Monday, April 04, 2011

Shredded by the Talons, a post-mortem

Well, this weekend sure proved why I don't gamble. Both the Power and the Rush dropped games that they should have won, and pretty much everything I said should – had to – happen, didn't.

The Power got it handed to them at home on Saturday and the Tulsa Talons walked away with a well-deserved win to break their losing streak. It was a tale of missed opportunities, stupid penalties and vacant roster sports. It pains me to have to do it, but let's break it down.

Not to make excuses, but the Power was at a disadvantage from the word go. Only five days from their last game, this injury-plagued team had to take the field down some key players. Morris is still out for at least one more game, Mathis was out with a thigh injury, Purvis with an ankle, and “The Power Tool” DeWalt out for a mysterious, Siegfried-ain't-discussing-it suspension. Add to that the fact that the team – especially McCabe – was tired and it was a mess.

On the other side of the ball, Tulsa was angry, fired up, and anxious to get rid of that “0” on the wrong side of their win/loss column. Just coming off of their worst loss in franchise history at the hands of the Rattlers, they had something to prove. Instead of the Power keeping the pressure on them, Tulsa brought down the hammer on McCabe (and later, Morelli) forcing a brutal five turnovers during the game. A lot of the credit goes to jittery mindset by the home team, but the lion's share goes straight to Tulsa for being wherever the ball was. If they didn't pick it out of the air, they were right there to force a fumble and recover it.

The first half of the game was a total slugfest that looked like both teams were going to be trading a small amount of scores throughout the game to see who gets the last one before the clock runs out. The halftime score was just 14-14, more of an outdoor score than an indoor one. The second half, however, was all Tulsa.

They came back with 24 unanswered points, and you could just feel the air go out of the place. It was over at that point, but there was still game to be played. Somewhere around this point, I began to wonder why sports venues ever give out souvenirs that can be thrown.

Pictured here: A bad idea

In the second half, despite announcer warnings that anyone caught could face prosecution, these mini-footballs rained on the field. The fans should, frankly, be ashamed of themselves. End of digression.

For Tulsa, Bobby Reid was not the passing presence that I expected him to be, leaving the heavy lifting in the passing game to Matt Bassuener with almost 200 yards and three TD's. Copeland was again a favored target, but being held to only 58 yards on 8 receptions. Reid made his presence felt with two rushing touchdowns, however, proving that he is a mobile QB who is not afraid to go for it.

Their defense kept the Power down to only 23 total yards and completely shut Rue down with negative yards and zero touchdowns on the ground (though he did catch one in the air.) Also, there is the matter of those five turnovers that we discussed earlier.

Not everything was bad, however. Morrelli had a beautiful end-zone-to-end-zone pass on one of his early plays (the fact that it was called back on a penalty is just unfortunate.) Thompson took advantage of Tulsa's issues on kick-returns and came all the way back to their 9 yard line early in the game. Finally, Mike “The Joystick” Washington was having a great game, gaining almost 60 yards and two touchdowns. Now, those are just the official stats. There were a few great plays that were called back on penalties, but he was out there hustling the whole time.

Also, attendance of nearly 10,000 in the house at least felt good while they were into it.

What do we take away from this game?

So, we lost, and we're 2-2. Is it the end of the world? No it is not. It's still very early in the season and we have a bye next week to think about what we've done and heal up a bit. Also, one more game and we might see Morris back on the field. Siegfried has made no secret that the QB position is up for grabs to whoever wants it the most.

At the risk of being a bit appley/orangey here, but back at the beginning of last season, the Steelers said that they'd be happy to come out of the first four games 2-2 without Big Ben. Yes, they're a much better and more experienced team than the Power, but the fact remains – it's a long season and we're not in a horrible spot right now.

We have a lot of work to do before our next game against the 3-1 Sharks, though. The Power really need to figure out what they're doing at the quarterback position. For that game in particular, McCabe needs to step up or step aside. Also, they cannot continue with the slow, plodding attack. This is a fast game, and they need start acting like it. Confidence behind center will help with this.

The fact remains that we're an expansion team in a division with two strong teams, and one that we have to keep our eyes on.

Speaking of keeping eyes on stuff, per the request, I am including a picture taken in the Lexus Club before the game:

Elsewhere in the league

  • Philly Soul at Milwaukee Mustangs. Full disclosure: I had something else written here when the Mustangs were down by 25 points in the first half. Once again, everyone say it with me: It ain't over until it's over. Mustangs overcame a 25 point deficit to ultimately end up on the 2-yard line, down by five, no time outs, 4th down, 0:01 on the clock. The pass is good, and the Soul drops a division game, and the 'Stangs end their losing streak. This is great for us, because with a game up on them, it should keep us 2nd in the division.

  • The undefeated Rush were finally defeated by the still undefeated Gladiators. Cleveland is now standing alone at the top of the division.

  • It's a very light week coming up, with many teams on bye. Philly is the only game that we need to be concerned with, as the rest of the division will be sitting out.

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