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Breaking it Down - 2010 Week 12

Andy Lopusnak
Wednesday June 23, 2010


The dirty dozen edition of Breaking it Down featured three division leaders losing, the home team winning six of seven contests, numerous players went over season stat thresholds and Kenny McEntyre’s Week 11 rant apparently paid off big time for his Preds. This and much more interesting, mind-blowing and totally useless nuggets of AFL history are right here at your finger tips.

 

WEEK 12 RESULTS

ORLANDO 70, Jacksonville 48

SPOKANE 63, Tulsa 42

CLEVELAND 76, Iowa 35

CHICAGO 63, Milwaukee 56

ALABAMA 55, Dallas 52

Tampa Bay 65, UTAH 40

ARIZONA 79, Bossier-Shreveport 50


Home team in ALL CAPS

BYE: Oklahoma City

 

QUICK RECAPS

In Mickey Mouse land, the Predators exploded to 22-0 lead en route to a stunning victory over South Division leading Jacksonville. The Sharks got their first points after the Preds took went up by 22 when RaJon Myles blocked the ensuing PAT and it was returned for the deuce. Jacksonville’s offense took 18 minutes to score its first touchdown. Orlando 70-48.

 

In Spokane, the Shock extended its AFL-leading win streak to six by taking down the Talons in a battle of the only existing former af2 teams that won multiple ArenaCup titles. Spokane never trailed in the contest. It marked the second time the two teams met – the previous was in the 2009 af2 playoffs when the Shock won 51-44 to advance to ArenaCup X (which the Shock won). Spokane 63-42.

 

In Cleveland, the Gladiators never trailed and crashed the Barnstormers. Cleveland WR Ben Nelson had five touchdowns on eleven grabs for 157 yards. He continues to lead the AFL in receiving yards (1,526), receiving touchdowns (39), total TDs (39) and scoring (234). Cleveland 76-35.

 

In the Windy City, the Rush overcame a 21-point deficit twice, and the loss of two of its premiere players, to beat Milwaukee and take over the Midwest Division. Tied at 56 with less than a minute to go, Chicago WR/LB DeJuan Alfonzo picked off Milwaukee QB Chris Greisen in his own end zone and returned it 54 yards for the decisive touchdown. Chicago 63-56.

 

In Utah, the Blaze pulled within a point near the end of the first half but got no closer, as Tampa Bay never trailed to win its fifth straight game. Storm WR Hank Edwards pulled in five touchdowns on 14 catches for 195 yards. The big news from your not so-humble correspondant was that fellow Land O’Lakes High grad, and now Storm backup QB, Drew Weatherford made his passing debut in the 25-point blowout. He was a perfect two-of-two passing for 26 yards and posted two assisted tackles on special teams (Weatherford has six solo and four assisted tackles on special teams this season). Anyway, Tampa Bay 65-40.

 

In Huntsville, Alabama’s Dan Alexander failed to reach the end zone for the first time all year, but his Vipers pulled out the victory after Dallas kicker Mark Lewis shanked a 24-yard field as time expired that would’ve sent the game into overtime. The Vigilantes lost starting QB Collin Drafts to an injury on a sack in the second quarter. Backup QB BJ Hall rallied Dallas from a 27-21 deficit to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. The teams traded touchdowns until the missed field goal. Alabama 55-52.

 

In Phoenix, the Rattlers won their fifth straight thanks to a dominated offensive performance – Arizona averaged 10.2 yards per play to Bossier-Shreveport’s 5.2. QB Nick Davila tossed nine touchdowns before sitting out the final two series (his backup tossed two more TDs) and WR Rod Windsor caught seven scores in the win. Arizona 79-50.

 

MAC DADDY

A week after making a fool of himself in the media, Orlando DB Kenny McEntyre helped lead his team to a decisive 25-point win over American Conference-leading Jacksonville. The Orlando defense forced four fumbles and tallied three takeaways, including an interception and fumble recovery by K-Mac. It marked three straight games that the two-time AFL Defensive Player of the Year has nabbed an interception.

 

TOUGH MONTH

Orlando’s last three opponents all led their respective division when they played the Preds (Orlando beat Tulsa, lost to Spokane and beat Jacksonville). After this week’s upcoming bye, the Predators will play the league’s other division leader – Chicago. That game will be just the second this year for the Preds against a former AFL team (lost to Tampa Bay on May 28). At 5-5, Orlando is a game behind Alabama for the final American Conference playoff spot (the Preds did win the first matchup with the Vipers by 17 on 5/15 and the two teams meet in the Jungle again on July 9).

 

Orlando has made the postseason in each of its last 17 seasons (an AFL record for consecutive playoff appearance). The only time the Preds didn’t reach the playoffs was in their inaugural 1991 season when they finished 3-7. Of the Preds’ final six opponents, four have winning records.

 

RUSH RALLY FOR SURPRISING VICTORY

The last time Milwaukee and Chicago played, the Iron crushed the Rush by 23. This time without its starting QB (Russ Michna) and top receiver (Samie Parker), Chicago battled back from two 21-point deficits to beat Milwaukee 62-56 to take over the top spot in the division. Milwaukee forged out to a 14-0 lead, then led 28-7 and 35-14 (with 1:07 left in the second quarter) before Chicago made its surge. Rush QB JJ Raterink, making his first AFL start, completed 70% of his passes for 296 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. WR/LB DeJuan Alfonzo had a great Ironman effort by rushing for a touchdown, catching seven passes for 97 yards, two tackles, a pass breakup and a 54-yard interception for a touchdown. Michna and Parker skipped this game to participate in the mini-camp of the United Football League’s Las Vegas Locomotives (both played for the UFL Champions last season).

 

GLAD TO SCORE 60

In all of Cleveland’s five victories, the Gladiators have scored at least 68 points, including four games with 70 points scored – Cleveland averages 72.2 points per win. In its six losses, Cleveland hasn’t scored more than 56 points (51.5 points per loss). The Gladiators head out on the road for games against Tulsa and Orlando before hosting three games to end the season. One more win will match the same number that Gladiators head coach Steve Thonn had in his last AFL season (2008 with Grand Rapids). His 6-10 Rampage slipped into the playoffs that year (along with two other 6-10 teams) and advanced to the American Conference championship game before getting destroyed by 41 points to San Jose. Interestingly, Cleveland made the National Conference championship game that year after a 9-7 season. However, nine wins will likely not be good enough to qualify for the postseason this year for the Gladiators.

 

QB KEEPER

Three quarterbacks ran for over 30 yards this past weekend. Dallas backup QB BJ Hall ran for 42 yards on three carries, including a rushing score. Iowa’s Ryan Vena added 35 yards on five rushes. Orlando’s Nick Hill posted 33 yards and two scores on six carries. On the year, Vena (194) and Hill (160) rank third and fourth respectively in the league in rushing yards. Both are also in the top four in rushing touchdowns.

 

NFL NETWORK LOVES FLORIDA

Including this past weekend’s Jacksonville-Orlando contest, the NFL Network will be in the state of Florida for four straight weeks. Tampa Bay hosts back-to-back NFL Network games starting this Friday and Orlando has another nationally-televised game the following week. Of the 16 NFL Network regular season games, the state of Florida will host a total of seven games. An eighth game might get “flexed” in the final week of the season if Tulsa has clinched the Southwest Division title and Oklahoma City is eliminated from the playoffs as the Spokane-Jacksonville game could be a potential ArenaBowl matchup.

 

STORMING BACK

Tampa Bay extended its winning streak to five with the 65-40 win at Utah. This marks the first five-game winning streak for the five-time AFL champs since 2004 when Tampa Bay won its final six games of the year after starting 3-7. The previous year, the Storm won the ArenaBowl. With the Storm’s next win, it will match the same win total for its last season (8 wins in 2008).

 

DOWN IN THE SOUTHWEST

All four teams in the Southwest Division are on losing streaks – the only division that can say so. This division’s downward spiral is led by Dallas’ seven-game skid followed by two-game losing streaks by Bossier-Shreveport and Oklahoma City. The division is the weakest in the AFL with only one team (Tulsa which lost to Spokane this week) holding a winning record (6-5). If the playoffs started today, the Talons would host a playoff game despite being tied for the fourth-best record in the American Conference because they have the best record in the Southwest Division.

 

BERRY BLASTS TO 2,000

BattleWings WR/KR PJ Berry joined Dallas’ Kenny Henderson as the only players to reach 2,000 all-purpose yards on the season. Berry added 176 all-purpose yards (three rushing, ten MFG return, 76 kickoff returns and 73 receiving) and three receiving scores in a in a losing effort this past weekend. Also in the game, he became one of nine players in 2010 to reach 1,000 receiving yards. Two other AFL receivers went over the 1,000-yard mark this past weekend (Orlando’s T.T. Toliver and Spokane’s Raul Vijil). In 2008, there were 13 receivers with 1,000 receiving yards at this point in the season.

 

THREE PASSERS GO OVER 3,000

In Week 12, Arizona’s Nick Davila, Tampa Bay’s Brett Dietz and Tulsa’s Justin Allgood joined Milwaukee’s Chris Greisen and Cleveland’s John Dutton as the only passers with 3,000 passing yards on the year. Additionally, Allgood, Davila and Dietz all went over 300 yards this week. Davila and Dietz both passed for nine scores, while Allgood had five touchdowns. Through twelve weeks in 2008, there were six passers with over 3,000 passing yards. Dutton, Greisen and Dietz were among those half dozen. Last year in the af2, Allgood and Davila were also over 3,000 yards through twelve weeks.

 

GOING FOR IT

The Spokane Shock’s been on of the biggest risk takers on fourth down this season converting 64% of its fourth downs good enough for third best in the league. Until failing on a fourth and goal at the goalline late in the fourth quarter against Tulsa, the Shock had converted nine straight fourth-down opportunities. Dating back to Week One, Spokane had converted eleven consecutive fourth-down tries at home.

 

MR. DIETZ

In addition to tossing over 300 yards against Utah en route to over 3,000 yards on the season, Tampa Bay Storm QB Brett Dietz surpassed the 10,000 career passing yardage threshold. He joined 27 other AFL QBs to hit 10k. Milwaukee’s Chris Greisen was the last QB to reach 10k, doing so in Week One this season. Dietz also exceeded the 800 career completion (29th AFL player to do so) and 200 career TD passes (25th). All this in just 35 AFL games played.

 

Dietz has the sixth-most career passing yardage of any 2010 AFL players. He trails Greisen (21st in AFL history), Shane Stafford (tenth), Raymond Philyaw (ninth), John Dutton (seventh) and Aaron Garcia (second). Dietz needs 175 yards to pass Sonny Cumbie for 27th all-time and is 422 from surpassing two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner for 26th most in league history.

 

IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY

Chicago jumped ahead of Milwaukee to take the lead in the Midwest Division with its seven-point win over the Iron this weekend. The loss puts the Iron into the final playoff spot in the National Conference. However, if the two teams end the year with the same record, the Iron will take the division title and first-round home game based on the point differential in the Chicago-Milwaukee season series (the Iron won by 23 on May 7).

 

In the American Conference, all four teams remained the same. The Storm has the same record as Jacksonville for the best record in both the South Division and American Conference, but the Sharks hold the tiebreaker based on their three-point win earlier this season. However, if Tampa Bay wins out, it will win the division and be the top seed in the American Conference. If the Sharks and Storm end with the same record, Tampa Bay can only win the division if it beats Jacksonville by four or more points when the teams in Northeast Florida on July 17).

 

AMERICAN CONFERENCE

#4 Alabama (6-5) at #1 Jacksonville (7-3; South Division leader)

#3 Tampa Bay (7-3) at #2 Tulsa (6-5; Southwest Division leader)

 

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

#4 Milwaukee (7-4) at #1 Spokane (8-2; Western Division leader)

#3 Arizona (7-3) at #2 Chicago (8-3; Midwest Division leader)

 

WEEK TWELVE’S STATS LEADERS 

100-YARD RECEIVERS

PLAYER, TEAM

RECEIVING YARDS

RECEPTIONS

TOUCHDOWNS

Donovan Morgan, TUL

129

9

3

Jeff Hughley, TUL

107

6

1

Raul Vijil, SPO

103

11

5

Tiger Jones, MIL

162

10

2

Todd Blythe, IOWA

100

8

2

Ben Nelson, CLE

157

11

5

Hank Edwards, TB

195

14

5

Aaron Boone, UTAH

106

10

2

Kenny Henderson, DAL

110

9

3

Larry Shipp, AL

113

9

3

Michael Johnson, AL

117

7

3

Rod Windsor, AZ

157

10

7

Willis Marshall, BS

115

6

2

 

300-YARD PASSERS

PLAYER, TEAM

PASSING YARDS

PASS TDs

INTERCEPTIONS

Justin Allgood, TUL

341

5

2

Brett Dietz, TB

323

9

1

Nick Davila, AZ

319

9

0

Chris Greisen, MIL

316

5

2

Kyle Rowley, SPO

307

7

1

  

BREAKING IT DOWN MVP OF THE WEEK: Nick Davila, Arizona QB

Davila completed 77% of his passes (20-of-26) for 319 yards with nine toucdowns and no interceptions propelling his Rattlers to their fifth straight win. His nine scores ties a team record that he also shared earlier in the season. On the season, Davila has had seven 300-yard games and seven games with at least seven touchdown passes. He’s on pace to shatter the Arizona single-season franchise records in both passing yards and passing touchdowns.

 

2010 BREAKING IT DOWN MVP 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

3

Kyle Rowley, Spokane QB

75.7 comp. pct, 316 pass yards, 8 TD, 1 INT, 1 rush TD

4

Rod Windsor, Arizona WR

16 receptions, 230 rec. yards 6 rec TD, 2 rush TD

5

Tanner Varner, Iowa DB

15.0 tackles, 2 INT, 2 PBU, 1 TD

6

Tommy Grady, Oklahoma City QB

81 comp. pct, 430 pass yards, 10 TD, 1 INT

7

Ben Nelson, Cleveland WR

13 receptions, 202 yards, 6 TD

8

Nick Hill, Orlando QB

314 yards, 5 pass TD, 1 INT, 21 rushing yards, 3 rush TD

9

Caesar Rayford, Utah lineman

3 defensive TD (2 INT, 1 fumble), 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 FF

10

Rod Windsor, Arizona WR

16 rec, 162 yards, 3 rec TD, 2 rush TD, GW 2pt conv.

11

Tiger Jones, Milwaukee WR

11 rec. 138 yards, 5 TD

12

Nick Davila, Arizona QB

77 comp pct, 319 yards, 9 TD, 0 INT

 

 


 
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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