Impressions from Week Four of the 2016 AFL Season

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I’ll be frank: I voluntarily chose not to watch anything AFL-related this week. I just wasn’t up for it this week, as I had a lot of things in my real life to prepare for, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to miss one game. The only televised game available to me was Philadelphia against Cleveland. Clearly Philadelphia would crush them, right?

As it turns out, this was the best week of games thus far this season. How ironic that when the two worst teams in Portland and Tampa Bay both have a bye week that the level of competition between teams during games suddenly becomes a lot more even and interesting. I was constantly checking Twitter to see the outcomes to these games, because for one, I had already opted out of watching the first game and by the time I realized the game was actually good, it was halfway through the fourth quarter, and the two other matches came down to the wire. I didn’t know who would win! This is what I watch the sport for! And the week that I choose not to partake in it is the week that it suddenly becomes magical again! Such is life.

CLE @ PHI (AFL)

Cleveland at Philadelphia

  • (Voluntarily) Did not watch.

The game I decided to miss turned out to be an unexpectedly competitive one. At one point, Cleveland was up 28-13 over Philadelphia, which is amazing considering Cleveland is one of the lesser teams in the league. At that point, it seemed the scripts had flipped, but alas, Cleveland couldn’t hold their breath, as Philadelphia started bombing their way ahead by the fourth quarter.

Dan Raudabaugh’s stats by the end of this game: 26 of 31 for 315 yards, eight touchdowns, and one interception. That’s the performance one should expect from an MVP quarterback.

Dennis Havrilla, and later Arvell Nelson’s combined stats by the end of this game: 13 of 30 for 196 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions. It’s amazing Cleveland put up as much of a fight as they did with those kinds of numbers. I think that seems to be the running theme for Cleveland: they have the potential to be good, they just can’t seem to find it within themselves. After all, just two years ago they were in the ArenaBowl… getting slaughtered by Arizona, but nonetheless!

ARI @ JAX (AFL)

Arizona at Jacksonville

  • Did not watch.

What a nail-biter this game was!

This is the sport that I love to watch! Two good teams going at it! Score after score after score! Big numbers! Back and forth lead changes! Offensive powerhouses! Defensive turnovers! Man, I really wish I watched this game!

Nick Davila threw eight touchdowns. Tommy Grady threw eight touchdowns. Arizona had three rushing touchdowns; Jacksonville had two. The game went into Overtime. The game had drama. The game had feelings! Gah! This game!

A great performance by Jacksonville for almost beating the best team in the league. If not for some miscues by both teams, I’m not sure the game would’ve been as exciting as it was. However, this has become a running theme for the Sharks: they have all the talent, all the potential to be on-par with the Rattlers, but they struggle in the clutch and have a tendency to implode in the worst moments. This was a small example in a large sample of times this has happened. But damn was this implosion fun.

LA @ ORL

Los Angeles at Orlando

  • Did not watch.

Nathan Stanley is turning into a turnover machine. Through four games, he’s thrown seven interceptions. That’s tops in the league.

Randy Hippeard, on the other hand, has thrown three, which may factor in to why the Predators are 4-0 this season. Although, the Predators are a curious case. Much like the Sharks have a tendency to stutter in the clutch, the Predators bask in it, which is lucky because they always seem to be in it. The Predators rarely put a game out of reach. It’s not uncommon to have them win a game by one score or less, much like this game, which they won 43-40. 4-0 is 4-0, but it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of where they’re at talent-wise. I guess they’ll have to face the Rattlers to test that.

The KISS had a lot of potential coming into this season, but it seems they can only bully the weakling teams in the league. Perhaps if Stanley would stop throwing so many picks and stop taking so many sacks, the KISS would be better off, but for right now, they’re a talented team that don’t know how to handle themselves. Kind of like Jacksonville.

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