saints team led by prolific quarterback Drew Brees their second defeat in as many games this season.
It wasn’t all good news for New England.
Gronkowski, limited to eight games last season because of injury, appeared to have shaken off the rust as he caught six passes for 116 yards, but he departed the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent groin injury.
Hogan was limping in the second half and receiver Phillip Dorsett left late with a knee injury.
The Patriots’ final three scoring drives ended in field goals by Stephen Gostkowski.
Coming off their big season-opening win over the Patriots, the Chiefs got off to a slow start but came alive in the second half for a 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Kareem Hunt got loose for a 53-yard touchdown run with 1:20 left in the third quarter to put the Chiefs up 13-10.
Philadelphia tied the game with 11:57 seconds left in the fourth quarters with a 40-yard field goal from rookie Jake Elliott.
But the Chiefs took the lead for good with a 15-yard TD pass from Alex Smith to tight end Travis Kelce before Hunt plunged over for another touchdown from two yards out.
The Atlanta Falcons, who collapsed spectacularly in the Super Bowl against New England in February, improved to 2-0 with a 34-23 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
In their first game at their $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Falcons built a big lead and made it stand up.
Matt Ryan threw for 252 yards and a touchdown and Devonta Freeman rushed for 84 yards and two short TDs for Atlanta.
Falcons safety Desmond Trufant, who missed the second half of last season, had a 15-yard fumble return for a touchdown and set up another TD with an interception in the rematch of last season’s NFC championship game.
The Arizona Cardinals erased a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to post a 16-13 overtime victory over the Colts in Indianapolis.
Phil Dawson, who missed a potential game-winning field goal from 42 yards on the final play of regulation, booted a 30-yard field goal with 8:02 left in the extra period to win it.
He got the chance after Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett at the Indianapolis 22 yard line on the first play of overtime.
In Los Angeles, Kirk Cousins connected on an 11-yard touchdown pass to receiver Ryan Grant with 1:49 to play to lift the Washington Redskins to a 27-20 victory over the Rams.
There was disappointment for Los Angeles’ other team, too, as the Chargers, newly relocated from San Diego, dropped their first home game at the StubHub Center 19-17 to the Miami Dolphins.
Cody Parker kicked four field goals, including a 54-yarder with 65 seconds left, for Miami.
San Diego’s South Korean-born rookie Younghoe Koo missed a 44-yard field goal attempt with nine seconds left.


Refugee swimmer Mardini rising fast after fleeing war

Updated 21 July 2019
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Refugee swimmer Mardini rising fast after fleeing war

  • Mardini’s time was more than 12 seconds slower than that of reigning champion Sarah Sjostrom and 47th overall
  • Mardini famously competed at the Rio Olympics under the refugee flag

GWANGJU, South Korea: Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini, who almost drowned at sea fleeing her war-torn country four years ago, heaved a deep sigh after failing to set a personal best at the world swimming championships on Sunday.
Representing FINA’s independent athletes team, the 21-year-old looked up at the giant scoreboard and winced at her time of 1min 8.79sec in the 100 meters butterfly heats in South Korea.
“I’m not very happy actually,” Mardini told AFP.
“I had some problems with my shoulder but I’m back in training. I still have the 100m freestyle and I’m looking forward to that.”
Mardini’s time was more than 12 seconds slower than that of reigning champion Sarah Sjostrom and 47th overall, but she has come a long way since risking her life crossing from Izmir in Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos in the summer of 2015.
Thirty minutes into that treacherous journey, the motor on their dinghy cut out and the tiny vessel, carrying 20 people rather than the six or seven it was designed for, threatened to capsize.
As the only people who could swim, Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped into the water to push and pull the stricken dinghy for over three hours until they finally reached the shore.
“I arrived in Greece in only jeans and a T-shirt,” said Mardini, who also swims in the 100m freestyle later this week. “Even my shoes were gone.”
Mardini famously competed at the Rio Olympics a year later under the refugee flag.
“In the beginning I refused to be in a refugee team because I was afraid people would think I got the chance because of my story,” said Mardini, who now lives with her family in Berlin.
“I wanted to earn it. But then I realized I had a big opportunity to represent those people — so I took the chance and I never regretted it,” she added.
“Rio was amazing. It was really exciting to see the reaction of people to the team. Now I’m representing millions of displaced people around the world and it really makes me proud.”
It is a far cry from life back in Syria, where rocket strikes would often shake the pool she trained at in Damascus.
“There were bomb attacks sometimes that would crack the windows around the pool,” said Mardini, who has addressed the United Nations general assembly and whose story is set to be told in a Hollywood movie.
“We were scared the whole time.”
Fellow Syrian Ayman Kelzieh was also forced to flee the country before competing at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
Returning to Korea five years later, the 26-year-old now owns a fistful of national swim records, including the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly.
“When the war started I had just moved to Damascus and I couldn’t get back home to Aleppo,” said Kelzieh, who now lives on the Thai island of Phuket.
“But even in Damascus bombs sometimes even went off at the swimming pool we trained at,” he added after taking a poolside selfie with his idol, South African star Chad le Clos.
“There were even attacks at the hotel I stayed in — I was lucky.”