Sunday, July 01, 2012

Consider them 'Barns stormed

Wow. I stared at a blank screen for a while here trying to game-plan actually writing a post about the Power winning. Not only winning, but winning with authority over a team with more than one win under their belt. Sure, we're in garbage time of a losing season, but seeing a win was fantastic, and it was a very entertaining game to watch.

Coach Ho of Iowa is known for really changing things up and keeping opposing teams on their toes. Well, it looks like Coach Stingley learned a few things from him, because he caught everyone off guard by putting Hines in at QB. When I say everyone, I mean that Hines was on screen for a full minute before the announcers realized they were talking about the wrong guy.

He had us nervous for his first few drives, despite scoring, because he was all over the place. He looked about like a QB who hadn't played in a long time against a team that picked him 5 times before. But, eventually, he got into a rhythm and started getting things done. About his only real black mark (once he got in the groove) was the single pick of the game thrown (both sides.) It was a really bad read, and he threw it straight to Jason Simpson a few yards out and he ran it in for six.

It has to be said that Simpson is really, really good. If someone's going to get a pick, or a runback or any combination thereof, it's him. What is surprising is that this pick six didn't deep six the Power. I've commented before, generally the Power commit that one turnover that takes all the wind from their sails, but this time, it didn't happen. It seemed to rally the team and focus them on the task at hand.

Stand-out performances were had by Joystick, Superman and Oderick Turner. Hines was able to get back in the swing of things targeting Washington and Turner in the end zone for 4 TDs, which is impressive given the vast difference in height with those two receivers. Overall, he might have thrown some real wildcat passes in the red zone that probably shouldn't have been done, but when it counted, he was able to rely on those two to have sure hands. This is especially nice since they've both had some trouble with dropped balls this season.

The Iowa defense might have been able to keep Berry out of the end zone all night (with the exception short-yard rush), but he was still explosive on the field. Yardage-wise, he was the top Power receiver, and only 4 yards shy on top receiver of the night. He averaged 23 yards a return, with a top one of 50. Amongst all of these things, he was entertaining and athletic on clutch plays that he made seem easy. The one scary part of the evening came in the second half when he took an awkward tackle that looked to screw his leg up, leaving him to be assisted from the field. A few plays later, he was back in and we could breathe again.

For me, the best part of this game was to see another team suffer from something that's been heaped on us all season - namely, a quarterback who is constantly under pressure. Although the Power did not pick JJ Raterink at all during this game, they sure did get in his face. He spent a lot of time on the ground and got hit hard. Over the course of 60 minutes, you could see that it was taking its toll. He only completed 19 of 32, and the Power stopped him on two 4th down situations.

Finally, where the Power was weak in some areas, they came up big on others. For example, Boyer was having a lousy night kicking. His kickoffs seemed lackluster, and his PAT ability was a no-show. Everyone has a bad night, but with Power kickers this season, we might see a new face next week. But, what he lost us on PATs, the defense made up for on safeties. Raterink got steamrolled in the end zone for one, and was forced into a poorly timed shuffle-pass that Neil Purvis was able to strip for the other.

Again, this game meant nothing in the grand scheme of things, but the Power came up big. They've been saying right along that they are still out for wins every week, and this week they proved it. Now that the CBA is supposedly going to allow for multi-year contracts, it's time for the Power to start thinking about a core team that they want to lock up long term. If this is the team we have every week, and this is how they can play, there are a number of people that proved the Power can be a team to be reckoned with in the future.

Elsewhere in the league

Well, my picks did not go as disastrously as I'd thought they would. I still missed a few, but did better than the 50% I was thinking. Also - screw you, Preds! I had wild-man faith in you, and you let me down!

  • Philly might not know how to lay down, but the Storm still made them work for it. There was no blowout in Tampa Bay this week as the game came down to the final minute. No quarter was offered or given in this 83-79 slugfest. Tampa's loss came as the result of two critical non-catches. At around the one-minute mark, TB was holding Raudabaugh in the red zone, and on 3rd down, a defender leaped for a pass, got hands on it and dropped it, allowing Dirty Dan to connect with Captain Morgan on 4th for the TD. On TB's final drive, with one second left, Nick Hill passed to Joe Hills, who caught it, only to be freight-trained by two defenders and coughing it up before he hit the ground. Philly wins.
  • Oh God...There's not a lot to be said about the Game of the Week, except "Damn..." A Cleveland player remarked before the game that the Gladiators are already in the playoff mode - one loss and their season is over. Milwaukee was in the same situation, as they also needed to win out to make the post season. They didn't. Cleveland simply leveled them in this run-away ass-whoopin'. Final score, 69-32 Cleveland, and Milwaukee gets to join Pittsburgh on the division "It's Over" bench.
  • Arizona knew they needed a win and a San Jose loss to secure the division, and they sure did their part, proving me wrong in the process. I figure that even if they beat Spokane, it'd be close. However, a lot of people on the Internet like to talk about Rowley choking when it comes down to it, and he sure did Friday, getting picked a staggering 5 times. Final score in this blow-out was 61-35
  • KC did far better in this matchup than I'd thought they would. A few times, I looked down and the score was way closer than it should have been. Wish I could have seen it, but the Arena streams were not being nice and I could get it in. In the end, Garcia and the Talons won by ten points to put this one to bed, 58-48.
  • Speaking of bad feeds, this one really infuriated me, but probably kept my heart in better shape. On while the Power was playing, I had this one up on my laptop to switch over to during commercials. I swear, every time I looked over, there was another turnover. The feed cut before the end of the game, but the Voodoo was able to get the win and take back first place in the division, 65-55.
  • The Cats also wanted to prove me wrong this week, as well as keep AZ from securing the division. Given how the Rush perform in their home arena, I thought they were going to have this one, but the Sabercats just wanted it a lot more. The final from Allstate Arena was 75-61.
  • I really thought that the Preds could win against the Force and salvage some pride for their season. They obviously thought so too, as the game came down to the wire. At 56-53, Orlando had the chance to tie it up and go to OT with a long field goal, but it just was not meant to be. Georgia wins and slips only to second place in their division.

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