Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pittsburgh Power with a Shocking upset

"...and back after 5 weeks on IR, your quarterback, Bernaaaaaaaaaard Mooor-ris!”

Okay, yeah – I'll be honest here. When I heard words to that effect over the PA in the arena, the bottom of my stomach fell out. Really? The guy who had thrown for a game and a half, leading us against the defending Arena Bowl champs the week after they beat the Arizona Rattlers? Oh, God...

Turns out, this wasn't really a bad thing. Aside from some noticeable jitters on the field after a long absence, the team really seemed to gel with their original QB back behind center. Those jitters manifested in a fairly lack-luster first half where the Shock out-scored us almost 2-1. By half time, things weren't looking too good for the home team.

The second half? Wow. Not only did the tables turn, but the Power outscored the Shock almost three to one.

Now, this isn't to say that the Power were perfect Saturday night, because they were not. Penalties are still a problem, but for once the other team gave up more yards than us – but there are still issues with procedural stuff. Off-sides, false starts, etc. Also, in the first half, their coverage was pretty bad. For example, Greg Orton of the Shock is a good player, but we were helping him to look like a god. I can't count how many plays in the first half he ran out, cut up the field, texted a friend, caught the ball, sat down and ate a sandwich and then realized that there were some defenders actually moving towards him.

A bit of an exaggeration, to be sure, but it was a major problem. Enough of one that I expect Siegfried had a chat about it at the half, because they really locked him down in the second half. Which brings us to a real shining point of the game: The defense. Besides eventually roping in Orton, they pressured Rowley in the pocket to a surprising extent.

The Power D forced three turnovers and the offense only lost two. Also, they made some great stands. The Shock were only able to convert on two of eight 3rd downs, and only three of six fourth downs.

Additionally, DeWalt was all over the place, breaking up plays. He might not have hauled 'em in, but he got a piece of a number of passes that came near him, denying them to the Shock offense.

As for Morris, he was far more impressive than I was expecting. Remember after week one when I said that Mike “The Joystick” Washington was the man to watch, but it never really materialized because Morelli preferred Willis? Well, he came back strong this week. However, they played it smart and didn't ignore their go-to guy, either. Washington and Willis almost perfectly split receiving duty with 85/87 yards respectively with each scoring a pair of touchdowns. Coming in third was a new face, DJ Hall with a respectable 35 yards and a touchdown. The only head-scratcher was that Xavier Lee barely made an appearance on offense.

Rounding out the offensive detail were Josh Rue and – seriously – offensive lineman, Nick Zeck. Rue only picked up 11 yards, but they were critical yards, accomplishing three first downs. Zeck had a pass thrown to him that he just didn't have the vertical to haul in, but he made up for it a few plays later when he rumbled down the field for 16 yards. He was brought down right in front of me, so I got an accurate count. This beast of a man took 5 players to bring him down – and he carried them for at least two yards before they did so.

The cherry on top of this game's sundae? Okay, I need everyone to sit down for this. Well, I guess, those people that read blogs on their computer standing up need to sit down. The point is...and I can't believe I'm saying this...Paul Edinger nailed a 45 yard field goal with 17 seconds left to put the game out of Spokane's reach.

I'm not sure if it is because it was the day before Mother's Day, or if the home crowds are just getting sick of seeing the Power lose, but the crowd was substantially smaller Saturday. We're talking the difference between 9000+ to just over 6000. That's big shame, because all of these people missed perhaps the most exciting game of the season. The Power reached .500 before the Buccos did, and were looking exceedingly strong this week.

Keller commented that if we play next week like we did this week, we have a chance against the Sabercats. That's a bit pie-in-the-sky, in my opinion, but it's certainly a better chance than I would have given us before this week. But, really, just like everyone else in the house, Keller was blinded by ZOMG-we-won euphoria at the time.

Not pictured here: the guy sleeping next to him. Seriously

It happens. I hope it happens a lot more this season.

Elsewhere in the league

  • Mustangs and Soul both lost this week, keeping us in second place without a care
  • Sabercats completely fell apart in the second half against the Rattlers in the late game Saturday.
  • Jacksonville continues to be a force of nature, and it's just too bad that they aren't playing the Rattlers in the regular season.

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