Thunder Close Out Season In Front Of Record Crowd
Sunday July 27, 2014
Thunder Drop Tight One to Shock, 45-40
PORTLAND, Ore. – A Portland AFL-record 12,848 fans cheered on the Thunder as they closed out their regular season against the Spokane Shock with a narrow 45-40 loss.
In his first start since Week 2, Darron Thomas completed 19 of 41 passes for 200 yards and was accountable for six touchdowns – four through the air and two rushing.
The first quarter began with a bang for the Portland Thunder when they recovered a fumbled snap, and Darron Thomas ran over a Shock defender for a touchdown two plays later. After their initial misstep, the Shock capitalized began targeting 6’7” wide receiver Nick Truesdell, resulting in a touchdown to even the score.
Both defenses harassed the opposing quarterback. The Shock’s defense intercepted Thomas three times and the Thunder picked off two passes from Brian Zybdniewski.
The Thunder started off the second half with a deep touchdown pass from Thomas to Douglas McNeil III to regain the lead, 20-17. The Thunder defensive line antagonized the Shock’s quarterback Brian Zbydniewski, forcing several hurried passes. Eric Crocker intercepted Zbydniewski on the Thunder two-yard line and returned all the way to the Shock 11 to set up a touchdown pass from Thomas to Howard to put the Thunder up 10.
The Shock, however, would rally, scoring back-to-back touchdowns to recapture the lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Thunder rallied with a 28-yard pass to Jamar Howard and a short pass to lineman Stanley Daniels who ran through the Shock defense for a touchdown to draw the Thunder to within four, 34-38.
Kevin Cummings, the former Oregon State Beaver, scored his first touchdown in a Thunder uniform with less than a minute remaining to make the score 45-40, but the Shock recovered the onside kick and the Thunder began preparing for next week’s playoff battle with the Arizona Rattlers.
The Thunder will play the first playoff game in Portland’s AFL history on August 3 at 3 p.m. in Phoenix, Ariz., as they take on the No. 1 seed Arizona Rattlers. The game will be streamed on ESPN3 and aired on 750 AM The Game. For all the latest news and discussion on the Portland Thunder, follow the team on Facebook (facebook.com/PDXThunder), Twitter and Instagram (@PDXThunder).
The fan attendance eclipsed the former attendance record for arena football in Portland set by the Portland Forest Dragons at 11,249 on July 26, 1997.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Rashaad Carter (Spokane)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Bryce Peila
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Jamar Howard
Cutters Catch of the Game: Jamar Howard’s touchdown catch off a Spokane tip, 3:16 left, third quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game: Eric Crocker’s interception and 37-yard return, 9:11 left, third quarter
About the Portland Thunder
The Portland Thunder are a professional arena football team of the Arena Football League from Portland, Oregon, USA. They play their home games at the Moda Center. 2014 marks the franchise’s first season.
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