Tuesday, 23 April 2013

AFL Week 5 Review

It was a big weekend for football all over Europe, and the AFL was no exception providing three good games. Here's DC's week 5 review.

JCL Graz Giants 23 - Prague Black Panthers 7

The Giants ran out deserved winners this weekend against the Black Panthers.

Despite my predicted scoreline being a little over inflated, my thoughts on the general flow of the game proved to have some credence as the Giants really put the screws on the Black Panthers with a fairly commanding performance, clearly having learnt from the previous week's encounter.

Once again Alex Good dominated the stat sheet with a combined 254 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the real kudos has to be given to the Giants defence who snagged a total of 4 interceptions, time and again extinguishing the hopes of Andrew Shoop and the Black Panthers offence as they drove down the field.

The first quarter unfolded as I expected with the Giants putting points on the board on each of their first two drives before the Black Panthers answered with an 8 play 76 yard drive that ended in Shoop running the ball in from 6 yards out. The quarter then ended with a Graz field goal and a promising 16-7 lead in favour of the away side. From there however the game ground into somewhat of a stalemate as turnovers killed both of the team's long second quarter drives and the score remained the same.

The second half opened with the Giants methodically working their way down the field and putting another 7 points up on the board with the help of a 2 yard rumble from Alex Gross, which appeared to blow the game wide open. Despite the exciting opening to the half, that was to be the last score of the day as both team's defence's took control and shut the game down to allow the Giants to run out 23-7 winners and see them elevate their record to 2-1.

Once again, Good was just too good!

The Black Panthers now drop to 0-3 on the year, which whilst not as bad as it looks considering they've faced the league's toughest schedule so far, it shows them that it's not all about who's calling the shots from quarterback, and if they want to pick up wins in this league then they'll need to develop a reliable running game.

To add insult to injury the Black Panthers also lost their main sponsor as well as head coach and influential football figure Tom Smythe this Monday, who left his post to take up the head coaching job for the Zagreb Thunder. More information HERE.

Player of the Game: C. Promitzer, Defensive Back #43. Two key interceptions on the day with 37 return yards was the pick of the Giant's defensive performance.

Prediction: Called the winner but not quite as many points put on the scoreboard as I thought.

Swarco Raiders 42 - AFC Rangers 17

The best remedy after being given a good beating the previous week is to be handing out the beating the next week, and that's precisely what the Raiders did to the Rangers on Saturday.

The game started off quite close and was tightly contested up until half time when the Raiders lead by a slender 4 point margin at 21 - 17 following a very encouraging and un-Ranger like performance in the first half, which saw them lead briefly 17 - 14 following a fumble recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.

Maynard once again had to try and put the team on his back.
© Florian Schellhorn from www.footballpics.info

The story at the end of the game however was more about what the Rangers couldn't do instead of what the could. Their strong first half performance was on the back of a good ground game which ate up a good chunk of yards through both Maynard and Boder. However, this week, the biggest problem was the passing game as the Raiders tightened up the loose screws from last week's shambles in the secondary and came away having only allowed 51 total passing yards.

The second half was all one way traffic as Callahan directed three unanswered scoring drives to take the final score to 42 - 17 and leave the Raiders at least satisfied with their performance and with that all important win.

Game highlights here.

Callahan let his arm do the talking this week with 4 touchdowns.
© Florian Schellhorn from www.footballpics.info
Player of the Game: Kyle Callahan, Quarterback #6. 15 completions on 18 attempts and 4 touchdowns is the kind of performance the Raiders need out of him every week.

Prediction: Correct and my score wasn't too far off, but my writings on the style and ease of the victory were off the mark as the Rangers put up a great fight in the first half.

Raiffeisen Vikings 27 - Danube Dragons 12

The best game of the weekend had the stage all to itself on the Sunday and definitely didn't disappoint, even if it wasn't quite as wide open as I had predicted. The first quarter was really a comedy of errors as on three consecutive plays the teams fumbled the ball away to each other and when the Dragons offence and Jonathan Dally finally got their mitts back on the ball they promptly threw an interception in the end zone.

The breakthrough finally came when Vikings running back Jesse Lewis almost single handedly marched the ball down the field accumulating a total of 54 yards in the Vikings 75 yard scoring drive which Lewis capped off with a 26 yard run after following some excellent blocks.

The Vikings defence mostly held the dangerous Ogun in check this weekend.
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

Lewis was once again the catalyst for the Vikings second score which came in the second quarter as he took the ball 31 yards on a nice cutback all the way down to the Dragons 3 yard line before watching Amadu finish the drive off with a power dive.

After the half the Dragons started to show what they were capable of on offence by putting together a 15 play, 80 yard drive that saw quarterback Dally take the ball in on the keeper to pull the score back to 13-6. The Vikings however were unfazed as they immediately came back with another scoring drive of their own which once again finished with Amadu taking the ball in from short.

Following a drive marred by penalties and miscues, the Dragons turned the ball over on downs to Christopher Gross and the Vikings offence who immediately put the game to bed when Pongratz found himself with enough time in the front corner of the end zone to haul in a 36 yard pass from Gross and take the score to 27-6.

The Dragons did manage to score on their last drive through fullback Ludwig but in the end the Vikings margin of victory was quite comfortable and sees them stand alone at the top of the league with a 3-0 record.

Game highlights here.

Jesse Lewis apparently had a score to settle with #15 on the day, here he is setting the record straight.
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

Player of the Game: Jesse Lewis, Running Back #28. Made some game breaking runs that enabled his team to score at key moments in the game. A hard fought and well deserved 143 yards and touchdown.

Prediction: Got the winner right but the defences played a lot better than I originally thought they would. In fairness I expected the Dragons to score more points but unfortunately some miscues close to the end zone really hurt their chances.

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