Only way to describe this one.PREGAME:
Bob Pompeani nails it, pronouncing Talons correctly twice in the opening few seconds of the broadcast. Cleveland got a huge win over the Chicago Rush, making it critical for the Power to get the job done in order to keep pace in the division.
Pomp tells us that Matt Bassuener will start in place of Bobby Reid. Gee, who all but overtly suggested that in our game preview? A running quarterback won't get it done in the AFL.
The coin toss is won by Tulsa, who will kick it away.
Bubba introduces the starting lineups, the special teams take the field, and we're off. The lower level seems pretty sporadically filled at the Consol Energy Center, but it's a loud and enthusiastic crowd as always.
Opening kick is taken by Eddie Thompson out to about the 19, and immediately there is laundry.
Illegal block in the back against Carlos Campbell.
We're in business. Ugh.
McCabe time. Let's see if he can put together a complete game.
First play is a dumpoff to Jason Willis for a first down. Very good patience shown by big Kev. David Ball is starting at WR. Where the hell is Mike Washington? Let's see how much the suspension of Lonnell DeWalt affects the game as it goes on.
McCabe finds Ball on first down and moves the sticks again. Absolutely wide open. McCabe then takes a shot at the endzone and JC Neal just barely gets a hand on it, tipping it away from Willis. He was open. Fantastic play by Neal makes up for the lapse in the Talons secondary on the earlier play which left Ball wide open.
LETS GO POWER chant breaks out.
McCabe finds Eddie Thompson down at the four. McCabe isn't looking for anyone but the guy being covered by JC Neal. I don't know a lot about him, but I'm assuming Neal is a joke.
McCabe then hits Ball directly in the chest. He might as well have hit him in the Balls. He drops it in the endzone. Huge early 4th down.
McCabe floats one for Thompson. Picked off in the endzone by Jamar Ransom. NOT GOOD. Talons take over on the touchback with 11:50 remaining in the 1st.
Copeland, Hunt, and McBroom start at receiver for Tulsa. No Rodney White... Yet.
Bassuener's first throw is a little tight on the wall and falls safely to the turf. He then looks to the same side and finds McBroom. What the hell kind of a name is McBroom? He must be half witch. First down Talons.
Bassuener then dumps one to Copeland who is introduced to Josh Lay - hard hit into the boards. Ensuing play, Bassuener takes off and picks up another first down before being stopped by Tyrell Herbert.
Woof compares Reid being the best running quarterback in the AFL to being the tallest person in a midget contest. WTF?
After an incomplete pass in the endzone, Bassuener dumps it off to Jordan Bedore for a short gain. 3rd and 6 deep in Power territory. This is where the defense shines. The count and the snap - FALSE START, TULSA. Make it a 3rd and 11.
Bassuener then finds Al Hunt over the middle where he's wrapped up by Tyrell Herbert, but has enough for the first down after battling off the tackle.
Inside the four, they go with the run. Jordan Bedore up the middle and down to about the one inch line.
Pomp makes a huge announcement -- Sarah Marince performing live on April 16 at the Jacksonville game.
Tulsa goes left again, as Bobby Reid checks into the game. Stuffed by Josh Lay and Terrell. On 3rd down, they go to Ransom, again stopped short. 4th and goal at the inch line. Reid always a threat to keep it down here.
He keeps and Reid scores. 5:27 remaining.
Bongarra kicks it away, fielded by Thompson on the wall in his own endzone and spins out to the ten yard line where the Bolts take over.
First play, McCabe goes deep. THERE'S JOYSTICK!! Wide open! Overthrown. Good God is it awesome to see Mike Washington back, even if McCabe is throwing it 50 yards over his head.
Following that play, a false start on Jason Willis. NOT A GOOD START.
3:45 left and a 2nd and 15 for the Big Kev Machine.
Another deep ball, David Ball has a defender hanging all over him the whole way down the sideline -- no flag. 3rd and 15 for the Power.
McCabe then hit as he threw. Some asshole in a Lynn Swann jersey in the front row drops it. That's why you're in the stands, dick. You'll never get a sweet nickname like Joystick.
4th and 15, Paul Edinger coming on to attempt the field goal (read: punt) from his own goal line. Two minutes left in what has been a low scoring game thus far. Snap is high, Edingers kick is.... Short... Fielded in the endzone by Varner who returns it to the 15 yardline. Gary Butler on the tackle. Wow, that kick was JUST short, maybe 3 or 4 more feet and he would've had it.
Talons take over leading 7-0. Under 2 remain in the quarter.
Bassuener back in the game, hits on a short screen, then finds McBroom along the wall. Makes the catch for a first down, but not before Carlos Campbell takes his head off into the wall.
Another handoff. This might be the lowest-scoring AFL game of the modern era. Bedore good for two yards. Bassuener then finds hunt on the underneath route for another first down inside the Pittsburgh 15. That's the end of the first quarter.
Tulsa starts at the Power 6. Bassuener keeps it, rolls right. Touchdown on the keeper. Consol Energy Center opens its roof and pukes onto Fifth Avenue.
Darius Robinson injured on the play. He's helped off on his own power. PAT is good.
Eddie Thompson back deep once again. The Power need to get a score here. Thompson plays it off the net. Breaks out to the left. All the way to the Tulsa six yard line. That's huge.
McCabe throws a little quick dump to Thompson who runs right and then backwards for a loss of about seventy thousand yards. 2nd and goal at the 14.
McCabe then looks for Thompson again. Overthrown.
We're witnessing the complete undoing of a folk hero. McCabe falling apart before our eyes. 0 for his last 6 with a pick.
Tried and true, RUEEEEEEEEE.
McCabe with the quick out to Josh Rue who does it all himself. TOUCHDOWN POWER!
Edinger's PAT is good. We've got a whole new ballgame.
Edinger's kick is off the net. Misplayed in the endzone by Christian Varner, dumped for the quick touchback. Momentum starting to swing. Remember the swing revival in the mid-late 90's? God was that fucking retarded. Brian Setzer my ass.
Bassuener goes deep on the first play of the drive and Carlos Campbell is all over it. No dice on the home run ball. The next throw goes into the front row. Again, a guy in the stands makes a fool of himself. Falls down. The guy in the row behind him makes the pick, but gives the ball back. He was sitting right next to the Lynn Swann guy. That section has the worst receiving corps ever.
Bassuener then with a quick out to Copeland, Josh Lay with the quick stop, but not before the first down with 9:30 left.
Bassuener throws a lateral behind the line, who knows who it was intended for. Chris Terrell got heavy pressure on Bassuener. Tulsa falls on it for a loss. 2nd and 14.
Bassuener's next throw is WAY behind McBroom and Josh Lay nearly picks it off. It's 3rd and long. Big 'Mo' continues in the direction of the Power.
Bassuener finds McBroom over the middle, Campbell makes the stop short of the first down, but there's a flag on the play. Chris Terrell lined up in the neutral zone. He's a little too hungry. 3rd and 9.
The throw is WELL short intended for McBroom, Carlos Campbell is there but not in position to pick it off. More pressure on Bassuener by the Power defense. Looking good even in the absense of Neil Purvis.
4th and 9, crowd goes nuts. Bassuener pressured heavily, flag down. Throw is tipped and PICKED OFF BY TYRELL HERBERT!
Call has got to be a hold here, right? Right.
Power take over with 6:56 left.
What have we got. Illegal defense, roughing the passer, and holding. Penalties offset. Replay the down. God damnit.
Definitely was a late hit there. Hawaii is Hawaii.
4th and 9 again... 6:47 left. Bassuener to throw, dumps one off, and I have no idea what it hit, maybe Tyrell Herbert, incomplete. Another flag down.
Illegal twist on Pittsburgh. Ugh.
Bassuener then scrambles for a gain of about eight, and the Talons are back in business with another long drive. 2nd and 2 coming up. Prime time to take a shot at the endzone.
Bassuener with a designed run, picks up the first down and a couple yards more down to the Power 15 yard line.
Not sure why Bobby Reid isn't playing. Bassuener is running just as much. I really disagree with the strategy. It's just not befitting of the sport.
Pass complete to Copeland. Hit by Campbell. FUMBLE. CARLOS CAMPBELL RECOVERS! Pittsburgh takes over!
First down, McCabe flushed out, scrambles for the first down, an apparent fumbel is called down. McCabe then finds Eddie Thompson for a gain of eight. More flags.
Let them play, bojo refs.
Eh, nevermind. Facemask against Tulsa. Half the distance. First down. McCabe is starting to cook. Finding that rhythm that he lost somewhere in the 2nd half of the Iowa game. Rue checks in. Gets the call, stuffed for a loss of one. 3:30 left.
McCabe looks for Mike Washington in the endzone on the fade route. Fade routes don't really work when there's a wall in the endzone. Incomplete.
On 3rd down, McCabe looks for Joystick again. Pass is broken up by JC Neal, but there's some more laundry down. Jason Willis exchanges words with a Tulsa DB. The officials needs to figure this garbage out. Two penalties. Pass interference against Neal. Half the distance, first down. After the play, Willis tacked with the personal foul. Either way, it's a Power first down with 2:34 remaining in the half.
Ball on the 13. McCabe dumps off to Joystick Washington who gets down to about the five yard line, where it's 2nd and goal.
There it is.
McCabe finds MIKE "JOYSTICK" WASHINGTON for the POWER TOUCHDOWN! The PAT ties it up.
Edinger's kick, taken by Christian Varner who gets out to about the 7 and Jason Willis makes the stop. One minute warning.
Bassuener runs again on first down. Jesus. Why can't they stop that? Picks up a nice chunk of yardage, and Tulsa inexplicably allows 10 extra seconds to run off before calling time out. 2nd and 1.
Bassuener finds Brandon Copeland on the crossing route, stopped by Lay. That's a first down. Tulsa's coach flips out. The clock didn't stop... Or didn't start. Nobody has any clue exactly what happens. Another time out.
Bassuener finds Brandon Copeland for a first down, and the Talons are in business. 12 seconds left and a first down at the Power 10. Throw to the endzone is overthrown. Larico Stevenson with picture perfect blanket coverage. Six ticks left.
Bassuener pressured, hit, loose ball, flag down, horn sounds, and we've got another mess.
Holding on the Talons. Phew. That's the end of the first half.
Pomp interviews Chris Siegfried. Coach says the offense is off-balance and the penalties need to stop. Siegfried says that the surprise start of Bassuener hasn't caught them off guard. Power being outgained 144 to 91 in total yardage. Tulsa 31 offensive plays to Pittsburgh's 18. 40 rush yards for Tulsa to 14 for Pittsburgh. Lopsided, yes. The scoreboard, however, says it's a tie game.
Paul Edinger tees it up and we're underway in the 2nd half. Weird bounce is fielded by Varner and he is hit by Mike Washington and Lenny Wicks inside his own five. Good start.
Bassuener immediately goes back to Troy McBroom for a gain of 10 and a first down. Tulsa looking to strike early. Bassuener looks deep for Al Hunt and there's nobody even in the same zip code as that ball.
Again, Bassuener goes back to McBroom out to the Power 22. Ensuing play is another deep ball for McBroom, and again, Carlos Campbell is all over him. Incomplete.
Bassuener drops back to throw again and Gary F'n Butler is there for yet another sack. He's been huge game in and game out. Brings up a 3rd and 15 for Tulsa. Bassuener pressured, scrambles, and he once again gets acquainted with Gary Butler who drills him into the near wall. 4th and 11. Tulsa will go for it. Chris Terrell helps their cause by jumping offsides. 4th and 6.
Bassuener is hit as he throws, Terrance Carter gets there. Pass falls incomplete, and the Power take over with a chance to grab their first lead of the game. Another huge defensive stand lead by Gary Butler.
McCabe with 9:19 left drops back, dances around and throws the ball directly to Ransom. His second pick. Yuck.
Ransom is slow to get up. Looks like he's in a ton of pain. You never wish an injury on any athlete, and we hope it's minor, but it can only help that this guy is out of the game, at least for a little while. He's going to haunt Kevin McCabe's dreams for months.
McCabe 8/18 for 77 yards, 2 TD and 2 INT at this point. No rhythm.
LETS GO POWER chant breaks out. Bassuener scrambles and is hit by Tyrell Herbert and Gary Butler after a short gain. 3rd and 7 at the Power 10 yard line for Tulsa. Can the defense possibly make another miracle stop?
DE-FENSE chant takes over the Consol. An uneasy one. Bassuener pressured again, scrambles to his right and is forced into the wall by Gary Butler. Well short of the first down. 4th and 5 for Tulsa. Can't say enough about how clutch this defense has been.
Juan Bongarra comes out to try the field goal from the Power 14. The kick is good, and Tulsa regains the lead.
Thompson muffs the kick in the endzone, gets out to the ten, and fumbles. Dear lord. This defense has bailed the offense out time after time, and this is the way the offense and special teams repay them? Unbelievable. Tulsa takes over at the 13. The crowd gets restless.
Bassuener's throw over the middle is dropped by McBroom. Should've been a touchdown.
Bassuener has McBroom wide open in the endzone. It's getting ugly, because this offense has struggled all night.
Bubba announces the attendance: Another solid crowd of 9,924. The only people who haven't showed up yet are the Power offensive unit.
So, a chance for redemption for Eddie Thompson. He gets out to the 7 yard line and is pile driven by Nikos Brown.
Anthony Morelli checks in at QB, looking to spark the Power.
He looks left and finds Joystick Washington for a first down.
*Editorial Note* I'm having a horrific time cheering for a Penn State guy, but I'm trying my best.
Morelli then finds Jason Willis off to his left, another first down.
The buzz starts to come back into the crowd a little bit.
Morelli's first series really reminding me of McCabes first series so far. Safe, low-risk passes, and he's been efficient so far. 2:32 remaining and the Power driving methodically.
Morelli is 4 for 5 with 27 yards at this point. He then finds Mike Washington for another first down. 1:30 left in the 3rd. The Nitter is moving the ball.
Morelli looks for Willis in the endzone and Neal nearly picks it off. Good break. He was all over Jason on that play.
Morelli on 2nd and goal goes to the endzone. Picked off by Darian Williams.
The crowd begins a chant in support of Morelli.
THE WORST OFFENSE IN THE AFL!
Anyone miss Bernard Morris? Anyone wish the Roethlisberger article wasn't an April Fools joke?
Ain't Talkin 'Bout Love. Becoming a Power tradition. Time to turn it up, boys. Tulsa takes over at their own two. It was mini football night, as one fan, then two, then several more remind us. Game has to be stopped to clean up the mini footballs. The officials are clearly annoyed.
Bassuener throws over some bojo's head. Larico Stevenson on the coverage. End of the third quarter. Frustrated? You bet.
CW Brandi says to eat at Pizza Hut. I say meet me at my parents house for a hot makeout session. CW Brandi: "Nonplussed."
Bassuener finds Al Hunt. 9 yard gain. 3rd and 1. Absolutely need a turnover here, as the clock is ticking. Bassuener keeps and picks up the first down, another tackle by Gary Butler. 14 minutes left. Ugh. They've got to find a way to beat this joke of a team.
Deep ball. Campbell all over Al Hunt. Incomplete. Campbell is my defensive player of the game for Pittsburgh at this point. Brings up a 2nd and 10 for the Talons. Quick out to McBroom who is absolutely killed by Josh Lay. In a comparable American gridiron football league who will remain nameless forever on this blog, that's a 900 game suspension and a $650,000 fine for a helmet to helmet hit. Lay leaves the game with Brain Slushie Syndrome. Bassuener finds Copeland for 8 yards and another first down. Just a hair over 12 minutes remaining.
Where's that turnover?
Bassuener to the stocky receiver Al Hunt for another first down, inside the Power fifteen. Game over if they score here.
Handoff to Bedore, a gain of a few yards. Tick, tick, tick. 10:25 left.
Bassuener rolls right, takes a hit from Terrance Carter, and the Talons QB throws it to the Sparks outside of the right side of the endzone. Hannah - call me. <3.
Bassuener finds Troy McBroom. That's his 2nd touchdown in addition to the earlier fumble recovery. We're boned. PAT is good. A few fans start pouring out.
Power go completely insane. Pitch to Rue at their own five. Fumble. Talons recover. One way trip to suicide island. Absolutely no confidence in Anthony Morelli. 8 minutes left. Tulsa takes over, looking to deal the death blow. Reid checks in and walks into the endzone. I feel like walking into a freight train.
Ensuing drive, deep ball caught for the touchdown by Mike Washington. Fun fact: Pittsburgh's high motion man was offsides. Morelli's first AFL touchdown pass has still yet to happen. 6 minutes left.
A couple more little Morrelli dumpoffs, more penalties, whatever.
I miss Lonnell DeWalt and I wish someone would tell me when he's coming back.
Morelli finds Eddie Thompson. He's crushed. Helmet to helmet, again. Jesus. You may never see another hit harder than that in the entire rest of the AFL's existence. Another time out to tend to another head injury. Eddie Thompson joins the club with Josh Lay and Irv Washington. Thompson gets off the field on his own power.
Meanwhile, Morelli finds Jason Willis inside Tulsa territory with 4:30 left. The Power need to score. First downs are nice, but they don't stop the clock.
There it is.
Morelli with his first career AFL touchdown pass. It's Mike Washington, good for twenty four yards. Joystick with a tough catch up against the wall. Two point conversion attempt coming up.
Morelli floats one for David Ball, over his head, but he was interfered with. Half the distance. Come one guys, bury it. Make it interesting here.
Morelli keeps, stretches, and JUST BARELY gets it. Two pointer is good.
PS, Morelli was down. Horrible call. One of many in this game.
Onside kick attempt is recovered by Shaw for Tulsa. Bassuener takes over at the Power ten. A pitch to Hunt keeps the clock moving. I have no idea how much time is left, because the CW's graphic disappeared. It's not much.
Ah, it's back. 2:30. Need a turnover worse than they need oxygen.
Bassuener pressured, throws it away. Flag down. Roughing the passer against Pittsburgh. The undisciplined, frustrated play continues.
First and goal. Bassuener keeps and gets down to the two. Siegfried calls a time out that you could hear from Mt. Washington. Terrance Carter on the tackle. 2:07 left. Reid checks back in, keeps, runs right, hit by Larico Stevenson gets a hat on it, and Reid FUMBLES. Tulsa recovers.
This game is a mess. Chop block on Tulsa.
Bassuener back in, pressured, and finds Al Hunt for the Talons score. FML.
This is the most humiliating moment in the history of Pittsburgh sports.
ONE MINUTE WARNING
Who cares? What an empty feeling. This team is just decimated by injuries and suspensions at this point, and it's showing. It can only get worse. Eddie Thompson is back in the game, at least.
Morelli was buried inside his own five, about to get sacked, and somehow finds Eddie Thompson out to near midfield. 38 seconds left. The Power call their final time out.
Morelli is then sacked by Nikos Brown AKA his own left foot. 20 seconds left. It's academic at this point.
The Power will fall to 2-2 and lose pace with the Gladiators in the division. Let us never speak of this pukefest again.
Players of the game:
- Offense -
Matt Basseuner, QB Tulsa
252 Yds Total Offense
- Defense -
Jamar Ransom, DB Tulsa
No words. A week off to lick our wounds and recover. 4/16 vs Jacksonville at the Consol Energy Center.