In a glitzy pregame ceremony, the Patriots unveiled their latest Super Bowl banner, and then the players emerged from the tunnel, without helmets, to take a victory lap. After a tense rematch Thursday night with the Indianapolis Colts, whom they vanquished in the playoffs in January to go to the Super Bowl, the party rolls on in New England. \nTom Brady reminded everyone that although he may not have Peyton Manning's US$98 million contract, he may be the best quarterback in the NFL. The Patriots held off the Colts, 27-24, to extend their winning streak to 16 games and begin their quest to repeat as Super Bowl champions. \nThe Patriots did not make it easy, tempting fate and the foot of the league's most reliable kicker, Mike Vanderjagt. The Colts had the ball with 1 minute 43 seconds remaining but no timeouts. They moved inside the Patriots' 20-yard line, but Willie McGinest blitzed and sacked Manning for a 12-yard loss with 42 seconds remaining. That pushed a field-goal attempt to 48 yards. Vanderjagt, who had made an NFL-record 42 straight, pushed it wide right with 24 seconds remaining. \nFor the Patriots, their winning script showed few revisions from last season. They forced critical turnovers and got superb play from Brady when they needed it most. For the Colts, the beginning of a month-long litmus test -- three of their first four opponents were playoff teams last year -- began on an achingly familiar note. \nThe Patriots had a 10-point lead at the end of the third-quarter, but the Colts had made it a 3-point game with 11 minutes remaining when Brandon Stokley beat cornerback Ty Law and caught a 7-yard touchdown pass. \nBrady, who was 26 of 38 for 335 yards with three touchdowns, was driving the Patriots again but threw an interception that was as rare as a Patriots loss. He had thrown 288 passes in regular-season games at home without an interception. But this one, picked off by Nick Harper, looked especially damaging, especially after the Patriots' defense held the Colts and forced a punt, only to watch Deion Branch fumble the punt. \nThat fumble gave the Colts the ball on the Patriots' 33-yard line. With the help of a pass-interference penalty, the Colts moved to the 1-yard line. \nRunning back Edgerrin James took the handoff and thrust himself into the pile. He was hit, and the ball popped loose. It was recovered by Vince Wilfork, the Patriots' rookie defensive tackle. The Colts had turned the ball over five times in the American Football Conference championship game. Now, a turnover with 3:43 remaining in the season opener -- their third turnover of the game in the red zone -- had nearly doomed their chances to avenge that loss. \nThe Patriots, who are never predictable, opened the game in a spread offense, with two tight ends and three wide receivers. Operating without a huddle, Brady threw eight consecutive passes before Adam Vinatieri kicked a 32-yard field goal to give the Patriots a 3-0 lead. \nIt looked like the AFC championship game redux when the Colts got the ball. Manning, who entered the game 0-5 at New England, led the Colts to the Patriots' 6-yard line, then threw an interception to Tedy Bruschi. In January, the first of Manning's four interceptions against New England came on the first drive, in nearly the same spot. \nManning finished 16 of 29 for 256 yards. \nOn their second series, the Patriots unveiled their prize off-season acquisition, running back Corey Dillon, but were forced to punt. The Colts got the ball at their 37-yard line and began to exert their dominance at the line of scrimmage. \nIndianapolis relied heavily on runs by James to move inside the New England 20. But Manning threw two incomplete passes, so the Colts turned to Vanderjagt, who hit a 32-yard field goal to tie the score at 3-3. \nIn the off-season, the Patriots lost their most effective run stopper, Ted Washington, to the Raiders. The rookie Wilfork started in the middle of the defensive line and the Colts took advantage. They ran on all nine plays of their next drive, finding the gaps in the line. \nAt the half, the Colts led, 17-13, and the teams had accumulated 455 yards in total offense. \nThe Patriots retook the lead early in the third quarter with help from a rule being enforced this season in part because of their physical play against the Colts in last season's playoffs. The first penalty for defensive holding on an eligible receiver went against the Colts. That gave the Patriots first-and-10 on the Colts' 25. On the next play, Brady saw Patten get three steps on cornerback Nick Harper and hit him with a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone. The Patriots had the lead, 20-17. \nThe Colts drove deep into Patriots territory on their next drive, and Manning pulled off a masterful naked bootleg on fourth-and-1 for 19 yards. But on the next play, James fumbled, and Eugene Wilson recovered at the Patriots' 18-yard-line. \nThat gave Brady all the opening he needed for a spectacular drive against the Colts' weak secondary. On third-and-9 from his 31, Brady stepped up in the pocket and found Patten behind the secondary for a 29-yard gain.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017