From Wembley to Drew Brees — What we learned from Week 8 in the NFL

The Titans and the Chargers played out a nail-biting 20-19 thriller at Wembley, delivering a contest the expectant British crowd had been longing for. (AFP)
Updated 23 October 2018
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From Wembley to Drew Brees — What we learned from Week 8 in the NFL

  • At the sixth time of asking, London finally delivered a game of gridiron worth watching
  • Drew Brees became the third quarterback in NFL history to defeat all 32 teams

America’s Game was back in London and Drew Brees once again added to the record books. Here is what else we learned from Week 8 in the NFL: 

London lights it up
At last. At the sixth time of asking, London finally delivered a game of gridiron worth watching. The Titans and the Chargers played out a nail-biting 20-19 thriller at Wembley, delivering a contest the expectant British crowd had been longing for. The main talking point, however, was Titans coach Mike Vrabel’s decision to go for a two-point attempt after a late touchdown. Had he sent out Ryan Succop for the extra point the game would have gone into overtime — beyond that, who knows? It was a gutsy call, that worked earlier in the month against the Philadelphia Eagles. This time, it did not come off. But it made for great drama and a game the London fans will remember for a long time.

Brees brilliance
We cannot stop waxing lyrical about Drew Brees. The New Orleans Saints star just keeps getting better with age. Already a colossus of the sport, he joined an elite club of quarterbacks after his side’s exhilarating 24-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. After completing 22 of 30 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, and becoming the third quarterback in NFL history to defeat all 32 teams, he now has 501 touchdown passes in his career. Brees now ranks alongside Peyton Manning (539), Brett Favre (508) and Tom Brady (504). For some, including me, his legacy may be slightly tarnished owing to him only having one Super Bowl ring, but if he continues on this trajectory, the statistics will silence even his harshest critics.

Pathetic punts
Those less familiar with gridiron look at kickers and see one of the easiest jobs in sport. Rarely challenged by distance, never challenged with an angled kick — a kick in NFL does appear to be one of sport’s certainties. But this week, we got a reminder that an NFL kick is not quite as certain as death or taxes. First, the Ravens’ Justin Tucker inexplicably missed the first conversion in his career, which meant the Saints gifted Baltimore the win. Then Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher got the raw end of a snap infraction penalty against divisional rivals Washington, which meant his 52-yard kick (that should have been a 47-yard one) struck the post. Two games settled by bad kicks. Who says NFL kicking is easy?

Rams on the charge
We really need to start taking the Los Angeles Rams seriously as Super Bowl contenders. They might have surprised us in the first few weeks, but after their demolition of the San Francisco 49ers at the weekend, Jared Goff and his offense are genuinely the real deal. The Rams are the only 100 percent team left in the league, and unless they have a disastrous second half of the season, the City of Angels might well be celebrating its first Super Bowl success since the Raiders’ win in 1984.


Three Germany fans filmed shouting racist abuse at Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan turn themselves in

Updated 7 min 35 sec ago
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Three Germany fans filmed shouting racist abuse at Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan turn themselves in

  • Alleged abuse took place during Germany’s 1-1 draw with Serbia in Wolfsburg on Wednesday
  • Men accused of chanting “Heil Hitler” and shouted “we need another small Austrian.”

WOLFSBURG:Three men who shouted racist abuse at Germany’s Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan during the friendly with Serbia turned themselves in after another fan posted a video on Facebook, police said Friday.

After the images, taken during Germany’s 1-1 draw with Serbia in Wolfsburg on Wednesday, appeared online, “they presented themselves and confessed they were the three alleged perpetrators,” confirmed local police spokesman Thomas Figge.

“They gave a preliminary statement presenting their version of events.”

Another supporter, identified by German tabloid Bild as Andre Voigt, a journalist who had gone to the match as a fan, filmed the trio insulting Manchester City players Sane, whose father is from Senegal, and Gundogan, the son of Turkish immigrants.

The German Football Association on Friday condemned the verbal attacks in the “strongest terms” and said it would ban from matches any perpetrators confirmed to have made the chants.

Voigt said the men had chanted “Heil Hitler” and shouted “we need another small Austrian.”

“Every time Sane touched the ball, they insulted his color. Gundogan was insulted as a Turk. They spoke in pseudo-Turkish accents every time he had the ball. And then they’d start again with ‘black, black, black!’“

The men are aged between 30 and 40, said Figge.

“The police will continue their investigation into incitement to hate and send the file to the prosecutor’s office early next week,” said the police spokesman.

Gundogan, along with Mesut Ozil, was the center of controversy before the World Cup for posing for a photo alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Midfielder Leon Goretzka said those responsible for the chants must be dealt with accordingly.

“The video shocked me and decisive action has to be taken against it,” said the 24-year-old Bayern Munich player.

“We stand for diversity, integration should be a matter of course, I can only call on everyone to act with a lot of courage and put people like that in their place.”