Erik Meyer Flourishes Against Former Team, SaberCats Now 11-0
Saturday June 6, 2015
It was no accident that he was the Arena Football League MVP in 2013. Quarterback Erik Meyer found ways to extend crucial plays in his first matchup against the team that knows him best, the Spokane Shock, and he managed to lead the San Jose SaberCats to a comfortable 55-26 victory over their Pacific Division rivals on Friday night.
Scrambling and mobility is something Meyer has been known for around the league throughout his career. But with the SaberCats, it didn't truly show throughout the current season until Friday's matchup against the Shock. Not only did Meyer go 27-of-39 for 260 yards and five touchdowns, but he also managed two touchdown runs on the ground during plays that seemed to break down upon first sight. The final result? There wasn't a single offensive drive where San Jose failed to score a touchdown, and the SaberCats did not face any fourth down situations.
"Erik is good at what he does," wide receiver Reggie Gray said when complimenting the team's quarterback. "Sometimes when it's tight coverage, he's able to scramble and get the first down or touchdown. That really makes it easy for the receiver."
Reggie Gray, the team's most consistent receiver throughout the 2015 season, had another tremendous night, with 122 yards on 10 receptions plus two touchdowns. Despite a major injury last month, Gray has shown hardly any signs of slowing down.
On the defensive side of the ball, there were two fourth-down stops and a game-clinching interception by Mike Williams in the final minute, and that was all San Jose needed to hold Spokane to a franchise-low of 26 points. The last time the SaberCats held an opponent to 26 points or less was Week 17 of the 2013 season, when they crushed the Pittsburgh Power
"The defense played well," head coach Darren Arbet
said when asked about their performance. "We played a lot of different guys on defense. When they got in there, they stepped up and did what they had to do."
Ken Fontenette, despite having no turnovers, also had a notable performance, managing 12 solo tackles and three assists. In terms of tackle statistics, Fontenette's 13.5 on Friday was the highest in a single game so far this season throughout the Arena Football League.
"He's smart, he competes every day and every down," Arbet stated in reference to Fontenette. "He's just a competitive guy, and it carries out onto the football field."
The 11-0 SaberCats are now one victory away from tying their best starting record in franchise history (12-0 in 2002), and are also on the verge of clinching the Pacific Division. With another home matchup against the winless Los Angeles KISS
, such a situation appears extremely likely barring a miraculous upset.
At this point, the SaberCats are playing for just two purposes: the first perfect season in Arena Football League history, and the number one seed over the Arizona Rattlers
(currently 7-2). Both of these reasons should be enough to motivate this team throughout the remainder of the regular season, but there is still always the chance of an upset. The quest to avoid that upset will start next week against the winless KISS, an upset that San Jose will most certainly want to dodge at all costs.
Griffin Aseltine is an 18-year-old high school student and freelance writer who resides in San Jose, California. He has been fond of watching sports ever since experiencing the culture in his area shift a strong focus towards the San Francisco Giants following their World Series victory in 2010. Griffin became a San Jose SaberCats fan on the opening week of the 2012 season and has been a season ticket holder since 2013. He has contributed to First Stop Fantasy as a San Francisco 49ers writer since the start of the 2013 NFL season and has written for ArenaFan since the start of the 2014 AFL season. You can follow Griffin on Twitter @superduperm1
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.