Duane Brooks runs back a kickoff for a touchdown against the Los Angeles KISS at the Moda Center.

Thunder Rain All Over KISS, 63-47

The Portland Thunder annihilated the Los Angeles KISS on Saturday night, 63-47, behind a great performance from Darron Thomas. Of course, last week, Shock QB Warren Smith lit up the KISS, only to be on the receiving end of an 83-28 beatdown to San Jose this week, so we’ll have to wait another week to actually evaluate Thomas.

Since the game wasn’t memorable despite two kick returns for touchdowns and a bar ball recovery, and all I could think of were ways to discuss the KISS’ performances this season, here are my in-game and post-game thoughts.

  • The KISS are the team you’d schedule for homecoming.
  • Games with the KISS involved are as competitive as that Romney/Holyfield boxing match would’ve been if it had been a real fight.
  • The KISS offense makes opposing defenses look like the Russian army in the winter – no matter who’s leading them, they’re not getting through.
  • The KISS defense makes any opposing QB look like they’re stealing defensive signals.

Jared Perry prepares to haul in an early touchdown reception against the LA KISS.
There isn’t even a joke to go with this photo. There weren’t any KISS defensive backs in the entire end zone. I had to whip my camera toward Perry at the last second and barely got him in the frame. Note: This was a 16-yard TD, so it’s not like it was a bomb and the DB tripped.
  • The KISS offensive line is basically Gibbs, the Secret Service mole in the movie Air Force One, letting opponents go by to kill every quarterback they have like it’s their job.
  • By the end of the season it’s going to look like the Battle of the Little Bighorn – just a team going against superior competition every week and getting crushed. At least the death at the end will probably only be in the figurative sense.
  • The KISS special teams are the on-field equivalent of Barney Fife – completely inept; cause more problems than they cure…but they’re pretty funny to watch sometimes.

[EDIT: Portland Tribune columnist Kerry Eggers came up with a couple good ones in his column, too.]

That said, there’s good news to be had for both teams. The Thunder looked appropriately like world-beaters against the mild competition Los Angeles is bringing these days.

Darron Thomas winds up to throw a pass from his nice, clean pocket against the LA KISS.

The Thunder go from playing the worst team in the league at forcing turnovers (L.A.) to the third-worst team in the league at doing so in Orlando. They’ve also gone from having the worst kicking situation in the AFL to possibly the best, as kicker Kevin Goessling is perfect on PATs for the season, hitting on all 14 of his attempts (and keeps hitting the nets on kickoffs). Things are looking up in Portland, especially if they can continue to get performances like last night’s from Darron Thomas. Having Thomas continue to perform well would also help the Thunder attract fans, as Thomas consistently brings Ducks fans in the door.

The KISS…well, the bright side is that they’re no longer getting worse. Danny Southwick’s performance was, by passer rating, the best performance by a Los Angeles quarterback this season. They had a kickoff return for a touchdown, the lone moment of competence exhibited by their special teams in games I’ve seen this year. They only lost one kickoff return due to not being able to get it off the nets, an improvement over the two they gave away last week. They even got an interception, which tied their team record for most forced turnovers in a game this season.

The KISS have a bye, followed by six of their next seven games at home (and seven consecutive games in California with two byes sprinkled in). Maybe that will help them get on track for the second half of the season.

Oh yeah, that reminds me: This is the track the KISS train is on as they head into their bye week.

Who made it to the DeLorean to continue with the team after the bye week? We’ll see in a couple of weeks.

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