Third Time’s the Charm
James described the game by saying, "No matter how sloppy it was, a win’s a win."
"Defense" is not the first word that comes to mind in Arena Football, but it was the winning word in this game. The Gladiators’ aggressive defense was a decisive factor in this game. According to James, their plan was "…to get the Los Angeles quarterback to scramble around because sacks are very difficult to get in this game."
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
The offense was best described as showing flashes of brilliance and then making mental mistakes.
In all three seasons, the Gladiators have had trouble with penalties and this game was no exception. They were penalized 12 times for 81 yards. Two Marcus Nash touchdowns were called back because of holding. The first occurred with two seconds remaining in the first half, after Nash caught a Clint Dolezel pass. Mark Lewis missed the ensuing field goal attempt and Las Vegas led 26-17 at the half. The second touchdown was called back early in the fourth quarter. Marcus Lord caught a 12-yard pass and scored on the next play.
Surprisingly, a team that, in years past, made illegal procedure, offsides, and illegal defense a regular part of their playbook, did not become subject to the new enhanced penalty for more than three encroachment penalties in a half.
Odds and Ends
Las Vegas’ special teams earned a C+/B-. Lewis missed 2 field goals, but 1 out of 2 onside kick attempts were successful.
Clint Dolezel suffered some bruises during the game. The injuries were not serious enough to X-ray.
Will the Gladiators’ special teams play better or worse this week? Will the Gladiators’ defensive strategy continue to work? We will all find out February 5th when the Gladiators play the SaberCats in San Jose. This was a good start to the season, and as Coach James said, "... do the math. To get to 2-0, you have to be 1-0."