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Breaking it Down - 2010 Week Two

Andy Lopusnak
Wednesday April 14, 2010


The second week of AFL action featured just as many games as teams on that had bye weeks – just five games and five byes. It’s also the largest number of byes in AFL history and the lowest number of total AFL games in a single week since 1994 when there were 11 teams. Let’s take a look back at the short, but pretty eventful five-game Week Two.

WEEK TWO RESULTS
CHICAGO 59, Cleveland 56
ALABAMA 63, Jacksonville 49
Spokane 68, UTAH 34
TULSA 63, Dallas 59
BOSSIER-SHREVEPORT 73, Orlando 67


Home team in ALL CAPS
BYE: Arizona, Iowa, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Tampa Bay
 
WEEK TWO HIGHLIGHTS
·      The home team went 4-1.
·      There were five teams on byes (the most ever in AFL history).
·      Five 300-yard passers (four of the five also weren’t intercepted).
·      Eleven 100-yard receivers, including one with 201 yards.
·      Seven returns for touchdown (4 kickoff, 1 interception, 1 missed field goal, 1 fumble recovery)
·      The Predators’ 67 points were the third best of the week; however, they lost but outscored three winning teams this week.
 
AFL HIGHLIGHTS THROUGH TWO WEEKS
·      Seven of the 15 teams have played two games – yes there have been more byes (eight) than teams playing two games (seven).
·      Five undefeated teams (three are 2-0: Bossier-Shreveport, Chicago and Tulsa).
·      Cleveland is the only 0-2 team.
·      Bossier City has the least attendance but has the QB with the most TD passes (Raymond Philyaw, 16) and player (PJ Berry) with the most receiving TDs (nine), overall TDs (11) and all-purpose yardage (536 despite AFL site saying 480).
·      Alabama’s Dan Alexander has nine of the league’s 39 rushing TDs. There are just nine total players with at least two ground scores. If he continued his pace, Alexander would shatter his previous AFL single-season record (of 41) with 72 rushing TDs
·      Seven of the twenty total interceptions thrown were tossed by Cleveland’s John Dutton (two other QBs have three each and the rest have one each).
 
PUNTING IN THE AFL?
I’m not a big fan of the AFL’s new stat program, designed by Daktronics. This program’s reports have punting and punt returns instead of missed field goal returns, which probably explains why there was not a complete game report for the Bossier Shreveport win over Orlando posted until late Tuesday evening (the game was on Saturday). In that game, PJ Berry returned a missed field goal for a touchdown on the final play of the first half. The finally completed report has the MFG return for 55 yards, but the AFL says it was 56 and the game recaps from the two teams say it was 58 yards (tied for an AFL record). Which one is it? I’m going with the AFL number (for now) for all of Berry’s numbers for this week. No matter which number is correct, the AFL stats for Week Two are off. The league says that Berry leads the AFL in all-purpose yards with 480. However, this doesn’t include his MFG return yards which would put him at 536 (if he only had the one). Reviewing the play-by-play for each game, there are some MFG returns on the year in various games. However, none so far have been counted towards all-purpose yardage. Looks like someone in the AFL or Daktronics completely dropped the ball on this and it needs to be fixed.
 
HALF TACKLES ARE APPARENTLY BACK
After blasting the AFL last week about their stat program listing assisted tackles as whole tackles, the league is using half tackles in their press releases. However, the stats program in the game reports and on the league’s official site is still crediting assisted tackles as whole tackles. Come on AFL, get your stuff together. I’m dreading picking up a Record & Fact book this week (by the way, released ten days after the season started) – I’m sure I will find a bunch of mistakes when they merged the AFL and af2 stats.  
 
MORE STATS ISSUES!!!
Looking at the game report for the Spokane-Utah game, it shows the second touchdown of the game (a Kyle Rowley TD pass to Huey Whittaker) as a zero-yard touchdown. Find this impossible to happen, but apparently Daktronics thinks otherwise. If you look at the play-by-play or the online box score, it has the TD as 17 yards. I just don't get why Daktronics doesn't use these in the actual game report - the wording is much clearer and concise, plus there's none of those stupid three exclamation marks for a touchdown (there's also an additional one if the conversion is good). These look terrible!!!
 
AFL vs. af2
The af2 swept the old AFL this week with Spokane beating Utah and Bossier-Shreveport taking down Orlando. For the year, the old af2 teams are 3-1 – the only blemish is Iowa’s home loss to Chicago in Week One.
 
BYE, BYE, BYE, BYE, BYE, BYE
There were five teams on byes in Week Two and have been eight through two weeks. This upcoming week, only the Tulsa Talons will be on a bye. For the first time in AFL history (exlcuding af2 history), all teams will have two byes. This is another af2 element that has migrated into the AFL along with the seemingly growing game awards – the Battle Wings game announced seven of them. Heck, there are only eight players on the field per team, what’s next – does everyone gets a ribbon too?
 
BERRY BURIES PREDATORS
Bossier-Shreveport’s PJ Berry pulled out all the stops in the Battle Wings’ 73-67 win over Orlando. He caught 14 balls for 201 yards and six TDs. Berry was also a force off the nets returning four kickoffs for 100 yards, but it was his 56-yard missed field goal return (it might be 55 or 58 when the AFL gets their stuff togther) for a touchdown that was a back-breaker for the Predators. On the final play of the first half with the Battle Wings up by eight points (41-33), Orlando head coach Pat O’Hara took a timeout to decide for a long pass or a field goal attempt. He decided on the field goal, which missed wide and Berry returned all the way to put the Battle Wings up by 15 en route to the 73-67 win. I assume he compiled 357 all-purpose yards (201 receiving, 100 kickoff return and 56 MFG return), but can’t confirm it because the new AFL stats program is broken and horrible.
 
WHAT A RUSH
Cleveland QB John Dutton overcame three interceptions to tie the game with 45 seconds left, but left too much time on the clock and Chicago kicker Chris Gould hit a 20-yard FG with two ticks on the clock to beat the Gladiators 59-56. Both quarterbacks tossed for over 300 yards and the game featured four 100-yard receivers (three for Cleveland, one for Chicago). The announced attendance is the lowest for a Chicago home game since 2002 when the Rush beat the Detroit Fury 53-17 in front of 7,374.
 
GREAT RETURNS
The Spokane-Utah game featured three kickoff returns for touchdowns, including two by Utah’s Brandon Hampton whose returns accounted for the Blaze’s first two touchdowns. Take away his scores and Utah didn’t score a point until two and half minutes left in the third quarter. If the MFG returns are including (don’t know if the AFL is even doing this), then the two teams combined for almost 300 combined return yards.
 
VIPERS SNIP SHARKS
Alabama overcame a 35-21 deficit to score 35 consecutive points to beat Jacksonville 63-49. The Vipers’ defense stopped AFL legend Aaron Garcia on four straight possessions. First they stopped him on downs when Vince Hill broke up a pass on fourth and five at the Alabama nine. Next, Eric Crosby forced and recovered a fumble after an eleven-yard reception. Garcia was then intercepted on two straight plays; including one Ahmad Hawkins took 40-yards for a touchdown. In the game, Alabama’s Dan Alexander posted four rushing touchdowns on 15 carries for 40 yards – he leads the AFL in all rushing categories through two weeks.
 
STAFFORD HURT IN LOSS
Dallas QB Shane Stafford was hurt during the Vigilantes 53-59 loss in Tulsa and has been placed in injured reserve. Though Stafford took every snap, he was sacked and lost the ball twice in the second half that led to the Talons come-from-behind victory. Officially, Dallas hasn’t announced yet the exact play the injury occurred, but it likely happened when Gabe Nyenhuis sacked Stafford and stripped the ball midway through the third quarter with the Vigilantes up 45-34. The loose ball was returned for a touchdown. Stafford’s second lost fumble on a sack happed with 38 seconds left as he was trying to secure the win, but Terrance Carter took the ball way and returned it to the goal line, where Tulsa QB Justin Allgood snuck in for the game-winning score. Stafford ended with 374 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions, but was sacked four times.
 
WEEK TWO’S TOP STATISTICAL PREFORMANCES 

100-YARD RECEIVERS
PLAYER, TEAM
RECEIVING YARDS
RECEPTIONS
TOUCHDOWNS
PJ Berry, BOS
201
14
6
T.T. Toliver, ORL
195
16
2
Derek Lee, DAL
151
12
1
Samie Parker, CHI
148
9
3
Chris Johnson, CLE
137
17
0
Ben Nelson, CLE
133
12
4
Markee White, SPO
118
8
2
Donovan Morgan, TUL
112
4
3
Robert Quiroga, ORL
106
13
1
Larry Brackins, DAL
104
6
1
Brent Holmes, CLE
101
7
2

300-YARD PASSERS
PLAYER, TEAM
PASSING YARDS
PASS TDs
INTERCEPTIONS
Nick Hill, ORL
381
4
0
John Dutton, CLE
379
6
3
Shane Stafford, DAL
374
5
0
Raymond Philyaw, BOS
324
9
0
Russ Michna, CHI
315
8
0

 
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Bossier-Shreveport’s PJ Berry
Berry, as previously mentioned, wreacked havoc on Orlando in the Battle Wings’ 73-67 win Saturday night. He tallied 357 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns. Berry accounted for 14 receptions, 201 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns. Additionally, he had four kickoff returns for 100 yards and also returned a missed field goal 56 yards for a touchdown.  

2010 BREAKING IT DOWN PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
WEEK
PLAYER, TEAM
STAT NOTE
1
Chris Greisen, Milwaukee QB
83 comp. pct, 327 pass yds, 9 TD, 0 INT
2
PJ Berry, Bossier-Shreveport WR/KR
357 all-purpose yards, 201 rec yds, 7 total TD

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK THREE
·         There will be at least one less undefeated team – Arizona (1-0) hosts Chicago (2-0).
·         There will be at least two more teams with a win – Oklahoma City (0-1) hosts Cleveland (0-2) and Tampa Bay (0-1) hosts Dallas (0-1).
·         The Cleveland-Oklahoma City game’s head coaches were the last two for the now defunct Grand Rapids Rampage (Gladiators head coach Steve Thonn coached the Rampage in 2008, while Yard Dawgz head coach Sparky McEwen coached the same squad from 2005-07).
·         All tickets to the Arizona Rattlers home opener this Saturday are free - if you live in the greater Phoenix area, make sure you don't miss this.


 
Andy Lopusnak is an 11-year AFL front office veteran, spending time with the Tampa Bay Storm, San Diego Riptide and Grand Rapids Rampage. He works as a statistician for NFL and college sports for CBS Sports and is a freelance photographer. Lopusnak received two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of South Florida and has been a fan of ArenaBall since its inception.
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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