THINGS WE LEARNED IN THE NFL THIS WEEK: Remarkable LA Rams, good guy Andy Dalton and spoil sports

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Dalton has been in dynamic form so far for the Bengals. (AFP)
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Updated 03 October 2018
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THINGS WE LEARNED IN THE NFL THIS WEEK: Remarkable LA Rams, good guy Andy Dalton and spoil sports

LONDON: Week 4 of the NFL has been and gone and the season is starting to take shape. Here is what we learned from the gridiron action.

DO NOT SPOIL THE SPECTACLE

Fans will remember September 2012 all too well. With the league-approved referees on strike over bargaining agreements, sub-standard officials were drafted in to replace them. In a tight Week 3 game, the Seattle Seahawks beat Green Bay with a touchdown which has become known as the “Fail Mary.” One official gave a touchdown, the other — standing yards away — signalled an incomplete pass, but ultimately the touchdown was given. And since that fateful day, the NFL have tinkered and tweaked the rules to such an extent that most fans feel the current crop of referees are still just as clueless about what is or is not a penalty.
The latest example of ineptitude by officials came in this weekend’s Browns vs. Raiders game. Some very questionable on-field calls failed to be overturned on video review, and some fair calls got inexplicably overturned. The bizarre, too-frequent penalty calls and the missing of blatant infringements ruined what was one of the best games of the season so far, the Raiders coming out 45-42 winners in overtime.
While some rule changes are welcome — especially those that limit the risk of severe concussions — many of them are completely unnecessary, and for the millions of fans tuning in every week, the NFL looks to be increasingly making gridiron a non-contact sport.
Considering the amount of preparation that teams go through in the build-up to a gruelling NFL campaign, it must be disheartening not be aided by consistent, fair officiating. And poor decisions on top of the already stop-start nature of the game will see casual fans of the sport tuning out and turning off.



ANDY DALTON PROVES GOOD GUYS CAN WIN

Not much is ever written about Andy Dalton, the unassuming but solid quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. He lives a quiet life off the pitch and puts in his shift each week on it. But in Week 4, he really shone. He put in a battling performance, which culminated in throwing for a 13-yard touchdown for A.J. Green with seven seconds left on the clock in their thrilling 37-36 win over the Atlanta Falcons. That do-or-die final drive capped a near perfect day for Dalton, who threw for 337 yards and three scores. With all the controversies that plague the NFL, it is always heartwarming to see one of its good guys grab the limelight.



LA RAMS SURPRISING US ALL

It might be early days, but the LA Rams are nailing their colors to the mast as potential Super Bowl winners. They emerged this weekend as the only 4-0 team in the league and they are second in the league for offense (racking up 35 points-per-game). Their secret? Their brilliant, innovative set of offensive coaches, an up-and-coming quarterback in Jared Goff and a hardy defensive line led by Aaron Donald.

 


Saudi weightlifter Mansour Al-Saleem wins record 3 Asian gold medals

Updated 21 April 2019
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Saudi weightlifter Mansour Al-Saleem wins record 3 Asian gold medals

  • Al-Saleem won three gold medals in the snatch, jerk and combination in the 55kg weight category
  • The competition in Ningbo, in China's eastern province of Zhejiang, will continue for the next 8 days

RIYADH: Saudi national Mansour Abdulrahim Al-Saleem won three gold medals in the snatch, jerk and combination, ranking the first in the 55 kg weight category, at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in China.

He lifted 122 kilograms to head the standings, with Kazakhstan’s Arli Chontey and Malaysia’s Azroy Hazalwafie following on 113kg and 112kg, respectively.

The clean and jerk discipline saw Al-Saleem again head the leaderboard on 140kg.

Hazalwafie lifted just four kilograms less in second, while Sri Lanka’s Dilanka Isuru Kumara was third on 135kg.

Al-Saleem’s efforts in both disciplines saw him convincingly clinch the overall title with a combined 262kg.

He finished ahead of Hazalwafie on 248kg, while Chontey placed third on 246kg.

The champion set a new achievement by winning the first Asian gold medal in weightlifting for the Kingdom.

The president of the Saudi Weightlifting Federation, Mohammed Al-Harbi, thanked King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, sports officials and the Saudi people for supporting the field, which led to “such a great achievement.”

Amidst an arena full of a host of Olympic and international champions, Saudi Arabia’s national anthem was played and the Kingdom’s flag was raised, as Al-Saleem praised the ability of Saudi sportsmen in all international and regional sports sectors.

A further eight days of competition will continue for the next 8 days in China's eastern city of Ningbo, in Zhejiang province. Medals will be won across 20 categories, 10 for men and 10 for women.