The competition this week left a lot to be desired. Many of the match-ups ended up being one-sided, and aside from a surprise start from Cleveland, it was easy to see the difference in power between teams. This is a common complaint, but such is the state of the AFL.
Orlando at Cleveland
- Did not watch.
This was quite the game for the first three quarters. Cleveland and Orlando going back and forth with scores, with lead changes aplenty. However, the MVP of this game is Brandon Thompkins, receiver for the Predators, who accounted for seven touchdowns in the game. Five receiving, one rushing, and one return touchdown. With production like that, it’s not hard to imagine the Predators are 5-0.
Cleveland, as is tradition, it seems, in Cleveland, did well enough to keep up for so long before sputtering by game’s end. They just can’t seem to finish a game, no matter who’s starting for them at quarterback. Speaking of which, five weeks in and they’ve had three different quarterbacks start for them already. This week, it was Arvell Nelson, who did a decent enough job aside from two interceptions.
The defenses didn’t seem to make themselves known this game. With an overall total of 132 points and just two interceptions by Orlando, there wasn’t a single sack in the game and just one turnover through fumble. There’s not much here aside from Orlando being a good team and Cleveland being a potentially good team under construction.
Portland at Arizona
Remember the first game between these two a couple weeks ago? How the Rattlers destroyed them 28-80? The Steel had Danny Southwick starting for them at quarterback that game. This time, they had Kasey Peters.
It didn’t make much of a difference, as they again got thrashed 21-68.
Jacksonville at Tampa Bay
- Did not watch.
Tampa Bay has quite the streak going. After a bye week last week, they welcome the Sharks and still aren’t able to muster up at least 30 points in a game. That’s four weeks in a row, perfectly encapsulating the offensive insignificance the Storm possess. Jacksonville, on the other hand, didn’t fare much better. They won the game, but only put up 33 points in the process. Whether this was due to a strong Tampa Bay defense or a lackluster performance by the Sharks’ loaded offense, I don’t know, but that’s the way it played out.
I’ll say this, though: the Storm are just so pitiful right now. I’ve been watching the AFL for four years now and I’ve never seen a team so incapable of scoring as the 2016 Tampa Bay Storm. I may be able to find a team similar looking through the history books, but I’ve never seen something so noticeable. I suppose it’s the small number of teams this year that makes them stand out, but it’s really quite something nonetheless.
C’mon, Jacksonville. You’re better than this. Scoring only 33 points against Tampa Bay? You have so much offensive talent it’s almost unfair, but it seems they share the same water as the team up in Cleveland, because they can’t seem to use the vast amounts of good players on their roster. They tend to struggle on special teams, which may have something to do with it.
Philadelphia at Los Angeles
Ever since their Week Two loss against Jacksonville, the Philadelphia Soul have emerged the team everyone expected them to be. Dan Raudabaugh has thrown 22 touchdowns and one pick in the last three weeks. They’ve gone 3-0, and they’ve done it with ease. However, it may have to do with the competition they’ve had in that span: Portland, Cleveland, and now Los Angeles. None of these teams are exactly Arizona.
Something else I noticed while watching this game is that the KISS’s offense is a bit mechanical. By that, I mean they take their time going down the field, not much for going with the flashy trick plays or bombs down the field. If they do, it’s likely because a player was wide open. This, in turn, ended up costing them greatly in the later portions of the game, as they had little time to catch up with the Soul’s offense, which seemed to score with ease every time it came out. For as flashy as their uniforms are, the KISS aren’t exactly fire-starters offensively.
Nathan Stanley, after the results of this week, has thrown nine interceptions in five games, and isn’t even completing 60% of his passes. Those are not numbers you want to see out of the starting quarterback of your franchise. It’s almost amazing to me that they’re even 2-3 right now, but regardless of Stanley’s Jekyll and Hyde performances, the KISS are an alright team when need be. They just aren’t a good team, like the team that handed them a 56-33 loss in Week Five.