Thunder Drop 2015 Season Finale to Arizona 67-39
Sunday August 9, 2015
Portland starts slow, falls too far behind 3-time defending champs
PORTLAND – A gutsy, four touchdown performance from quarterback Kyle Rowley was not enough to counteract a problematic first quarter as the Portland Thunder (5-13) dropped their final contest of the 2015 Arena Football League season, 67-39, to the three-time defending ArenaBowl champion Arizona Rattlers (14-4) in front of 12,687 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Downtown Phoenix.
The Thunder finish the 2015 AFL regular season with the identical record of 5-13 it managed in its inaugural season a year ago.
A difficult first quarter saw the Thunder fall behind 23-0 through a freak sequence of big plays for the Rattlers.
“Just about anything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” head coach Mike Hohensee stated. “We just didn’t have the firepower tonight. Arizona came to play, and proved to us that we can’t just show up and expect to beat a great team.”
Down 7-0 following Arizona’s opening drive, which ended in a four yard touchdown pass from Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila to wide receiver Kerry Reed, the Thunder took possession for the first time in the game at their own two yard line. A mishandled snap, on 2nd and 10, from the two, had Rowley scrambling to recover in his own end-zone, with Arizona linebacker Tyre Glasper tagging him for the safety. On the ensuing kickoff to Arizona, Rattlers kick returner Arkeith Brown ran back 55 yards for a touchdown, pushing the lead to 16-0.
The Thunder offense was unable to gain any momentum on their next possession, turning the ball over on downs after a short, six play drive. Arizona would score again three plays later, with Davila hitting wide receiver Rod Windsor for a 19 yard touchdown, extending the lead yet again, to 23-0.
Portland would strike back with touchdowns on each of their three, second quarter drives, including a 46 yard touchdown pass from Rowley to receiver Jamar Howard. Making his first appearance since sustaining a knee injury in Week 5 against San Jose, Howard drew the attention of two Rattler defensive backs on a crossing route, causing the tandem to collide, and releasing Jamar down the left sideline for the score.
“At first, I was a little tense on it,” Howard said of his return to action. “As soon as I scored that touchdown though, I sort of forgot about it.”
Jamar finished the game with six receptions, for 101 yards. Windsor led all receivers with three touchdowns, from his eight receptions, for 95 yards.
Rowley finished the evening 18 of 39 passing, for 242 yards, and four touchdowns, adding another score on the ground, while also surpassing 20,000 passing yards for his career (20,021). Davila completed 18 of his 26 attempts, for 165 yards, and five touchdowns.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Nick Davila (AZ)
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: Mike McAdoo (AZ)
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game: Arkeith Brown (AZ)
Cutters Catch of the Game: Rod Windsor (AZ) 25 yard TD catch as time expired in 2nd Q
AFL Highlight of the Game: Arkeith Brown (AZ) Kickoff Return for TD in 1st Q
About the Portland Thunder
The Portland Thunder would like to thank our fans and sponsors for bringing the BOOM this 2015 AFL Season. Tickets and sponsorships are now available for the 2016 AFL Season. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-773-4235. For all the latest news and discussion on the Portland Thunder, follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@pdxthunder).