by Steve Vetack, Indianapolis CB
Indy Offense Erupts in Dominant Win
Indianapolis came into Week 6 in the midst of a pretty stressful 3 game slide. They had shown a very disappointing brand of football the last two weeks. Very uncharacteristically they had really struggled on offense and had failed to make the big plays on defense. It was beginning to show that teams had begun to catch on to their fairly vanilla defensive scheme that was being executed by a very talented group. Weeks of film had been collected and their Week 4 and 5 opponents exploited the trends. Week 6 was a must win.
The London Knights were coming off a pretty rough go of it after attempting to take on Tallahassee. A 42-13 drumming isn’t anything necessarily new for anyone taking on the Pride. Prior to meeting one of the favorites this year London had impressively shutdown 3 consecutive opponents with an average 8 points allowed. But like Tallahassee the previous week, Indy’s high powered offense came alive and punished the Knights D.
Red Devils Defense Bottles Up Mair and Company
Spencer Mair was able to put up 151 yards on the ground but you wouldn’t be blamed for being surprised at not realizing it by games end. With 35 carries and one fantastic 50 yard run Mair had to grind out that payday. Indy’s D kept him in check for most of the nigh successfully isolating the handful of plus runs and not allowing them to pile up in point scoring drives.
The other key that had been missing in previous weeks was the defense making clutch plays in pivotal spots. In the first quarter Indy was able to force 4 three and outs on all four of London’s possessions. A big improvement from previous weeks where Indy could not get off the field on 3rd down. This ended up being very important early as QB Nathan Lee got his 2 interceptions out early. The 2 interceptions both by London FS Jeffrey Daggs could have turned the game if not for the shutdown play of the Indy D.
That clutch play also came in the form of interceptions by CB Mike Vetack. The younger brother of the Vetack corners took a tipped ball off the tips of the grass in the second quarter and then again intercepted QB Michael Martin in the endzone on the first possession of the second half. A major momentum swing that carried forward to the end of the game.
The last couple weeks Indy had several occasions of dropped picks. This time around they got back to their ball hawking ways.
Notable Stat: Vetack brothers were able to limit both Andre Godspeed and Jackamo Jones to under 100 yards a piece with both getting a chunk of their yards late against the backups (including Jones TD)
London Possession Dominance Leads to Little Payout
London must have seen the time of possession dominating performances by Indy’s last couple of opponents and looked to follow suit to their success. They ended the game with 26:56 in ball time and put a big emphasis on the shoulders of HB Spencer Mair. The offense was balanced with a split of 245 yards passing and 153 rushing but proved to be ultimately ineffective in terms of points. A missed 54-yard field goal and 2 game changing interceptions gave Indy extra possessions to work WRs Eli McCormack and Dan Daly who have proven to be very difficult to handle.
By the time London was able to get some bigger chunk plays via Mair and third string WR Tony Adamson (1 TD) Nathan Lee had already shrugged off the 2 interceptions and had thrown for 249 yards and 3 TDs by half. A junk time TD to WR Jones padded the stats but really after the interception in the endzone London had run out of bullets.
Notable Stat: Tony Adamson, the non-contract third WR lead London in receptions and yards late into the third quarter
Week 6 Changes Get Red Devils Back on Track
Many fans and retired SFL players now talking heads were touting this game as a regular season playoff game for Indy. The importance of this game both in the playoff standings and for the morale of the team was apparent.
“After the Chicago game myself and the other captains called a players only meeting. Nobody in that room felt like we had been playing to the level we should be and we felt we needed to has it out” commented Cpt Steve Vetack
“Our couches are great leaders but sometimes it’s your teammates you need to hear it from instead” added CB Mike Vetack
During the preparation for the London game GM and Head Coach James Richards took on the defense game plan and looked to add more variety to the schemes as teams had begun to notice trends. Leadership felt that all the all-rookie team had grown enough in the early season and it was time to mature the responsibilities and playbook.
The offense saw changes as well with more game planning to involve a steadily improving HB Matthew Mitchell who was able to consistently break 7-10 yard runs for important first downs. In previous weeks he had been a distant 3rd option and largely ineffective.
“It’s certainly satisfying to finally start breaking some tackles and getting some yards. I’m glad James is starting to put more trust in me. Helps the whole team too. It’s starting to not feel as frustrating, especially with the win” remarked Mitchell.
Even with the changes Dan Daly and Eli McCormick were their usual explosive selves. Eli had a monster game with 205 yards and 2 TDs. Not to be completely outdone by his counterpart, Dan Daly responded with 117 yards and 2 TDs of his own. Nathan Lee feed the beasts to the tune of 350 yards and 4 TDs.
On the adjustments coming out of the 3 game losing streak,
“Essentially we had to give our defense more plays and tools to work with. We didn’t do anything too crazy, just gave them more to use, and select from. Offensively it was about playing smarter football. We went back and looked at the film from the last three weeks, and fixed what didn’t work. Now we are more efficient both running and passing as well as still being a homerun threat on the outsides” explained HC James Richards during the post-game presser.
It certainly seemed to get Indy back on the right track.
Game MVP: WR Eli McCormick 8 rec – 205 yds – 2 TDs – 25.6 avg
Highlight of the Game: CB Mike Vetack somehow makes a shoestring INT off a tipped pass early in the second quarter
Looking Ahead to Week 7
Indy matches up in a pivotal Central matchup with Sioux Falls for a high impact game in the Central standings
Week 7 is a big week for London. Three teams sit at 3-3 in the East with their Atlanta opponents among them