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Breaking it Down - 2010 Week 14

Andy Lopusnak
Thursday July 8, 2010


Aaron Garcia became the league’s all-time leader in passing yards, Rod Windsor became the fourth AFL player to reach 150 catches in a single-season and the playoff picture is starting to shape out. Scroll down for this and the most AFL recap coverage anywhere in the known universe…

 

WEEK 14 RESULTS
Milwaukee 82, UTAH 56
TAMPA BAY 68, Chicago 60
Iowa 59, DALLAS 38
SPOKANE 37, Arizona 36
JACKSONVILLE 62, Alabama 47
OKLAHOMA CITY 70, Bossier-Shreveport 44
Cleveland 77, ORLANDO 70 (OT)


Home team in ALL CAPS
BYE: Tulsa
 
WEEK 14 NOTABLES
·         Home teams went 4-3 and through 14 weeks are 55-39 on the season.
·         Spokane became the first team to win ten games this season.
·         13 players had 100-yard receiving games.
·         Four QBs posted 300-yard passing games (one had over 400 yards).
·         Former af2 teams went 2-0 against old AFL franchises (on the year, the af2 is 18-20 vs. the old AFL).
·         Dallas was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
 
QUICK RECAPS
The Iron won its first road game since Week One by never letting the Blaze take a lead. Milwaukee QB Chris Greisen had a perfect passer rated game after completing 21-of-23 for 330 yards with eight scores. Antoine Burns posted 305 all-purpose yards and three scores in the win. In its last two wins, the Iron has scored 82 points in each contest. Milwaukee 82-56.
 
Iowa won its second straight game and third of its last four en route to eliminating Dallas from playoff contention. After trailing 14-7 after the first quarter, the Barnstormers scored 52 points the rest of the way to hand the Vigilantes their ninth straight loss. Iowa 59-38.
 
There was little defense in the first 59 minutes of the Rush-Storm game, but that changed when Storm DB Brandon Hefflin forced a fumble and Erick McIntosh returned it 28 yards to give the Storm a 15-point lead with 46 seconds left in the game. Chicago scored with a second left for the game’s final points. Tampa Bay 68-60.
 
In contrast, there wasn’t a lot of offense when two of the top three scoring teams in the league faced off in Spokane. The Shock’s final touchdown was a bit controversial when, on fourth down, QB Kyle Rowley tossed a seven-yard score to WR Quorey Payne. However, the Rattlers claim that the ball went through Payne’s hands, then hit the back wall and the ground before ending up back into Payne’s hands for a touchdown. Arizona scored with 17 seconds left, but couldn’t recover the ensuing onside kick to give the Shock the one-point win. In the Rattlers’ press release about the game, Arizona called out the refs twice for missing calls. This is the second time this season that the Arizona PR staff has publicly criticized the officials (the other being the loss at Tampa Bay). Even if the refs did miss the calls in question for both games, it might not be the smartest PR tactic to talk about these regionalized officials in a press release since the road to the ArenaBowl goes through Spokane and/or Tampa Bay. Spokane 37-36.
 
Jacksonville snapped a two-game losing skid and avenged its first AFL loss (back in Week Two) thanks to four rushing touchdowns. The Sharks defense forced two turnovers and had three sacks in the win. Sharks QB Aaron Garcia became the league’s all-time career leading in passing touchdowns during the game. Vipers QB Kevin Eakin broke his left foot during the game and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Jacksonville 62-47.
 
Orlando battled back from a 21-point deficit to force overtime, but failed to score after the Glads got on the board in the extra stanza. Cleveland QB John Dutton tossed ten touchdowns in the contest. Cleveland 77-70 in overtime.
 
The Yard Dawgz swept the BattleWings on the year and won their first road game of the season. This leaves only Dallas and Utah as the only teams without wins away from home (strange, but both these teams’ only wins of the season came against either the Dawgz or the Wings). Oklahoma City trailed 14-7 after the first quarter, but outscored Bossier-Shreveport 56-17 until late in the fourth quarter when the Wings attempted a futile comeback. Oklahoma City 70-44.
 
RATTLED AGAIN
Arizona played its fifth game decided by a single point this past weekend. The Rattlers are 3-2 in those games with both losses coming against the two teams with the best records in the AFL (at Tampa Bay, at Spokane). Here’s a look at the final minutes of each contest.
 
On April 23, Rattlers QB Nick Davila tossed a 27-yard touchdown to WR Rod Windsor as time expired. Davila ended the game with 413 passing yards with nine scores (eight passing, one rushing). Windsor catch 16 passes for 230 yards and six touchdowns (he also had two rushing TDs). There were 19 total points scored in the game's final 32 seconds (13 by the Rattlers). Arizona 77-76.
 
On May 1, the Rattlers scored with seven seconds left at Tampa Bay, but failed to convert the would-be game-winning two-point conversion. Tampa Bay 62-61.
 
On June 5, Milwaukee forced overtime on a field goal as time expired in regulation, then scored to go up by seven. Davila and Windsor hooked up on an eleven-yard touchdown, then Windsor won the game on a two-point conversion. Arizona 68-67 in OT.
 
On June 11, Oklahoma City scored as time expired, but Arizona stopped Yard Dawgz on a two-point conversion. Arizona 56-55.
 
And last week, Davila and Windsor connected with 17 seconds left and a two-point conversion pulled the Rattlers within a point, but they failed to recover the ensuing onside kickoff. Interestingly, the teams combined to go six-for-six on fourth down with three touchdowns. Spokane 37-36.
 
SUNSHINE STATE OF MIND
For just the second time this year, there were three AFL games played in the state of Florida. And just like in Week Five, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville won, while Orlando lost. Prior to this season, the last time three AFL teams from Florida hosted home games on the same weekend was in 2001. That was the final season of the Florida Bobcats franchise and the failed attempt to put a team in the Miami area. This year, all three Florida teams are in the top four in league attendance with Tampa Bay at the top averaging over 3,000 per game more than Orlando, which ranks third in the league. Jacksonville trails Arizona by just 96 fans per game for third most.
 
BOTTOM FEEDERS
The bottom two teams in three of the four divisions all lost in Week 14. Only the bottom two teams in the Midwest Division won with Iowa and Cleveland pulling off road victories.
 
EXTINGUISHED
For the third straight game, Utah hasn’t even led in a game. The last lead for the Blaze ended with 59 seconds left to go in the first quarter on June 12 against Chicago. That’s a stretch of almost 226 minutes in clock time. In its last seven games, Utah has only led for a total of 21:59 out of a possible 420 minutes of game time.
 
NOT ON T.O.P. AGAIN
If you have a stats program that cannot even add up the actual time of possession any given game, then how do you expect it to do the other things? Did you know the Vipers had over 24 minutes of possession time in the first quarter then only had the ball for just 40 seconds in the third quarter? Overall, the Vipers had the ball for 42:20 and the Sharks had it for 32:40. Last time I checked, there’s only sixty minutes in a game. Possession time was also off in Spokane (added up to 60:47), Dallas (58:39) and Orlando (82:56). Just another of the countless reasons why DakStats/Point Streak needs to be fired after the season. Oh, and why did it take until late on Wednesday afternoon to get up the box score from the Gladiators-Predators game. This is so unprofessional, but apparently is just the norm for DakStats/Point Streak.
 
Speaking of embarrassing, the league's press release touting the Storm taking the #1 spot in the Coaches Poll has a nice af2 twist. If you open the PDF and go to properties you'll see the title says *ARENAFOOTBALL2 PRESS RELEASE*. I looked back through the weeks and its there repeatedly.
 
HOT ROD
Arizona WR Rod Windsor posted 13 grabs this weekend to propel him into solo possession of the fourth most catches in a single-season in league history. All three players ahead of him were named Offensive Player of the Year in their respective years. Additionally, Windsor is now 14th all-time in single-season yardage with 1,752. This upcoming week at Chicago, Windsor should easily pass Harrell (needs two to pass) and Nash (needs four to pass) for the second most. He’s 15 away from tying the league single-season mark held by Siaha Burley (166 in 2007). Windsor has had three games this season with at least 15 grabs, so he might have the record by the end of the Chicago game.
 
Since the league eliminated the MVP of the Year award and created the Offensive Player of the Year in 1996, a receiver has won 11 of the 13 seasons, including the last five. The last QB to be named Offensive Player of the Year was San Jose’s Mark Grieb in 2002 (the other was Aaron Garcia in 2001). If Windsor does earn Offensive Player of the Year honors then he’d be the second Arizona player to do so (Calvin Schexnayder in 1998).
 

AFL SINGLE-SEASON RECORDS
PLAYER
REC
PLAYER
REC YDS
1. S. Burley, UTAH (2007) *
166
1. S. Burley, UTAH (2007) *
2,129
2. M. Nash, LV (2004) *
154
2. C. Schexnayder, AZ (1998) *
1,982
3. D. Harrell, COL (2006) *
152
3. S. Burley, UTAH (2006)
1,934
4. R. Windsor, AZ (2010)
151
4. D. Harrell, COL (2006) *
1,920
5. C. Jackson, GEO (2007)
145
5. C. Jackson, GEO (2007)
1,915
6. A. Bailey, NO (2005)
144
6. D. Lewis, AUS (2007)
1,903
7. D. Lee, CMB (2008)
142
7. K. Swayne, NY (2001)
1,890
8. C. Jackson, PHI (2008)*
140
8. M. Horacek, IOWA (2000) *
1,880
9. D. Lewis, AUS (2007)
139
14. R. Windsor, AZ (2010)
1,752

NOTE: Windsor is on pace for AFL records for receptions (201) and receiving yards (2,415).
* - named Offensive Player of the Year
 
GARCIA ADDS YARDAGE RECORD TO RESUME
Jacksonville QB Aaron Garcia passed Clint Dolezel to become the league’s all-time leader in passing yardage during the Sharks’ win over Alabama. He did so on his final pass of the game, a 13-yarder to Dallas Baker. Earlier this season, Garcia became the league’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns. Additionally, Garcia became the first player to hit the 950 passing TD mark in the game on his final touchdown.
 
RUNNING RYAN
Iowa QB Ryan Vena added two rushing scores this past weekend to put his season total to 19, which ties the league single-season mark for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. He tied the mark set by Adrian McPherson when the 2004 AFL Rookie of the Year was a member of the Indiana Firebirds. Overall, 19 rushing touchdowns is tied for the eleventh most by any position player. Assuming Vena adds at least one more ground score and Milwaukee’s Tyre Young gets two more, the 2010 season will be the first in league history with three players with at least 20 rushing touchdowns.
 
In addition to his rushing scores, Vena could add another league single-season record this season, but not one he would like to be known for – most interceptions. Currently, he leads the league with 18 interceptions, which is tied for the eleventh most ever. The league record is held by John Kaleo who tossed 21 in 1997 while splitting time with Anaheim and San Jose.
 
BIG BEN
On the season, Cleveland QB Ben Nelson leads the AFL with 45 receiving scores, which is tied for twelfth most in league history. With five more TDs, he’d be just the third player in league history to reach 50 scores in a single-season. The league record is held by Damian Harrell, who was named the 2006 AFL Offensive Player of Year after grabbing 61 receiving scores. Additionally, Nelson also leads the league in receiving yards and is on pace for over 2,200 yards which would be a new AFL record (assuming Rod Windsor doesn’t have more – Windsor has played one less game than Nelson and has better per game averages in yardage).
 
A “HANK”ERING FOR BIG PLAYS
Tampa Bay’s Hank Edwards has had one of the top three-game stretches in league history. In the last three Storm wins, Edwards has combined for 32 catches for 576 yards with 12 touchdowns. For his efforts, the league has awarded him with one of their awards in each of the past three games. On the year, Edwards’ 576 yards and 12 scores are the most of any player over a three-game stretch.
 
PAPERING THE HOUSE
The BattleWings announced that they would be giving away 5,000 free ticket vouchers for the Week 17 home game against Jacksonville. Bossier-Shreveport is last in the league in attendance and five of their six home games rank as the five least attended games in the league this season. Over the course of the BattleWings' 81 home games in the af2 and AFL, they are averaging less than 3,600 per game and have surpassed 5,000 just twelve times with six of those coming in 2001. Bossier-Shreveport has lost four straight home games since opening the season with two home wins in the first two weeks. The team is 1-10 overall since Week Two.
 
4,000-YARD MEN
Milwaukee’s Chris Greisen and Cleveland’s John Dutton both surpassed the 4,000-yard passing threshold in Week 14 (in their 13th game of the season – Tampa Bay’s Brett Dietz should join them in his 13th game this upcoming weekend). This marks Greisen's third consecutive 4,000-yard season (he holds the #2 and #3 best performances in league history). As for Dutton, this is his sixth-straight 4,000-yard season, which ties for the most ever with Clint Dolezel. It will be Dietz’s second 4,000-yard season assuming he gets 218 over the final four games.
 
So far in AFL history (including Dutton and Greisen), the 4,000-yard mark has been eclipsed 56 times. Dutton and Clint Dolezel have done it the most times (six). Dutton and Greisen are among eleven players to record multiple 4,000-yard seasons (Dietz will become the 12th). The first to break the 4,000-yard mark was Mike Perez, who posted 4,153 yards and 84 touchdowns in 14 games with the Albany Firebirds in 1996. For the league’s first 16 seasons (1987-2002), there were just eight 4,000-yard passers. In the last seven years, there have been 48 with the most in a single season being nine (2007 and 2008). If current projections pan out, there should be ten 4,000-yard passers in 2010.
 

MOST 4,000-YARD PASSING SEASONS – AFL HISTORY
PLAYER
TIMES
SEASONS
TEAMS
1. John Dutton
6
2004-08, 10
Colorado, Cleveland
     Clint Dolezel
6
1998-99, 2003-04, 06-07
Houston, Grand Rapids, Las Vegas, Dallas
3. Mark Grieb
5
2004-08
San Jose
4. Shane Stafford
4
2005-08
Tampa Bay, Orlando
    Aaron Garcia
4
2000-01, 03, 05
Iowa/New York
5. Chris Greisen
3
2007-08, 10
Georgia, Milwaukee
     Tony Graziani
3
2003-05
Los Angeles, Philadelphia
7. Joe Germaine
2
2007-08
Utah
    Andy Kelly
2
2004-05
Detroit, New Orleans
    Matt Nagy
2
2006, 08
Georgia, Columbus
   Raymond Philyaw
2
2007-08
Kansas City, Cleveland

 
IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY
All eight potential playoff teams remained in the same position this week – these same eight teams have been seat holders in the playoffs for the last nine weeks. With Spokane sweeping Arizona in Week 14, the Shock essentially is 2.5 games ahead of the Rattlers and can clinch the West Division with winning twice or Arizona losing twice in the final four weeks of the season.
 
AMERICAN CONFERENCE
#4 Alabama (6-6) at #1 Tampa Bay (9-3; South Division leader)
#3 Jacksonville (7-4) at #2 Tulsa (7-5; Southwest Division leader)
 
NATIONAL CONFERENCE
#4 Milwaukee (8-5) at #1 Spokane (10-2; West Division leader)
#3 Arizona (8-4) at #2 Chicago (9-4; Midwest Division leader)
 
Officially Eliminated: Utah (1-11), Dallas (1-10)
 
Week 15 playoff scenarios
Tampa Bay: clinches playoff berth with a win.
Chicago: clinches playoff berth with a win OR an Iowa loss.
Spokane: clinches playoff berth with a win OR an Iowa loss.
Bossier-Shreveport: eliminated with a loss OR an Alabama win
 
Unless something drastic happens in the final four weeks of the season, seven of these teams will be in the postseason. The biggest question mark left is the final spot in the American Conference.
 
Alabama is barely holding onto the final playoff spot in the American Conference and with the loss of starting QB Kevin Eakin, it doesn’t look good for the Vipers. I see the Vipers going 1-3 in the final four games, beating Utah and losing to Orlando, Tulsa and Tampa Bay, to finish 7-9.
 
At 5-7 each, Orlando and Oklahoma City are also fighting for this final spot. They will play each other in Week 17 potentially for the final playoff spot. The Preds host the Vipers on Friday and the Yard Dawgz host Iowa. If both teams win, then OKC will jump into the driver’s seat for the playoffs because it beat Alabama and holds a tiebreaker over Orlando.
 
In addition to the Alabama game this week, Orlando has two road games against likely playoff teams (at Milwaukee and at Tampa Bay). Sandwiched between those games is the game that will likely decide the final playoff spot when the Predators host the Yard Dawgz on July 24. For OKC, they host Iowa this week, then travel to Cleveland and Orlando before hosting Tulsa in the regular season finale.
 
OKC can still win the Southwest Division if it wins out and Tulsa loses three of its last four. The playoff qualifications for winning the division are different than just qualifying for the postseason. Head-to-head is the first tiebreaker, but division record is the second tiebreaker for the division crown (unlike point differnetial to simply qualify). Another scenario would be for Tulsa to lose to division rival Bossier-Shreveport this week, then win the next two beforelosing by 27 or more points to OKC to beat them by 27 in the regular season finale to give the Yard Dawgz the division title (assumes the Yard Dawgz win out). If Tulsa beats the BattleWings and OKC loses once, then the Talons win the division because of the better division record (they'd be 5-0 and would be 5-1 if OKC beat them - the best the Dawgz could be is 4-2).
 
Interestingly, if OKC somehow wins the division, the first round of the playoffs could looke very similar to the first week of the regular season: Jacksonville vs. OKC and Tulsa vs. Tampa Bay. The Sharks and Talons won those games three and half months ago.
 
KNOW YOUR SCHEDULE
Here’s a look at the remaining schedules of the teams contending for the playoffs in both conferences. The top four are the current potential playoff teams if the season started today. Based on the records of opponents, the Storm has the easiest remaining schedule and Iowa has the hardest.
 

AMERICAN CONFERENCE REMAINING SCHEDULES
TEAM
WK 15
WK 16
WK 17
WK 18
OPP. RECORD
1. Tampa Bay (9-3)
at DAL (1-11)
at JAX (8-4)
BAMA (5-7)
ORL (5-7)
19-29
2. Tulsa (7-5)
B-S (3-10)
at BAMA (5-7)
AZ (8-4)
at OKC (5-7)
21-28
3. Jacksonville (8-4)
at UTAH (1-11)
TB (9-3)
at B-S (3-10)
SPO (10-2)
23-26
4. Alabama (6-6)
at ORL (5-7)
TUL (7-5)
at TB (9-3)
UTAH (1-11)
22-26
5. OKC (5-7)
IOWA (6-6)
at CLE (6-7)
at ORL (5-7)
TUL (7-5)
24-25
6. Orlando (5-7)
BAMA (5-7)
at MIL (8-5)
OKC (5-7)
at TB (9-3)
27-22

 

NATIONAL CONFERENCE REMAINING SCHEDULES
TEAM
WK 15
WK 16
WK 17
WK 18
OPP. RECORD
1. Spokane (10-2)
at CLE (6-7)
at IOWA (6-6)
CHI (9-4)
at JAX (8-4)
29-21
2. Chicago (9-4)
AZ (8-4)
DAL (1-11)
at SPO (10-2)
NO GAME
19-17
3. Arizona (8-4)
at CHI (9-4)
UTAH (1-11)
at TUL (7-5)
IOWA (6-6)
23-26
4. Milwaukee (8-5)
NO GAME
ORL (5-7)
at IOWA (6-6)
at CLE (6-7)
17-20
5. Iowa (6-6)
at OKC (5-7)
SPO (10-2)
MIL (8-5)
at AZ (8-4)
31-18
6. Cleveland (6-7)
SPO (10-2)
OKC (5-7)
NO GAME
MIL (8-5)
23-14

 
WEEK 14’S STATS LEADERS 

100-YARD RECEIVERS
PLAYER, TEAM
RECEIVING YARDS
RECEPTIONS
TOUCHDOWNS
Brent Holmes, CLE
199
12
5
Aaron Boone, UTAH
176
16
4
Marco Thomas, CHI
176
12
1
Hank Edwards, TB
172
8
4
Ben Nelson, CLE
163
17
2
Bobby Sippio, ORL
147
9
5
Tiger Jones, MIL
144
7
3
Jesse Schmidt, IOWA
127
7
3
Antoine Burns, MIL
120
9
2
Michael Johnson, ALA
115
10
1
CJ Johnson, ALA
113
10
3
Craig Fulton Jr, OKC
112
8
4
Sale Key, JAX
110
7
1

 

300-YARD PASSERS
PLAYER, TEAM
PASSING YARDS
PASS TDs
INTERCEPTIONS
John Dutton, CLE
411
10
0
Brett Dietz, TB
359
8
0
Chris Greisen, MIL
330
8
0
Russ Michna, CHI
334
7
0

  
BREAKING IT DOWN MVP OF THE WEEK: Chris Greisen, Milwaukee QB
Greisen joins Rod Windsor as the only multiple Breaking it Down MVP of the Week award winners this year. The Milwaukee quarterback had a perfect passer rated game (158.33) against Utah completing 21-of-23 for 330 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. His 91.3 completion percentage and rating are the highest in the league this season among passers with at least 20 attempts. Greisen’s numbers could’ve been even greater, but with the Iron up by so much he was rested the final 11:54 left in the game.
 

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
13
Ryan Vena, Iowa QB
90.9% (20/22), 245 yards, 7 TD, 0 INT, 38 rush yds (1 TD)
14
Chris Greisen, Milwaukee QB
91.3% (21/23), 330 yards, 8 TD, 0 INT, 158.33 rating

 
 


 
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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