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Rattlers Turn Over ArenaBowl XXIX to Soul

Tim Capper
Friday August 26, 2016


That’s how the ArenaBowl began.

Advantage Philadelphia Soul.

Then the game began. The Arizona Rattlers fought back to tie the game 42-42 at the 14:50 mark in the 4th quarter.

However, uncharacteristic miscues and a determined Soul defense derailed the Rattlers efforts for a league-leading sixth championship. The Soul stopped the Rats on Arizona’s first full drive in the fourth quarter as the Arena Football League Defensive Lineman of the Year - and potential Philadelphia Eagle, Jake Metz - strip sacked recently crowned AFL MVP Nick Davila for the fourth turnover of the game by the Soul. The next series Soul defensive back James Romain corralled his second interception of the game against Davila and third turnover overall to seal the deal as the Soul won their second ArenaBowl.

Despite the prowess of the Rattlers offense — AFL MVP Nick Davila, First Team All-AFL WR Rod Windsor, et al., — the Rats offense scored a season-low 42 points against the League’s third best scoring defense (48.4 pts/g). This was not the best offensive game by the Rattlers despite the efforts of the Soul. Windsor was negated much of the game, and despite nice numbers by Maurice Purify (9-126-2), he really did not make an impact in the game.

The Rattlers were held held to 1-of-3 on third down conversions and did not convert their only fourth down despite converting 4-of-5 red zone opportunities.

This was the third time these two teams have met in the last five seasons of in the championship game, and previously the Rattlers have come away unscathed.

Not so tonight.

The Rattlers uncharacteristically committed five turnovers in the final game of the 29th season of the Arena Football League when they had committed only three in a game once during the 2016 season and entered the game with with a +9 turnover ratio in the previous two playoff games. Even in the game the Rattlers turned the ball over three times, Arizona won by 15 points. But, alas, this was the championship game and the opponent was the top team from the American Conference with the second-best team in scoring average this season.

Turnovers did the Rattlers in tonight. And that is not the hallmark of a championship team. Despite an extremely successful season and march through the playoffs Arizona faltered down the stretch and did not rise up to the occasion.

Head Coach of the Rattlers Kevin Guy implored his players prior to the game to be dominate and take the heart out of their opponents chests. Tonight, however its was the Soul that took the heart out of the Rattlers on their own turf.

Tim Capper has been a staff member of ArenaFan since 2000 and been the host of AFL Tonight since its inception in 2001. Tim being an avid arena football fan since 1987, has attended games in 16 different cities, including 11 ArenaBowls. He currently lives in Montreal, Canada with his wife Karen. You can follow Tim on Twitter at @reppact
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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