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Mental Mistakes Doom VooDoo

Adam Markowitz
Friday March 14, 2014

TAMPA BAY -- "Ninety percent of the game is half mental." If you didn't know any better, you'd think that Yogi Berra was talking about the New Orleans VooDoo on Friday night in a 62-57 loss at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The VooDoo had all sorts of problems on Friday night of the mental variety. They missed countless tackles on defense, they lost a ball off of the net, they committed two delay of game penalties, they turned the ball over four times, they blew five PATs, and they even lost a pair of challenges.

And that doesn't include all of the dropped balls by wide receivers, the countless number of times that Pat O'Hara was yelling at his receivers before the snap to get lined up properly, the fact that Kurt Rocco decided to try to stiff arm a linebacker on a scramble, which ultimately gave him the injury which knocked him out of the game, or the fact that Ryan Perriloux, who had a horrid first game of his career, ended up committing the blunder of the game when he fumbled on a quarterback sneak, a fumble which was picked up and returned for a touchdown.

"You give a team a touchdown off the net, and then you give a fumble return on a quarterback sneak, that's 14 points," said O'Hara. "Add a couple blown coverages, you're going to lose."

Rocco's injury took him out of the game in the third quarter and cost him the rest of the night. O'Hara stated that the team was "hoping for the best but expecting the worst." Rocco missed three games last season with an injury to his throwing shoulder, and that very well could be the same type of injury he has this time around as well.

It's not all the worst news in the world for the VooDoo, though. In the end, this is still just one game out of 18 in a very long season, and a bye in Week 2 might be just what the doctor ordered… literally.

O'Hara made mention of the fact time and time again that he was proud of his team to be able to score a legitimate 57 points on the evening offensively, and had the kicking game been sound on extra points, there were six more points that were there for the taking that were botched. The VooDoo averaged just 46.3 points per game last season, ranking sixth out of the seven teams in the American Conference.

Rocco finished the night going 17-of-33 for 251 yards with five touchdowns against two picks. Perriloux went 12-of-17 for 109 yards with a touchdown, but he also had the crucial fumble in the third quarter that ultimately turned the tide of the game once and for all.

LJ Castile was the hero of the game for the VooDoo offense, catching 10 passes for 169 yards and four scores. Chase Deadder, who appeared to suffer a leg injury in the second half, had 10 catches for 95 yards and a score.

The VooDoo are off in Week 2, and they head back to the Smoothie King Center for their home opener in Week 3 against the Cleveland Gladiators.

Adam Markowitz is an accountant and a freelance sports writer living in Orlando. As a Florida State graduate with degrees in music and history, the garnet and gold will forever be a part of him, but he bleeds the black and red of the Orlando Predators like none other. Adam has been following the AFL since 1991 and has been at well over 200 games, including 16 ArenaBowls. You can follow Adam on Twitter @AFLGuru.
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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