Written by Matthew Slinn, Ray Bentley, Baylee O’Shaughnessy, Rae Colston, Jason Miller, Jack Brown and Josh Farnzy
Images by Tyler Falk
Analytics by Jett Zero
Written by Matthew Slinn, Ray Bentley, Baylee O’Shaughnessy, Rae Colston, Jason Miller, Jack Brown and Josh Farnzy
Images by Tyler Falk
Analytics by Jett Zero
|Is Josh Miller underrated?
Serious question. When you have the possible MVP in the same backfield, it is easy to be overshadowed. The left handed quarterback of the best team in the league continues to put up solid performances against quality defenses. This week’s 27-20 win over Louisiana saw Miller methodically move the offense downfield right after halftime and again after a Revolution score to keep the game at two possessions for most of the contest. When all was said and done: 329 passing yards and three touchdowns versus two interceptions on 71 percent passing - including 147 yards and two scores to Bryce Battle. The suffocating defense gave up some yards on the ground, but hung tough late to thwart a tying score. Denver looks to improve to 6-0 against Houston this weekend.
|The Baltimore Vultures produced a masterclass in taking what the defence gives you in Week 5, comfortably beating the Queen City Corsairs 38-13. Knowing that 25 points would probably be sufficient due to the struggles QCC have had this season, Baltimore leant on the passing game, and it worked. T-Roy Gaines struggled on the ground, only managing just under 3 yards per carry, so Jack Wigmore took it upon himself to take charge, throwing the ball nearly 50 times, completing over 40 of his passes. 4 TD's and 350+ yards later, the Vultures logged yet another victory and slightly move up our Power Rankings. Week 6 brings a much sterner test with a road trip north to Vancouver. A win is easily feasible for this talented squad. It will be interesting to see if Gaines decides to put the team on his back this week.|
|Jesus, St. Louis. I get it, you’re all 4-0 and stuff and want to now have some fun, but you do not need to give everyone heart attacks here and nearly lose to an 0-4 team. Never mind that on the whole that game was a bit of a yikes. DC thoroughly beat out you guys in most major categories. Passing yards? Yes! Rushing yards? Nearly double! 3rd down percentage? Oh you betcha! Now granted there was one thing that carried you over the Dragons, one that’s done them in a bunch this season, turnovers. Christian brown? He threw but a single pick, compare that to Shabazz Psynergy who threw 4. You were able to slow down DC’s attack and barely keep touch and sneak away by the enamel on their teeth and march to 5-0. Congrats! You get a pogchamp. Now you get the chance to lock in an at least .500 season going up against arch rival London. They’re tough, but you better at least try to get into the freaking 6-0 slot.|
|The Storm are coming.
Florida’s entertaining 41-31 victory over Mexico City makes it four wins in a row and some extra eyeballs to the surging Storm. Down three halfway through the fourth quarter, Florida showed grit to drive down for a tying field goal. And then Ryan Davidson happened. A key interception on the first play of the next drive setup Florida for the go-ahead-for-good score with under two minutes to play. Evan Carroll sealed the win with an interception on the next Mexico City possession. Ron Cockren led a powerful offensive performance - going 28 of 35 for 275 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs. Rookie running back Charlie Biletsky made the most of his 14 carries with 111 yards - including a 73-yard sprint up the middle and down the left sideline. Florida is now 4-1. Consider this your storm warning.
|After receiving their first loss of the season on the road last week, the Los Angeles Lycans returned home to host, their Pacific Division rival, the Vancouver Legion. The first quarter was all Lycans as they forced two interceptions that resulted in touchdown drives. Vancouver would score two touchdowns in the second quarter and the Lycans would head to their locker room at halftime ahead 20-14. The Legion would take the lead early in the third quarter, but the Lycans defense would step-up and deny the Legion any more points in the second half. QB Sully Richardson was 22 of 30 on the day with 256 yards, 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions and continues to lead a balanced passing attack using very single one of his weapons. His favorite targets today were WR Chris Lee with 97 yards and one touchdown and TE Jack Flash with 57 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The “Bowling Ball”, Robert Johnson, would roll down the field 30 times for 105 yards. Buddy Blaze once again led the Lycans defense with his 11 tackles and 1 pass deflection. Mike Scott and Ramen, Jr. each had an interception. Andre Krimm made his contribution with a sack that was a safety. The Lycans would defeat the Legion 32-21 and become the leader in the Pacific Division. The Lycans will travel to Queen City this week to play the Corsairs.|
|You can't not feel good about the Fort Worth Toros this season. Granted, they aren't the most proficient at scoring points and their offense can feel a little blunted at times, but when you have a defense full of wild animals, it doesn't really matter. The 16-7 victory on the road against a Houston Hyenas team on a 2-game win streak proved one thing - Fort Worth can win tight games without ever looking like they are going to lose. This fact alone should be a worry for anyone not a Toros fan. No one player stood out in this game on either side of the ball. Nothing remarkable happened. And yet, I believe that how the Toros like it. After all, the win is the most important thing. The Toros have keyed in on the fact that the destination is more important than the journey. This mentality is working.|
|Back and forth and back and forth the Aztec offense went with the Storm for nearly 44 minutes.
But two late interceptions that undermined an otherwise brilliant outing by Matt Willson in a 41-31 loss against Florida. On the plus side, prior to a disastrous last three minutes of the game, Mexico City responded to nearly every Florida score to keep pace - converting all but one of their eight third downs. The offense was balanced and efficient. Defensively, the Aztecs had a difficult time slowing down Ron Cockren - allowing 10 of 11 third downs to be converted by the Storm. Ouch. A few tweaks on the defensive side of the ball and fear not, Aztec fans. They’ll be fine. Mexico City hosts Lone Star in a key South Division showdown between a pair of 3-2 squads.
|The (3-1) Vancouver Legion travelled to Los Angeles to play the (3-1) Lycans in a Pacific Divisional matchup. A Division in which the whole league appears to believe is theirs to lose. QB Tom Pepper got off to a rough start with his two interceptions in the first quarter that would result in Lycans touchdowns. He would re-group and get the Legion their first lead early in the 3rd quarter; however, the lead would not last long and the Lycans defense would shut the Vancouver offense down after this point in the game. Tom Pepper was 27 of 33 for 294 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. WR Kendra Hall had 7 receptions for 152 yards and TE Dan Daly had 5 receptions for 35 yards and 2 touchdowns. RB Robert Redford had 17 carries for 42 yards and one rushing touchdown. The Legion defense was led by SS Marc Lopez with his 11 tackles which included one for a loss. CBs Kyler Murray, Ashley Rose Finch and Dean Maddox each had interceptions. At the end of the day the Legion would suffer their second loss of the season 32-21. The Legion will stay at home this week and host the Baltimore Vultures.|
|Rookie hero Jay Mart's excellent game underpinned a good performance for the Kings in an important victory over the tricky Atlanta Swarm. Mart, playing in a linebacking role, made over 10 tackles in the game and proved his pass coverage abilities with a 40-yard pick 6 that lifted the Kings immensely. Jacksonville needed a huge 17-point 4th quarter to pull this game out, TD's by Jared Willis and a couple of picks by cornerback, Bernard Goodin also helped the cause. The Kings move to 3-2 heading into Week 6. Jacksonville are there or thereabouts in the race for the division title - exactly where we expected they would be.|
|LSG came into Week 5 needing a big win against London and they did more than that. They made a statement. Going into London and winning on the road 33-14 thanks to that stiff defense. Doug Day had a pick 6 and they held Angus to only a 52% completion percentage. Now LSG has division foe MXC up next. If they can perform the same way as they did against London, LSG can be right back in the thick of things for one of the best teams in the SFL.|
|Charleston, you want to have a monopoly on the Top 10 Games of the Year list, don’t ya? Whether it be win or lose, every game save for week one has been decided by less than 7 for the Preds, with the last 3 straight being decided in the last 30 seconds. This week, rather unfortunately, didn’t end well and ya lost by two on an oddly familiar way to lose, a walk off field goal. I guess to a certain extent though you weren’t in a position to win, Carolina out gained you even if by a relatively small amount that was probably made on that last run down the sideline to set up the walk off field goal. But still, the Skyhawks got all those yards to make it close soooooooo yeah. Hopefully Charleston can take this game to learn their lesson that eventually luck runs out. You can’t just keep rolling the dice and hope you win, you have to establish that this game is yours to win. Let’s see who is up on the docket next for you to try this new strategy and oh dang it’s Jacksonville, a team you’ve never beaten. I mean hey, there’s a first time for everything, right?|
|Carolina brings themselves back in the grouping of “teams that have more Ws than Ls” this week after a 32-30 win over their geographical rival Charleston. Which hey, that is nothing too scoff at, especially for a team that’s been known to struggle. Now their performance last week, sure, it left a little to be desired in some aspects like letting Xander Gold get sacked thrice but really, the Skyhawks outplayed and out muscled Charleston to victory and they reap the rewards for it by… still being in dead last in the Atlantic. Interesting, I mean don’t take that as me being mean, they’re only one game behind Florida in possibly the most chaotic division in the SFL so honestly, it’s nothing to worry about here. Heck, they’re even in the playoffs right now as the playoff picture slowly but surely starts to form. But if they want to keep pace, now is the time to build more of a cushion and climb up those rankings and even extend their winning streak to three. Their opponent for week six? The Swarm hungry to insert themselves in the hunt. It’ll be the game everyone will talk about, the birds and the bees.|
|Sometimes, I find myself forgetting that the Atlanta Swarm won a championship title back in Season 14. Don't get me wrong, I'm used to seeing Atlanta in the playoffs and I'm pretty sure my player has never won a game against them. They just seem to be playing in flashes at the minute. One minute, they look like an elite squad in this league - the next, giving up 17 points in the 4th quarter alone to lose a game 20-27. Bryant Dynasty isn't suffering a sophomore slump, but his interception numbers are too high; I'm sure if you asked Dynasty, he would agree. Jamal Wooding is still proving that he is a stud of the highest order and I must give credit to Leo Jefferson from defensive tackle, but there weren't enough good performances to deserve a win in this one. BDG Hollewood was held in check on the ground and will need to perform better in Week 6 to help the Swarm get to .500. C'mon Atlanta...you don't want to be the only team to prove Tyler Falk right this season.|
|Arizona is better than their record would have you believe. The combined W-L of their opponents is 16-9. They have lost a close game at Baltimore (21-27), against Denver (36-23), and against London (42-31) which has also made a case for themselves against some tough opponents. Their strong win against Las Vegas could be the beginning of getting the ball rolling, but this defense needs to consistently step up when it counts. In a pass-happy league, ranking 23rd in pass yards allowed is not helping your case. I can see them making a statement this year IF they can shore up the defense to get some more stops, the offense scoring just a couple more times per game by limiting the turnovers that have plagued some of their losses, and find more ways to bust the running game open (a not-so-great 75.6 ypg). The Scorpions are close to what they are looking for…They just need to find a few more plays on each side of the ball.|
|Personally, I had Houston to win this game. They were on a 2-game winning streak, including a great 34-27 win at the Las Vegas Fury, and something seemed to have clicked on the field that negated the rocky off-season. Was I surprised that they were put in a stranglehold by Fort Worth who never let go? No. Nothing against Houston, but it's just what the Toros do. They control the clock, force turnovers and punts and stifle any offensive production. Defensively, the Hyenas were more than a mtch for the Fort Worth offense, causing turnovers and limiting them to 16 points, including a shut out in the second half. But when you can only score 7 yourself, 16 looks like a big juicy number. The 2-3 Hyenas look to Week 6 after a bit of a controversial few days marking the return of Shann Varner to the SFL. The former Chicago owner is now the offensive co-ordinator in Houston. It will be interesting to see how this affects the Hyenas and time will tell whether it is a good move or not. Varner's first test couldn't be any tougher - a trip to the undefeated Denver Nightwings.|
|The loss against Baltimore put London on the map due to how they played against them. They had momentum coming into a home match against LSG. But they must have not gotten the memo that there was a game that day cause they just came out flat. Angus threw 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Seren Storm was a bright spot with 104yds and a TD. But this team has to figure out a run game. Merrill only had 5 yards rushing again. So look for them to get Merrill going even if it's in the passing game. Now they have STL next who is still undefeated. Could be looking at a 3 game losing streak if they cant turn it around.
|Well well well, the Tulsa Desperados had themselves a game against the Sioux Falls Sparrows this week. While rookie Desperado quarterback Jay Cue had no touchdowns and an interception against Sioux Falls, he was still efficient at moving the chains, with an 84% completion rate. It was the run game in Tulsa that won the day, however, as Sonzo Robinson and Kingjack Washington accounted for all of the Desperado's touchdowns for the day. The score would have been +10 had kicker Juda Dorgan hit all three of his tries, but a majority of 2/3 isn't bad. Cornerback Kamran Shaw was a threat to the Sparrows as well, notching 3 tackles and an interception himself. Tulsa sits at 2-3 for the season but comes into contact with another winless team for Week 6 in Washington D.C. Will the Desperados be able to break even, or will the Dragons finally overcome the freshman hump?|
|If you can’t protect the football, you won’t win a lot of games. Are the Fury completing a lot of passes? Are they gaining plenty of yards and scoring? Yes and yes. But over the 3 losses (in a row) that the Fury have taken, the offense has turned the ball over 16 times, 15 of those being interceptions, and 5 of those interceptions from this past game against an Arizona team that is ranked 15th in defense, but 23rd in pass yards allowed per game. Those aren’t the only telling numbers. How many times have they forced turnovers? 8. Being -8 in turnovers is not going to do it in a SFL season where touchdowns are plentiful. Let’s be clear: Las Vegas does NOT have an identity crisis. They know who they are: They sling the ball. But is it who they should be? This isn’t a story of an incredible start against good teams and a letdown due to the schedule getting significantly tougher. The combined W-L of their opponents is 8-10 (Including a Lycans team that is 4-1) over the past 3 weeks, and their first 2 opponents are a combined 3-7. In their 3 losses, they have attempted 121 passes and 43 runs (almost 3:1). In their 2 wins, they attempted 65 passes and 41 runs (almost 3:2). Is the key to more victories for the Fury a simple shift in ratio of pass/run? HB Scott Johnson has averaged 4.2 ypc on the season. In their 10 point loss to LA (currently ranked in the top 5 in the league in defense and offense), their toughest competition so far this season, LV threw 6 interceptions while Scott Johnson “quietly” gained 107 yards on only 15 carries for 7.1 ypc. I say get him the ball and they might be able to pick up some more Ws and spots on our board. Keep up the current scheme and I don’t see them moving up.|
|Just when that first win came, so did Denver. The Revs put up a solid fight against the top-ranked Nightwings, but came away empty with a 27-20 loss. Running back Reggie Streeter was running with heart all game- finishing with 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. The Revs leaned a steady running game to keep within striking distance of an upset. Tank Bennett was his usual tackling-machine-self with 15 stops and the defense contained Denver in spots. The Revs had opportunities in the fourth to tie the game. Alas, it was just not enough. The Revolution travel to Las Vegas this weekend. At 1-4, they enter near-must-win territory to make a run down the stretch at the playoffs.|
|The Fleet are celebrating a well-earned win over the San Diego Mavericks, whose first-season position the Fleet were in last season. Quarterback Matt South was a gunslinger, throwing balls all over the field to the tune of 3 touchdowns (all to receiver Jean Valentine!) and 2 interceptions. Running back Ezekiel Love was able to help get the chains moving against the Mavericks as well, while defensively, both Bob Funk and Gary Clem were able to pick off San Diego quarterback Javier Vasquez. Speaking of Clem, he too was unstoppable, as he racked up a game-high seven tackles against the opposition. Portland has an opportunity to reach .500 next week as they host the similarly-aligned Arizona Scorpions. If they can keep up the play from this week, it could be a wash for Arizona for Week 6; otherwise, it could sting pretty bad.|
|Watching this game, it surprised me that QCC actually outgained the Vultures in yardage, showing a nicely balanced attack with 300+ yards through the air and over a century on the ground. The same issue arose for the Corsairs though - they simply do not score enough points. You can't hope to win many games scoring just 13 points, especially when you're on the road in Baltimore. Interceptions plagued Caswell, who threw 3 picks, cancelling out all his great work in between those plays. Deezer Powell showed what he is capable of with over 150 yards and a TD and Jett Zero is a much better running back this season comparatively to S15. Digger Graves had a good game against the run from defensive end, but QCC were just beaten by a better team. The Corsairs have a few things to figure out. They had better do it quickly. LA are hiding behind the Week 6 horizon. Another tough test.|
|I feel really bad for writing about DC right here, this team is currently the definition of better than its record. But alas I’m not the only one who makes the rankings and well, they are 0-5. You can’t exactly bring them too high up from here. But hey, looking at this past week they came up against the undefeated St. Louis Gladiators, and actually damn near beat the team yet to have a loss on their season. Going down 16-14 after the 4 terms were played and honestly, they, beyond one rather notable blunder, well outplayed the Glads. With the running game more than doubling the boys from Gateway city and barely edging them out in the sky. The Dragons really did hold their own against one of the top teams in the league. Now the one thing that held them back? Turnovers, 4 of them, to be exact. Yeah DC had a game in their control but unfortunately Psynergy couldn’t help but to throw 4 picks. Honestly, they clean that up, and they will be winning games on the regular. Could actually get a start to that this week against Tulsa, I would like to see what they’ll do.|
|Ouch. From two-time championship contender to seeking their first win at the halfway mark of the season. This is not how Sioux Falls wanted things to go, but unfortunately, that's how the cookie's crumbled for them in Season 16. Their running game is getting back in form as Colin Hart was the only person to cross Hollywood Boulevard in the matchup against the Tulsa Desperados this past week, but Julian Tyree is still working out a few kinks as his completion percentage was barely over 50, with no touchdowns and an interception. With their receivers averaging almost 6.5 yards per catch, this has put a damper on the Sparrows goal to #WinItAll as they will likely have to run the tables to have a shot at the postseason. Their Week 6 matchup is no cakewalk either, against the Florida Storm - who just confidently beat common game foe Mexico City. Will the Sparrows shock the league and begin one of the biggest Cinderella stories we've seen in a while? Tune in to find out!|
|San Diego is experiencing the painful throes of its first year as they have yet to find a win against any team they've been matched up against, with this week's being the Portland Fleet. Quarterback Javier Vasquez was able to get off a touchdown to receiver Connor Weston in the fourth quarter to bring their score into the double-digits, but he also turned the ball over twice and gave up five sacks. Mike Ryan and Ron Hoff were each able to get their own interception off of the Fleet's Matt South, and Fleet kicker Nico Cappucino was perfect in his 3-for-3 field goal attempts, but these are small consolations for an 0-5 record to start their inaugural season with. Much like their compatriots in D.C. and Sioux Falls, their making the postseason is at this point a long shot, but stranger things have happened. San Diego will refuel in the hopes to take flight against the Fort Worth Toros in Texas for Week 6.|