Sunday, April 08, 2012

Another Loss, But Hope is Building

Even though the Power registered their third loss of the season Friday night, I don't need to dig as deeply for a silver lining. This week, we actually saw some of what I had hoped to see when the season started. The fact is, we lost 55-42, but we played three solid quarters, and that's something to be proud of. Al lot of what we did right was overshadowed by the strong defense that Iowa employed throughout the game.

Andrico Hines looked confident behind center, and had a very good game, most things considered. He threw for just a hair under 300 yards, had five TDs and never got sacked. Unfortunately, he got picked four times. One thing that I really feel that I need to point out, however, is that not all of those were really his fault. The ball might not have been thrown perfectly, but they were intercepted because the receiver went for it when they shouldn't have and tipped it right to a defender. I'm not going to say based on one game that Hines is the guy - but I feel more comfortable with him taking snaps, and look forward to seeing what the next 3 weeks bring with him as QB.

DeWalt was missing in action again this week, but in his place, we've had Randy Hymes, and boy does he look good. He's got comparable height to DeWalt, some good speed and very good hands. He was good for 84 yards and a touchdown this week. Sharing receiving duties with him was, of course, "Joystick" Washington for only 69 yards but two touchdowns.

Rounding out the receiving corps was P.J. Berry, finally showing everyone why he was such a talked about pickup for the team this year. He had 110 yards, two touchdowns in the air and one kickoff return to paydirt. Overall on returns, he had nearly 25 yards an attempt. Furthermore, he was making plays that just should not have worked. One of his receptions, he took a step to run, saw a wall of hate wearing Iowa colors, turned around to run 10-15 yards in the wrong direction, pivoted 180 degrees and blew past a bunch of confused defenders to run all the way down to the end zone. That's the kind of crazy shit that made him earn the rep that he has.

Another offensive note: Last season, I spent so much time bitching about Paul Edinger's kicking that it feels great to be able to gush about our current kicker. Colin "Money" Wagner is just....well - money. Yes, that's my nickname for him, but he's earned it. PATs are pretty much automatic for him.

The final highlight of the game was the defense, which stepped up huge. It was a hard hitting, play-breaking, good coverage affair. The Power defense was able to hold the Barnstormers to 3-8 on 3rd downs and 1-4 on 4ths. Although they didn't manage to pick J.J. Raterink at all, they kept the pressure on him and got in the way all night. Bryan Williams was especially standout all night.

So, with all of this glowing praise, why did we lose? Well, first off, as I said up at the top of this column, we only played 3 solid quarters. I've oft said that the Power runs out of gas late in the game, and that seems to be continuing. Once our opponents get out to a two-score lead, the wind goes out of our sails. Also, we only manage a third of our 3rd down conversions and half of our 4ths. That had a lot to do with Iowa's solid defensive efforts, but it's a soft area. Finally, there were those 4 pesky interceptions. Both Stull and Hines are having a problem with this. I'm not sure if it's in the play calling, accuracy, or receiver ability, but it's there and a problem. Thankfully, because of our defense, there were four picks but we only lost by two touchdowns.

Next up - rematch against a team we might actually beat.

Elsewhere in the league
  • Tampa Bay at New Orleans. The game of the week was a hell of game. The Voodoo finally broke the Graveyard Curse and won at home for the first time since 2008. Sure, there was a league hiatus in there, and they were the Shreveport Battlewings for a year - but the fact remains that it had been 12 games since they'd won. Tampa played hard, but NOLA made it decisive with a 66-47 victory. Kurt Rocco is a solid QB, and he has a great set of receivers in Bush, Castile and Payne. They are going to be trouble in a few weeks when we play them.
  • Spokane at Arizona was a close one at 57-53. Depressing note, the Shock re-acquired the homeless Kyle Rowley, and he came came into the game after 4 days with the team a hell of a lot better than Bill Stull came into ours in the same amount of time. He got knocked around a bit, but he's going to settle back in there quite well. Rattlers win.
  • The Sabercats knocked around the visiting Aaron Garcia and the Talons pretty well with a 76-53 victory, showing why I'm seeing them deep in the playoffs, if not appearing in New Orleans this August.
  • Saturday night....Geez...There were some ass-whoopings going on out there. Chicago remained perfect with a 69-40 win over the Command. It was lopsided and there's not much to talk about there. Even the last of those 40 pts came on kind of a pity score.
  • My buddy Kas lives down in Atlanta, and he's heard me talk way too much about Arena Football over the last few years. He's been debating checking it out sometime. Thankfully, he decided to play video games with me Saturday night rather than go down to Gwinnett Center to see the Soul just burn the Force down, salt the earth, build a new arena just to burn it down again, and then say something about their mothers. 92-42, Soul. Let me put that in perspective: They beat the Force by 50pts, which is more than the Force has scored in three out of four games this season.
  • The week ended with a total snoozefest out in Cleveland. I guess Philly and Chicago used up all the points for this week as Cleveland won with just 41 points to Orlando's 24. Cleveland has one of the best defenses in the league, but their offense seemed to be taking it easy after beating Philly last week. I'll leave you with the most exciting thing of the game:

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