Rush drop second game of season to Spokane
Sunday March 31, 2013
While the Rush came out of the gates firing on all cylinders offensively this afternoon, they could not pick up a win as they fell to the Spokane Shock 76-61 to drop to 0-2 on the young season.
The Rush veterans carried the load for the first ninety seconds of the game. WR Reggie Gray took the opening kick to midfield, and immediately followed that with a reception down to the two yard line. From there, Fullback JJ Payne muscled through the Shock defensive line for a quick opening score.
On the other side of the ball, the Shock could not immediately get a rhythm down.
Spokane’s very first offensive play from scrimmage was a neutral zone infraction. From there, Quarterback Erik Meyer’s first completion was turned into an incomplete pass after video review. Eventually Adron Tennell was there to provide a lifeline and haul in two passes to extend the drive. Partner-in-Crime Steven Black ended the drive with a touchdown catch in the middle of the end zone.
After Gray returned the kickoff to the 15 yard line, it only took Rush QB Carson Coffman two plays to connect this time, finding WR Rodney Wright in the corner of the end zone for a quick six. AFL Week One MVP Meyer was able to work his magic once again, capitalizing on an Adron Tennell double-move to even the score up at 14.
Coffman’s hot start cooled down on the third drive. The second-year quarterback could not connect with any receivers, and the ball went back to Spokane. The Shock capitalized on the momentum with yet another touchdown toss.
After a penalty gave the Rush good field position on the resulting kickoff, Payne took the ball once again, turned a corner and was able to get in the end zone for his second touchdown of the night. The Shock were quick to respond as Eastern Illinois alumnus Terrance Sanders made his presence known, working his way through the Rush kickoff team and into the end zone.
After matching touchdowns by each team, a near-exact repeat of the play that turned around the game last week against Iowa occurred as the ensuing kickoff bounced right off the bottom iron and into the hands of streaking cover man Paul Stephens, giving the Shock fourteen points in the blink of an eye. After two more matching touchdowns, the Rush went into the locker room with a fourteen point deficit.
335-pound offensive lineman Ryan Cave delivered the opening salvo of the second half, as he took a screen pass down the sideline for a quick first down pickup. Jack Linebacker Kelvin Morris was injured on the play, but would return on the next drive. The Shock were quick to keep the pressure on, as they marched down and built their lead to 21 points. With life still left in the Rush, it was offensive lineman Colin Madison’s time to shine. The Villa Park native, who was eligible on the play, took a seven yard pass from Coffman into the end zone to bridge the gap to two scores.
After another Shock score, their kickoff team did not allow Wright to leave the end zone, giving the ball to the Rush at their own three. The drive started out grim, as a few incomplete passes and an apparent injury to Gray had the Rush in a bad spot as the third quarter came to a close. Nate Forse turned out to be the hero of the drive, hauling in a touchdown reception to keep hope alive.
Realizing that the Rush had started gaining momentum on offense, Spokane changed up their strategy on offense, resorting to shorter passes that ate up the clock. While it looked like the Rush were able to adjust and about to achieve their first stop of the night, Meyer found Jeffrey Solomon in the end zone, effectively ending Chicago’s hopes.
Luckily for the Rush, Reggie was able to find his way back into the game in style, hauling in his third and fourth touchdowns of the night. Despite the highlights offensively, the Rush could still not muster a stop on defense. As a result, the Rush drop to 0-2 on the season with a 76-61 loss to the Spokane Shock.
The Rush will travel to San Antonio to face the Talons for the first road game of the season next week.