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Old 09-21-2020, 04:34 PM   #375
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The twist of turns
When things seem they can't get worse.

It wasn't even halfway through the second quarter and the game looked over. The hosting Toronto Monsters had just taken a 24-7 lead over us on a short dump pass for a touchdown. Much deserved as one of their safeties had just returned a picked off pass for 30 yards deep into the Merchantmen red zone. Moe Sheldon looked disoriented. On the previous drive he was sacked for the fifth time already, the drive prior to that one being the worst with back to back to back sacks. It was basically a miracle he was still able to stand.

A 20-yard pass to Branden Sandlin somewhat restored confidence in the passing game, while Francisco Patter and Reggie Thongchanh contributed with their typical useful runs. A 42-yard field goal wasn't all that great, but at least the deficit was back to within two touchdowns and a fine addition to the 53-yard pass from Sheldon to Theodore Bondy in the first quarter.

Then, after the defense made a good stand on the first drive of the second half, Moe Sheldon doubled his turnover figure with another interception. Toronto got the ball back at midfield, but couldn't turn it into points. Fair or not, the Merchantmen got break after break as penalties moved the ball upfield 28 yards after pass interference for 16 more yards, Sheldon had to throw for just 13 yards into the endzone to make it 24-17, and he did it into the hands of George Stuckey.

After another defensive stand, rookie Mark Perkins returned a punt for 19 yards and belief in a comeback was completely back. Sheldon found Theo for 20 yards on third and long and the football fans had to realize something unlikely was unfolding. Another third down conversion to the fourth string tight end Renaldo Crawford, a solid third down run by Francisco Patter and then a 6-yarder around the line to make it 24-24. And all that before the fourth quarter had begun.

Sheldon to Sandlin for 23 yards, Sheldon to Stuckey for 13 yards, Sheldon to Bondy for 7 yards on third and three, Sheldon to Bondy for 15 yards. Quarterback on a mission? Two plays later: blocking tight end Jeffery Blake was open in the end zone, Sheldon found him and after the extra point, the 31-24 lead was Maassluis'.

The Lake Monsters regrouped and drove down field, but having reached the red zone, the pressure was finally on, while running back Jon Bates dropped passes on third and fourth down. The Merchantmen scraped a bare minute off the clock, Toronto was pinned back at their own 17-yard line. A 36-yard pass sparkled hope for the fans, but more pass rush pressure from the Merchantmen defensive line disrupted the Lake Monsters' efforts. Time outs ran out, as did downs. Victory formation for the Merchantmen. The comeback was complete: from 24-7 down to a 31-24 victory!

What a jackle and hyde game. Sheldon was pressured in the first half, the defense had no answer. One drive (perhaps rightfully) was boosted by pass interference calls, Sheldon got hot, the pass rush pressure was up to our standards. And voila, we're winners?!

Sheldon completed 18 of 35 passes for 230 yards for 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He was sacked 5 times, all leading up to that 24-7 deficit. Theo was the leading receiver with just 5 catches for 113 yards, most prominently the 53-yard touchdown early in the game. Thong' ran wild again with 73 yards on 15 carries.

So, the season continues and it's brining us back to Gothenburg, home of the European division champions. Wait, we're not going to Tucker, the top seeds? Nope, the Orlando Talons, not so shockingly, won at the Houston Mustangs. Hence, the Southeast teams play head to head and the European teams play head to head. Unlike last season, when Orlando came to our house and Paris went to Tucker.

I want us to get back to where we were last season: in the conference final, but losing to any of the other teams remaining in the conference wouldn't be face losing, these are the four best teams in the AOC, I think it's fair to say the seven best teams all made it to the conference semi finals. Houston was probably eighth best and stuck in the strong conference, it happens.

Again, Gothenburg, on the road. We lost there 35-28 earlier this season, a weird game, without Theodore Bondy and with the replacement Rickey Lyle by far the most productive receiver of the day with 147 yards, still mind blowing stuff. Lyle will be active and with the kind of game the other receivers had today, well, it might be worthwhile to think again what the right group of the day should be. The Giants always have some trick, something up their sleeve to disrupt our offense. We have to do something to fend it off.

We're riding a hot hand though, we've won 7 straight. Second hottest team in the conference? Gothenburg with 5 straight wins. Their only loss at home this season, just like how it has been for us, was against the Tucker Tigers. Confidence should be sky high on both ends, perhaps recipe for another shootout? No idea, we'll find out tomorrow...
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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