Drew Brees brilliance, Tom Brady’s bumbling and buoyant Bills — NFL Week 3 review

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees goes over the top for the winning touchdown in overtime to beat the Atlanta Falcons 43-37 in an NFL football game, on Sunday, Sept 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP)
Updated 27 September 2018
0

Drew Brees brilliance, Tom Brady’s bumbling and buoyant Bills — NFL Week 3 review

Here is Arab News’ weekly examination of all the talking points from the NFL...

Has Drew Brees’ loyalty cost him greatness?
There are very few records left to break for the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees. In Sunday’s thrilling overtime win against divisional rivals Atlanta Falcons, Brees broke Brett Favre’s record for the most completed passes in NFL history. In the coming weeks, he will likely overtake Peyton Manning’s NFL record for career passing yards — Brees needs just 417 more to claim that record.
Yet, for all his numerical greatness, he has just one Super Bowl ring. Since 2006, Brees has been the Saints’ quarterback, and the stars aligned in 2009 as his efforts clinched an emotional Super Bowl for the team. But he has not been back to the Big Game since, and one has to wonder whether, if he had had the attacking weapons at the disposal of Manning and Tom Brady over the past decade, he could have won a few more. When he does finally call it a day, he will look back fondly on a fantastic career, but perhaps with a touch of regret that — in a sport where titles matter — he will not be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Brady, John Elway and Joe Montana.

Is the Patriots dynasty finally waning?
Speaking of Brady, we are in uncharted waters with the New England Patriots after losing to the previously winless Detroit Lions for back-to-back defeats. Over the past 15 years, that has only happened six times. Worse still, onlookers labeled it one of the low points in Bill Belichick’s 19 years at the franchise. The usually potent and formidable attacking line of the Patriots has not clicked at all this season. There is hope for Pats fans, though, as they have made similarly bad starts before and gone on to win the whole thing. But there is a nagging feeling that this is the beginning of the end for this all-conquering Patriots dynasty.

The NFL is anything but predictable
Hollywood loves an underdog movie about gridiron — think “Any Given Sunday” — but in the NFL, life sometimes imitates art. In the first two weeks of the season, the Buffalo Bills looked like a high school team. This week, they turned up to face the much-fancied Vikings in their own back yard and trounced them 27-6. Meanwhile, the league’s dark horses, Jacksonville, were far from championship-winning material in a dour 9-6 loss to the Titans. A lot of non-sporting nonsense surrounds the NFL, but at its core is an intriguing, exciting and highly unpredictable sport.


We could watch the Kansas City Chiefs every week
The exploits of Patrick Mahomes make the Chiefs the most exciting team to watch in the NFL at the moment, but their blistering offensive line and sometimes shambolic defense mean their games have been high-scoring blockbusters. They became the first team to score 38 points or more in a game during the first three weeks with a 38-27 win over San Francisco, but they have also conceded 92 points in those three matches. Not bad, considering they are spearheaded by Andy Reid, the man sacked by the Eagles for making them too defensively minded and negative.

 


Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal into Monte Carlo last eight

Updated 18 April 2019
0

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal into Monte Carlo last eight

  • Medvedev eliminates 6th seed Tsitsipas in three sets

MONTE CARLO: Top seed Novak Djokovic and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal showed no mercy in dominating wins to power into the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals on Thursday.

Djokovic extended his winning streak against US players with a 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Taylor Fritz.

The two-time tournament champion has now won nine in a row over Americans since losing at Wimbledon in 2016 to Sam Querrey.

“It was very challenging to play in these (windy) conditions,” Djokovic said. “Taylor just flattens the ball.

“We had five, six close games in the first set, I just managed to break his resistance midway through.

“After that, things went on my side and I felt more comfortable.

“This was one of these days where you just have to hang in there and try to put an extra ball back in the court — that was enough.”

Nadal repeated last year’s semifinal win over Grigor Dimitrov, beating the Bulgarian for the 12th time, 6-4, 6-1.

“I’m very, very happy, this is an important victory for me,” the second seed said after winning his 23rd consecutive set at the tournament.

“Grigor is a super talent and is very dangerous. It was a positive match for me.

“I had a good day, I can be happy with what I did on court.

“When you don’t play on clay for almost a year, every win is important for the confidence, especially as I’m coming back from injury.”

Spain’s 17-time Grand Slam champion started his clay season this week after missing a month with another knee problem and has title-holder points to defend here plus Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros.

The king of clay is bidding for a 12th trophy in the principality. His record at the event is a staggering 70-4.

Nadal spent almost an hour in securing the first set but picked up the pace in the second as he ran out the winner.

He next faces Guido Pella, who defeated Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

World No. 1 Djokovic will be playing his ninth quarterfinal here from 13 appearances at his home event.

Djokovic turned in a steady performance with a dozen winners and unforced errors, while his opponent committed nearly 30 unforced errors in 68 minutes.

Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier lost 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 as Daniil Medvedev continued his run of form.

The Russian will next line up against Djokovic after losing to him in January in the Australian Open fourth round.

Tsitsipas was caught on the back foot facing three match points as he trailed 0-40 on his serve late in the second set. After saving the first two, the Greek botched the third to seal his exit after an hour and three-quarters.

Medvedev increased his leading total of ATP season match wins to 20 as a result after he beat Tsitsipas for the fourth time in as many attempts.

“This was a great achievement for me,” Medvedev said. “Everything was perfect today.

“Some wind came up in the second set and I could not get used to it. But in the third, I just worked to put every ball in the court.

“I was pleased to fight back after going a break down in the third set.”

The player who stands a career-high 14th credits his rising form to a renewed dedication to the sport.

“I’ve been working hard for the past 18 months —  since before the start of 2018. I’ve dedicated my life to tennis, which I did not do before,” Medvedev said.

“I had my best season last year — hopefully this year will be better.”

The Russian reached his first quarterfinal at the Masters 1000 level after winning his second match against a Top 10 opponent.

Tsitsipas, runner-up last season to Nadal in Toronto, suffered his eighth defeat of the season against 18 wins and will try and lift his game next week on the clay of Barcelona. 

Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego defeated Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-2, 7-5.