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Pappy Knuckles's Blog
Carolina Legends Humble Norsemen 31-21 
Posted on December 31, 2008 at 04:07 AM.

Coach Pappy Knuckles had very few positive words for his team following their recent loss to the Los Angeles Trojans. He made it known that jobs would be on the line if improvements were not made quickly. The Carolina Legends responded by defeating the Minneapolis Norseman 31-21 on the road. With the win, Carolina improves to 2-1.

The Norseman offense looked sharp in the first quarter. On their opening drive, Neil O'Donnell carved up the defense and connected with Raymond Berry on a 12 yard touchdown pass. The Legends responded immediately when Gale Sayers returned the kickoff and tied the game. "Gale's TD was a huge confidence builder," said coach Knuckles, "We started off pretty sluggish, but we really picked it up after that."

Gale Sayers scored 2 rushing TD's and took a kickoff to the house.

In the second quarter the momentum began to shift towards Carolina. Following a Terry McDaniel interception and a short drive, Gale Sayers ran it in from 1 yard out. They scored again on a Earnest Gregory reception with only a few seconds remaining. At halftime they found themselves with a 21-14 lead, and the Norsemen were never able to get back in the game.

Despite finishing with 3 touchdowns and 273 yards, Neil O'Donnell threw 5 interceptions (to five different defenders) and got sacked 3 times. The Legends constant pressure seemed to keep the Norsemen from maintaining their offensive rhythm. Ronnie Lott was responsible for one of the interceptions. However, it was a deflection and ball-jarring hit that proved just as impressive. Each of those plays ended Norseman drives on third down. Jack Youngblood added two sacks and found himself involved in many plays. Carolina's defense has been key in both of their wins.

The Legends still haven't seem to have found their offensive identity. Although Gale Sayers had his first 100 yard game of the season, Jim Harbaugh only completed 5 of 14 passes for 89 yards. In a division with so many offensive teams, coach Pappy Knuckles will have to figure out ways to get points on the board.

Reporter: Congratulations on the win. What was your strategy against the Norsemen?

Pappy: O'Donnell likes to chuck the ball a lot, so it was all about pressure and giving him different looks. I knew we'd get some turnovers, but anytime you get five interceptions it's a good day.

Reporter: Last week you threatened to bench Gale Sayers. How close were you to doing that for this game?

Pappy: He wasn't in any danger this game, but this was his last chance to prove himself. He finished with 3 touchdowns, so it's obvious that he's taking this seriously. We spent a lot of time in practice working on new run schemes. The practice seems to have paid off; Gale played well.

I don't care how much money you make or how gold your star is. If you don't produce, you ride the bench. Ross Poli-Dixon is going to learn that the hard way. He had another key drop today, so Jimmy Gibbs will be taking his spot. I suggest Poli-Dixon start putting in applications at Food Lion because there's no work for him here.

Reporter: Jim Harbaugh had another subpar game? What's going on with him?

Pappy: For the season he has only completed 18 of his 54 passes. With those type of numbers we're lucky to be winning. His timing is off, and when he does have an open man they either drop it or it's overthrown. Harbaugh will be getting more snaps in practice this week.

Reporter: Dexter Manley was recently fined for his inappropriate comments. Do you have anything to say regarding that?

Pappy: No. We'll worry about the Trojans when we play them again.

Reporter: You didn't get your second win until halfway into last season. What do you credit for the turnaround?

Pappy: Getting rid of the bums helped a lot, but we're only 3 games into the season. It's nice to be doing better, but there's a lot of football to be played. As always, we're taking it one game at a time and trying to improve each week.
# 1 LingeringRegime @ Dec 31
LOL at Poli-Dixon's future career.
# 2 CreatineKasey @ Dec 31
Good Write up! I particularly liked the observations on defense. It's cool to read Ronnie is ending drives in ways besides interceptions... BIG HITS! Whenever passing is getting bad for me I always try to make more safe, short throws unless I KNOW the deep ball is open. Maybe feed Gayle the ball even more and try to get into 3rd and short!

Sayers = 2 KR for TD's already! I'm holding my breath every kickoff against you.
# 3 EnglishBull34 @ Dec 31
Great writeup! I love Poli-Dixon getting the outs. He's been a disappointment for sure, and is normally lots better than that. I also like what Lott is doing; it's nice that his presence is translating into drive shortening plays of all sorts. And of course, I like the reference to the Manley saga. It would be such poetic justice if one of your guys leg whipped him and sent him to injured reserve, lol.

This has been a busy week in the league--already one coaching change and a benching. It's shaping up to be an interesting year!
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