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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dutton Pulls off Close Upset at Utah

It may not be the NFL, but don't underestimate the excitement of the Arena Football Playoffs. Earlier today John Dutton and his fifth seeded Colorado Crush (owned by Denver's own J0hn Elway) upset the fourth seeded Utah Blaze. Both teams, unfortunately, finished the season 6-10 though. Yes, yes, I know it's kinda lame that a 6-10 made it to the playoffs, but the game proved to be an exciting one.

Danny White's Utah Blaze were on a win streak of four games coming into today, and were looking for their first ever playoff win (0-2 in playoffs). Keep in mind that the Blaze started out the season 0-9, and then went on a route to win six of the final seven regular season games. If this was the NFL neither team would be anywhere close to the playoffs. But, it's not, is it?? This is a whole different league. A league in which twelve of the seventeen, yes seventeen teams make the playoffs. This means that the Los Angeles Avengers, Kansas City Brigade, Columbus Destroyers (the Arena League's 2007 runner-up), Tampa Bay Storm, and the New Orleans Voodoo were the five left out of the second season.

Joe Germaine, who should've been named to the All-Arena first team (instead it was Philly's Matt D'Orazio), led his Blaze to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter. But, Dutton is a gamer, and he lead the Crush on a scoring drive which ended with about two minutes to go in the opening quarter. In the second quarter, the Crush outscored the Blaze 14-10, and with seconds to go until the half, made it a three-point game on a two-yard pass to WR Wendall Williams. It was only Willams' third game with Colorado.

Germaine--who finished the game with 252 yards through the air, 6 TD passes, and 1 INT--cooled off in the second half. The last two quaters were evenly-matched, and it ended up being a back-and-forth half. The B.M.W (Boone, McKelvey, Whittaker) combination for Utah combined for 22 of Utah's 23 pass attempts, and all six of their TD's. Utah's three second-half TD's were just not enough to stop Colorado from advancing.

Two costly sacks on Germaine had the Colorado bench pumped, and actually one of the commentators, former NFL DE Marcellus Wiley, was real close to throwing his headphones aside, and jumping into action.

Germaine was rattled, and the two late sacks, and 1 INT, forced by a the Colorado D-line, was the final straw. After one last Utah touchdown with :36 to go, Utah failed to recover the onside kick, and the game was over.

My worry for Colorado's Divisional matchup (whoever that may be), is that their kicker Deric Yaussi, missed two key kicks, and was close to missing a few of his extra point attempts (though they all ended up going in). In the playoffs you can't have your kicker going 0 for 2 on kicks, there's just no excuse. Especially in an arena with no wind/weather factor. Yaussi, and actually the Blaze's kicker, Steve Videtich, looked pretty shaky. Videtich was 1 for 2 on field goal attempts, and missed a key extra point attempt. That's FOUR points right there.

One of the most amusing parts of the game was when, on a Colorado kickoff, Yaussi was running downfield looking to block someone, and got light the fuck up by a Utah defender. He jumped back up and got in his face. That was a horrible decision. Whoever heard of a kicker doing that!? I thought it was pretty funny. That was a rookie mistake...

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