Mistakes doom Patriots defense in 42-27 loss to Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) is tackled by New England Patriots defensive tackle Adam Butler (70) during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 08 September 2017

Mistakes doom Patriots defense in 42-27 loss to Chiefs

FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts: Seven months after shutting down the Atlanta Falcons late in a dramatic Super Bowl comeback win, the New England Patriots defense could not find the brakes Thursday night, giving up 28 second-half points in a stunning 42-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
It was the most points allowed by New England under coach Bill Belichick, with Kansas City piling up 537 yards on offense.
So much for another stab at 19-0.
The Patriots also lost starting linebacker Dont’a Hightower to a knee injury. The defense was already weaker up front following the retirement of veteran linebacker Rob Ninkovich and the departure of defensive end Chris Long in free agency, so Hightower’s absence could be an especially destabilizing blow.
Long strikes proved the biggest problem, including a 75-yard touchdown catch by Tyreek Hill to give Kansas City its first lead early in the third quarter, and a 78-yard touchdown catch by Kareem Hunt in the fourth quarter that put the Chiefs back in front for good.
The secondary blundered throughout. Cornerback Malcolm Butler’s pass interference in the end zone set up Hunt’s 3-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Stephon Gilmore also badly blew a coverage on Hill’s long touchdown. And with Hightower sidelined, linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive end Cassius Marsh allowed Hunt to get behind the defense on his 78-yard romp.
“It was different things on each one,” safety Devin McCourty said. “I gave up one where I could have definitely played better. But we’ve got to watch it and see.”
It was a particularly humbling debut for Gilmore, who signed a five-year, $65 million contract as a free agent this offseason. The Patriots hoped he and Butler would make a formidable duo.
Instead, they both looked pedestrian Thursday, with both caught at times seeking help over the top that didn’t come.
“You’ve got to play with a hungry attitude, and I don’t think we did that as a team,” Gilmore said.
The Patriots offense looked as expected at times, scoring two early touchdowns and taking a 17-7 lead with quick-strike drives and Brady spreading the ball around the field.
Other times they were stagnant, including getting stopped twice on fourth-down runs.
But tight end Rob Gronkowski said the shortcomings were hardly just a defensive problem. He said everything about the loss was “a wakeup call.”
They were left with nothing to do but look forward to their Week 2 trip to New Orleans.
“When they score 42 points and beat you on opening night, there aren’t really any positives,” safety Duron Harmon said.


Saudi desert gears up for first Dakar rally in Asia

Updated 13 December 2019

Saudi desert gears up for first Dakar rally in Asia

  • Taking place from January 5 to 17, the 7500-kilometer adventure will be hosted in Asia for the first time
  • The race will start in Jeddah and will end in Qiddiya, Riyadh

RIYADH: There are only three weeks to go until Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 starts in Jeddah.

It will be the first time this adventurous race comes to Asia, where Saudi Arabia’s desert will play host to the 7,500-km-long rally over 13 days of action and 12 stages of challenging navigation.

Taking place from Jan. 5-17, the first edition of the rally will see more than 550 drivers from 62 nations explore the vast and formidable desert terrains of the Kingdom.

“We were really excited by the beautiful landscape. The deserts were exactly what we expected with their dunes, nice mountains and small canyons. We have some stages along the sea also, so it will be a mixed landscape, which is very interesting,” 13-time Dakar Rally winner Stéphane Peterhansel said.

FASTFACT

Taking place from Jan. 5-17, the first edition of the rally will see more than 550 drivers from 62 nations explore the vast and formidable desert terrains of the Kingdom.

More than 550 drivers from 62 countries will participate in the 12-stage race, which runs from Jan. 5-17. 

“Saudi Arabia is a big country, so there are a lot of possibilities. It has many deserts, which makes it the perfect place to organize Dakar,” the French driver added.

Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 gets underway in Jeddah before drivers and crews navigate their way through the winding dunes for 752 km.

The challenge will continue up north along the coast for nearly 900 km through the Red Sea Project until the futuristic megacity of Neom, where the journey will reach its highest point at an altitude of 1,400 meters amid a series of canyons and mountains.

A combination of sandy stretches and gravel await Dakar’s thrill-seeking competitors as they cruise through the next 676 km from Neom to AlUla in Dakar’s fourth stage, before the sandy hills of Hail put the navigation skills of competitors to the test as they descend south onto Riyadh.

A rest day in the capital will be followed by Dakar Saudi Arabia’s longest stage — 741 km — as the route takes a turn west to the center of the Kingdom’s enormous desert.

The race will take place from January 5 to 17. (Supplied)

The course will then loop back toward Haradh in the eastern governorate of Al-Ahsa, marking the entrance to the Empty Quarter and building up to the grand finale in the future entertainment, sports and cultural destination of Qiddiya, where the winner will be crowned on the final podium.

“Saudi Arabia is a very big country, and you can find almost every type of terrain in it,” Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi said.

Spanish rally driver Carlos Sainz added: “I think everyone finds it very exciting. It seems to be really what Dakar needs, and we are hoping to enjoy it and have a good race.”

The Saudi Federation of Automobiles and Motorcycles officially confirmed route details of the rally at an international press conference in Paris. 

Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will see pilots drive specially modified vehicles, trucks, quads, SxS (four-wheel drive, off-road vehicles) and motorbikes, designed to handle the 12 stages of the varied, challenging terrains.