Tag Archives: Spokane Shock

AFL Power Rankings, Week 17

Hey, only one week to go in the season, assuming the league doesn’t change the rules again this week! Arizona annihilated the Gladiators, launching them beyond the Soul into the top spot as they wrapped up their regular season.

Tampa Bay’s victory over the Steel also vaulted them into a tie for last place with one game left for each squad. No worries for either team, as each will have its season ended in the first round of the playoffs.

Here’s this week’s Power Rankings:

  1. Arizona (1.17)
  2. Philadelphia (1.15)
  3. Orlando (1.07)
  4. Jacksonville (1.06)
  5. LA (1.05)
  6. Cleveland (0.92)
  7. Tampa Bay (0.80)
  8. Portland (0.80)

Continue reading AFL Power Rankings, Week 17

Advertisements

Game Photos: Shock 69, Thunder 54

The Shock came in and got off to a big head start with some great bar-ball bounces and defensive plays and put the Thunder in an early 28-point hole, but Portland fought back before the Shock ended the comeback bid late in the game.

This’ll be my final Thunder game in person; thanks to everyone that supported me and reads this blog. From here on out the focus will shift toward general AFL coverage and personal blogging covering my relocation to the Dallas-Fort Worth area (Irving, specifically). I’ll throw in some stuff I worked on with the Thunder but never got to use, too, on occasion.

For the rest of the photos in this photo set, visit my Flickr album.

Jake McDonough battles Bryson Kelly of the Shock on the lines.

Game Preview: Portland Thunder (3-8) vs. Spokane Shock (3-8)

Let’s just call this one #TheStruggle. The Thunder enter the game coming off a four-game losing streak. The Shock have a three-game losing streak of their own. The teams struggled to score in their opening matchup, with Portland securing a four-point win, 47-43.

Game Day Breakdown: The Thunder have advantages in: Offensive turnovers, Defensive Yardage, Points Allowed. The Shock have advantages in: Offensive Yards, Points, and Success Rate; Defensive Success Rate and Turnovers Forced. Watch for Jared Perry, who went for 150 yards and 4 TDs last week.

In that game, Bryce Peila came up with an interception return for a touchdown and a fumble return for a touchdown helping overcome a 29-20 Shock lead at halftime.

Of course, in that game, Mike Washington led the Shock and Jamar Howard led the Thunder in receiving yards. Neither is expected to play. Former Thunder quarterback Danny Southwick is now a former Shock QB as well; he’s landed in Los Angeles and has helped them as they mount a turnaround on their season. Kyle Rowley may be backing up recent acquisition Alex Carder at quarterback for the Thunder.

With a previous matchup that went down to the wire and several differences in lineups since then, combined with mounting losses on the field, both personnel and record-wise, it’s tough to determine who has the advantage this week.

One thing’s for certain: After the recent wins by Los Angeles and Las Vegas, these two teams enter needing a win in order to feel comfortable heading into the final third of the season. Both teams trail the Outlaws by a game and both are ahead of the previously left-for-dead KISS by just a game.

And Duane Brooks will be exciting in the return game. He’s either one or two kick return touchdowns away from an AFL record for return touchdowns in a season. He’s also returned two for touchdowns in each of the past three games (unfortunately, one may count as a fumble recovery because he fumbled (and recovered) right before the line and another was called back on a phantom hold), so it’s not crazy to expect a couple on Sunday.

I said in my picks over on ArenaFan that Spokane would get even for the last game, and that the difference between this week and the last one is that Shox the Fox won’t interfere with their receivers. I won’t be that guy who picks both sides of a game, so I’m picking Spokane to win another tight game, 46-43.

Game Preview: Portland Thunder (3-7) vs. Arizona Rattlers (8-2)

The Arizona Rattlers come into the Rose City this Friday pushing to stay within striking distance of the undefeated San Jose SaberCats for the top seed in the conference.

The Thunder, meanwhile, will try to hold on to their playoff position. Their 3-7 record ties them with the Spokane Shock and Las Vegas Outlaws for third in the conference, and a superior conference record (and head-to-head win) gives them an advantage over the Shock. The Shock and Outlaws play each other this week, so they’ll lose at least one spot if they lose.

Duane Brooks leads the Thunder into battle against the Arizona Rattlers this Friday. The Rattlers are better in all four offensive and defensive categories than the Thunder. Can special teams make up the difference?

Portland is looking to rebound from a loss to the previously winless KISS. Special teams continues to be a strong point for the Thunder, with Duane Brooks returning two kickoffs for touchdowns and jumping into a tie for 10th in AFL history with six return touchdowns in a season. He still has eight games to go, putting Hunkie Cooper’s record of eight kick return touchdowns in 2002 in jeopardy.

The Rattlers have given up a return for a touchdown this season, and Brooks himself managed a 34-yard return against them in the first matchup, so he has a chance to move closer to history.

To be successful, however, the Thunder need to try to prevent Brooks from having so many opportunities to return kicks – the defense needs to make some stops. After last week’s game against the KISS, the Thunder defense is dangerously close to becoming last in the league in defensive stop rate.

The bad news on that front is that Arizona quarterback Nick Davila has returned to the lineup. The Rattlers got along pretty well without him, winning everywhere but San Jose, but his return elevates them back up to elite status as an offense. Last week, he posted 275 yards on 60 percent completions and threw nine touchdown passes without turning the ball over against what had been the league’s third-best defense (they’re now fourth).

The main question most fans have is whether or not Alex Carder will get any action at the quarterback position. After intriguing fans with some deep strikes against San Jose, many (including me) thought Carder would get the nod against the KISS last week. Does the fact that the team is likely to lose this week change the thinking process? Let the younger player start since the team is unlikely to win anyway, and let him try to shock the league?

Whether it’s Carder or Rowley under center, I have to take the Rattlers in this one. They’re just too strong a team – they’re three-time defending champions for a reason. Rattlers 71, Thunder 42.

Arena Football League Midterm Grades

All 12 Arena Football League teams have made it through the midpoint of their season, so it’s an ideal time to hand out mid-term grades.

I took the offensive and defensive success rates, added them up, then let the SaberCats set the curve, giving them an overall 100 percent grade. Everyone else gets their grades adjusted based on that 100-point scale.

The National Conference’s average grade was a 73.6; the American Conference tops that with an average grade of 75.3. However, the National Conference has a huge disparity, with both the two top teams and four of the five bottom teams. The American Conference is the AFL’s middle class, with four of their six teams earning Cs halfway through the year.

San Jose SaberCats A+ 100

They have the best offense and defense in the league, they’re 10-0, and they still have potential to do more. When they look sloppy and bad, they win by 20. What happens when they play well?

Arizona Rattlers B+ 88.3

Yup, the Sabercats are wrecking the league so badly that no one else scores in the A range. Arizona’s offense has had some hiccups while working through missing their receivers early in the season and then their quarterback problems with Davila’s injury and Coleman’s leaving the team. The Defense has been really good; San Jose’s defense has just been ridiculous. If this team gets healthy, they are definitely still a threat to the SaberCats. Continue reading Arena Football League Midterm Grades

You Can’t Go Home Again (Especially Wearing the Road Team’s Uniform)

Former Thunder QB Danny Southwick was the starter for the Spokane Shock as they visited Portland on April 9. Did his time in training camp help him or the Thunder? Were there any conflicts of interest among his former teammates? Why was he still in Portland throughout the weekend? Find all the answers in my newest article on ArenaFan.

Photos: Portland Thunder 47, Spokane Shock 43

Choosing your team for the 2015 AFL season

Great! You chose to be an Arena Football fan based on my last blog post. Now, what team should you root for? Check out my newest flow chart over at ArenaFan (here’s a small portion of it below).

Part of the "Pick your 2015 AFL Team" flowchart over at ArenaFan