Raterink Rusty In Return As Sabercats Rout Outlaws
That was injured Las Vegas Outlaws QB Sean Brackett’s response when asked how he was doing. In the 1st quarter of last weeks win over Spokane, Brackett suffered a stress fracture and strained ligaments in his foot and is now rolling around with his leg on a “scooter.” Brackett had replaced JJ Raterink as the starter in week ten after Raterink broke a finger on his throwing hand in week nine, ironically against these same Spokane Shock.
Raterink was looking to build on both the rhythm the offense had gained with Brackett at QB, as well as the teams first win in 5 games. Not only did he fail to build, he may have set the offense back a few weeks after his performance Sunday afternoon. The Sabercats almost pitched a shutout in the second half on their way to a 63-31 rout of Vegas.
After a coin toss that harkened memories of Thanksgiving Day, 1998 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVOLbysZAoY) the Outlaws received the opening kick and Raterink began his shaky return to action. JJ was sacked on 1st & goal and fumbled the ball setting up San Jose at midfield. Fortunately for Vegas, the Sabercats were flagged for illegal defense and the Outlaws were given new life. This time on 1st & goal, Raterink had his pass tipped in the air, but luck again fell to the home team as OL Will Wright caught the pass and rumbled in for the games first score. That touchdown “pass” would be the end of the highlight real for Raterink (14-29, 149 yds, 1 TD, 3 int’s) on Sunday.
The Sabercats followed the Outlaws TD with a 10 yard Eric Meyer (20/28, 216 yds, 2 TD’s) touchdown pass. but the one man highlight Gerald Young did what he’s done 8 other times this season and took the SJ kick all the way back for the TD. San Jose wasted little time pulling back to even. Odie Armstrong (4 carries, 12 yds, 3 TD’s) got his first of three TD’s with a 2 yard plunge.
San Jose quickly found themselves back on offense after Raterink airmailed a backwards pass over his intended targets’ head. The Sabercats jumped on the live ball (the Outlaws didn’t look like they were aware it was live) and took their first lead after another Meyer TD pass. Raterink threw his second interception on the ensuing drive, and it looked like the game would be out of hand before halftime. With just :14 left in the 1st, Outlaws DE Mike Lewis sacked Meyer and forced a fumble. After a quick pass and 6 yard gain, Ernesto Lacayo drilled a 35 yard FG making it 21-17 and giving Vegas some momentum heading to the locker room.
Ah….the 3rd quarter. A house of horrors for the Outlaws this season. The quarter where leads disappear and deficits become insurmountable. Sunday was more of the same. San Jose took the opening possession right down the field finishing with a Meyer 1 yard TD run. A quick Vegas turnover and another TD run for the Sabercats set the tone for what the second half would be. San Jose outscored Vegas 21-0 in the 3rd. What was a 4 point entertaining game was now a laugher heading to the 4th, with San Jose leading 42-17.
Raterink’s final pass came with just under 10:00 remaining in the 4th. Sabercats DB Fred Obi jumped the pass and returned it 20 yards for the TD. Raterink was replaced by newly acquired backup QB, Dennis Havrilla. Hevrilla only attempted 3 passes, completing 2 of them, but did show his ability to run the ball with 40 yards and a TD on just 4 carries. The TD came with under 5:00 to play, and it was the first score for the Outlaws in the second half. A Half completely dominated by the best team in the league.
San Jose improves their record to an AFL best 12-1 while Las Vegas falls to 4-8. The Outlaws will face the 3-9 Portland Thunder at the Thomas & Mack next week. It’ll be the first back to back home games for the Outlaws since weeks 1 & 2. Portland is only one game back of Vegas in the standings and will be in desperate need of a win. San Jose will travel to Spokane to face the 4-8 Shock who are now in a tie with Vegas for the 4th playoff spot.