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

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.


Joshua reveals he’s gone back to school ahead of Ruiz rematch

Updated 06 December 2019

Joshua reveals he’s gone back to school ahead of Ruiz rematch

  • “I really started studying boxing again”: Joshua

RIYADH: Former world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has admitted that he has been hitting the books just as hard as the gym in his six-month buildup to this weekend’s epic Clash On The Dunes bout in Riyadh.

The 30-year-old revealed that, as well as sparring with up to five fighters in a row, he committed to learning as much as he could about the “science of boxing” in his preparations for the rematch following his June defeat to Mexican-American fighter Andy Ruiz.

The pair meet again on Saturday in the jewel in the crown of Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah Season — with tickets selling fast in the face of phenomenal demand.

To Joshua, the fight is his chance of redemption following Ruiz’s shock win in New York’s Madison Square Garden, so he has left no stone unturned in his quest to produce the perfect performance under the lights and with the eyes of the world watching.

“After that fight, I knew my mistakes,” he told Arab News. “That’s why I said: ‘You were the better man that day. I give you it. First-ever Mexican champion. Hats off to you.’”

He continued: “I wasn’t low because I know I’m better than that and that I’ve got a lot more I needed to give. I just knew that me and Andy are different in every aspect — the only thing we have in common is time. So I made sure I used my time wisely because I knew I was going to get it right. I knew what I needed to work on. It was more strategic planning.

“Ever since I walked into boxing I’ve been dominating. From the amateurs — bosh, championship. Turned pro — bosh, championship. You never really understand what (you have) until it’s taken (from you).

“Then I had time to think and that’s when I really started studying boxing again. There is no doubt I can fight. I’ve been fighting top-level fighters. I’ve never really had an introduction level. I’ve just been straight on. I’ve now had the time to reflect, get my head right, get my head back in the game, and boost myself again and do what I did 10 years ago: take over this division.”

When asked what his studying entailed, Joshua — who won a gold medal in the heavyweight category at the 2012 London Olympics — explained: “Loads of videos. Sometimes you can put fighters side-by-side — both 6 feet 6 inches, both weighing roughly the same amount — but you can see one is more disciplined with technique than the other, you can then see why they became more successful in their field and you learn about the discipline of following through your tactics. Stuff like that.

“You learn about when you move to the left against an orthodox fighter: Is that a dangerous move or is that a smart move to control a fighter? What does it mean to move to the right? What’s the first art of defensive boxing? It’s your feet — get out the way. You start to indulge yourself in the sweet science. Before I was more, ‘I’ve just come to fight.’ Now I’ve learned about the sweet science of the sport, which is important as well.”

In line with his learning, Joshua has ensured his 3,000-mile trip from London does not impact his training and fight preparation. In the lead-up to June’s defeat, he spent seven weeks away from home in Miami. On this occasion, he has arrived only two weeks prior — allowing him to maintain a “training camp vibe” to his buildup.

He believes he is now in the perfect place ahead of Saturday’s blockbuster bout, admitting he actually finds the actual fight the least nerve-wracking part of the whole experience.

“I just kept a training routine and focused on business: Keep my focus and get the job done,” he said. “I’m not nervous at all. I’m confident. I don’t think I’ve ever been nervous for a fight. I’ve probably been more nervous sparring. I trap myself in a dungeon, so I feel like I’m an experiment in a lab. I then come and present my efforts to you.

“That’s why I feel I’ve got so much pressure on myself, because behind closed doors I work so hard mentally and physically to try and stay at the top. I spar, like, five guys in a row who come to take my head off, and I’ve got to be sharp in every second of that round, which will ultimately (affect) what I do on fight night. Training is the hardest part, I think. That’s why I’m never nervous about a fight, because I put so much work in in the gym.”

Ruiz’s win over Joshua in June sent reverberations across all divisions of the sport, with many considering it one of boxing’s biggest ever upsets. So, could lightning strike twice?

“I think it’s kind of like an exam, isn’t it?” said Joshua. “You go through it once, you fail. Most people fail their first driving test, then they go again and prepare better, so I think I’m better prepared if I’m honest with you. You will definitely see the energy in the fight a bit different this time.”

Asked what the outcome would be if he were to suffer a second defeat to Ruiz in seven months, Joshua said: “Definitely catastrophic. But I’m not even thinking about losing. It’ll be big business when I win. I just got to keep focusing on the win.”

He added, “Everyone fails their first driving test. I think I got mine the second time.”