(Photo: Patrick Breen/azcentral sports)
It only took two games for the Las Vegas Outlaws to record their very first win as a franchise. What made that win so improbable was that it came against the back to back to back defending champions, the Arizona Rattlers. Gerald Young was the hero in that game, returning two missed field goals for touchdowns as the Outlaws won 70-53.
Saturday night would be the Rattlers first chance to redeem one of their 2 losses (the other coming against the 8-0 Sabercats) as the Outlaws traveled south to Arizona.
The Outlaws haven’t had much luck converting on 4th down situations lately. The same was true in their first two possessions of Saturday’s game as Vegas went 4 & out twice, setting Arizona up with great field position. Arizona took advantage on both possessions with touchdowns. A reviewed PAT after the first score, and a blocked PAT after the second score had the Rattlers ahead 13-0 heading into the second quarter.
JJ Raterink (16/31 211 yds, 4 TD’s, 2 int’s) finally got the offense going in the second quarter. After missing on several deep passes early on, Raterink was able to find a wide open Jomo Wilson (10/132 3 TD’s) for a 45 yard score. The play came on a 3rd & 24, and the Outlaws backed up on their own 5.
The two teams traded touchdowns on their next five possessions. The final score of the half came on a 6 yard run by Mykel Benson, and only 22 seconds remaining. The Outlaws were unable to score in the final seconds giving the Rattlers a two for one situation, as they would receive the second half kick.
Making a comeback is hard to do in any league. Making a comeback when your defense hasn’t gotten a single stop in 6 quarters is almost impossible. That’s exactly where the Outlaws found themselves in the second half. Just one play into the half, the Rattlers were in the endzone again stretching their lead to 40-21.
The only times the Outlaws were able to get a “stop” were when they committed penalties. Vegas was tagged for 16 penalties totaling 80 yards. 7 of those penalties gave the Rattlers automatic 1st downs.
Going back to last weeks game in San Jose, the Outlaws have two defensive stops. Both stops came late in the 4th quarter. Neither stop affected the outcome, as both games were blowouts at that point. Las Vegas might be better served going for the onside kick after every one of their scores. If the defense can’t stop anyone, may as well give yourself a shot at a lucky bounce.
Backup QB, Sean Brackett closed the scoring with a QB draw from the 9 yard line. The Rattlers improved to 6-2 with a convincing 60-41 win over the Outlaws.
For the first time since they were 0-1, the Outlaws have a losing record at 3-4. Las Vegas has a great shot at getting back to .500 next Saturday as they welcome the Spokane Shock (2-5) to the Thomas & Mack. The Shock have plenty of their own problems stopping opponents. They are coming off of an 83-28 home beat down at the hands of the undefeated Sabercats. The Outlaws have shown to be a tough out in the T&M in their three (2-1) home games thus far. Look for them to be pumped up to play in front of the home crowd for the first time in three weeks.
In Las Vegas’ 1st two possessions, they didn’t make it beyond their own 12 yard line, with both possessions being turned over on downs, giving Arizona short field to work with.Rattlers’ starting QB B.J Coleman (20/34 for 212 yards and resulting in 7 touchdowns and 1 interception) passed the ball to WR Rod Windsor (8 catches for 91 yards in which 3 resulted in touchdowns) both times for touch downs. Fabrizio Scaccia had his PAT blocked after the 2nd Windsor Touchdown (and eventually had 2 PATs blocked and 1 PAT was missed). Las Vegas’ starter J.J Raterink (16/31 for 211 yards and resulting in 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions) found WR Jomo Wilson (10 catches for 132 yards resulting in 3 touchdowns) in the end zone to start the 2nd Quarter. Coach Guy said about the 1st Quarter, “We wanted to come out and set the tempo. We had a pretty good feel for them game plan wise. We played real aggressive man on pretty much the whole game and we knew we would give up big plays here or there, but we wanted our pass rush to be a factorand we wanted to take away the little/short stuff.”
The 2nd Quarter became a shootout with Coleman finding WR Markee White (7 catches for 84 yards with 3 becoming touchdowns) for a touch down, and FB Mykel Benson (13 carries for 26 yards resulting in 2 touchdowns) rushed for his two touchdowns. Las Vegas started playing catch up with Raterink throwing the ball to WR Jason Willis (4 catches for 53 yards with 1 touchdown) for a touchdown and also finding Jomo for his 2nd touchdown of the game. Las Vegas was driving down the field and time ran out on the 1st half.
The 3rd Quarter had Las Vegas slip even further away with J.J finding Jomo in the endzone for the only Outlaw touchdown of the quarter. Coleman passed to White for his 2nd and 3rd touchdown of the game. DB Jeremy Kellem (5 tackles and two interceptions) jumped the route and intercepted J.J’s pass.
Arizona made Las Vegas pay for the late 3rd Quarter turnover in the 4th Quarter with Coleman passing the ball to Windsor for his 3rd touchdown. With Vegas having a 4th and 16, J.J threw a mistimed ball and Kellem was the recipient of his 2nd interception. Jeremy Kellem said about his interception, “Las Vegas runs a Post/Corner offense and the quarterback doesn’t know what route the receiver is going to run, and it gives me a little more time to make up. The receiver actually broke before I broke on the route and the quarterback was a little bit late.” Coleman ended up throwing a pick six to Tanner Varner (6 tackles and 1 interception). Upon Arizona’s next possession, Coleman found Darrin Moore (2 catches for 10 yards with 1 becoming a touchdown) in the endzone. In the last minute, Las Vegas put in Sean Brackett ( 1/1 for 11 yards and 2 rushes for 7 yards and 1 touchdown) and he found a hold to rush into for paydirt. B.J Coleman said of the team effort, “It was a great job tonight on both sides of the ball. I think you’re starting to see a lot of young guys grow up. We got great veteran leadership.”