ALFF 2019 Play-Off's
ALFF Bowl 27 Report & Scoresheet
QB Patrick Mahomes could not match his record setting big play antics in his losing AB 26 performance but unhappily set another new mark by becoming the first ever passer to lose his first two Bowl outings.
RB Aaron Jones switched camps for this game, having been on the JL8's winning roster in 2018 but it was a disappointing 1st Bowl outing for this 2019 All ALFF running back.
WR Julio Jones has now played on two losing Steelers Bowl sides without scoring in either. The wide-out's previous appearance was in an AB23 loss to the Wrecking Rebels.
WR - Cooper Kupp - 3pts
WR - Allen Lazard - 3pts
In the end Adamski could have hand picked his side after the NFL action and still lost 38-36 ... so there was no gut wrenching sleeper to fret about until September which would likely have revolved around Matt Gay & Greg Zuerlien. Instead in a points game only.. and the absence of his Jacksonville D who would have netted Adam 6 additional points.
2020 Draft Order
QB Sam Darnold made only his 3rd start of the season for the JL8 and managed an aggregate of just 13pts in those trio of games. Crucially he matched Patrick Mahomes output here to win his 1st ALFF Bowl winners medal in his first Bowl outing.
RB Derrick Henry became only the 3rd ball carrier in League history to make it 2 winners gongs on the trot, joining Marshall Faulk (twice AB's 2 & 3 and AB's 8 & 9) and Devonta Freeman (AB's 22 & 23) on that mark. His 56 yard TD run was only the 4th eight pointer in Bowl history.
Wil Lutz solid 6pts was key to the JL8 staying in early contention but the absence of a FG in this tie marked only the 2nd Bowl in League history to lack a successful 3rd point try ( ALFF Bowl 6).
QB - Jameis Winston - 8pts
K - Greg Zuerlien - 7pts
D- Jacksonville - 6pts.
With the second best output from a RB in Bowl history RB Derrick Henry was the hands down winner of the AB27 Bowl MVP award. With team-mate Carlos Hyde on the sideline the game was all on the ball carriers shoulders and he responded with TD runs of 3 , 1 and 56 yards to ice the victory. His 20(2)pts was only 3pts less than RB record holder Steven Jackson's (Berryden Blitz - AB14) record holding effort.
Regal Henry Triple Induces JL8 Repeat Title Crown
Coach Cruickshank wrote his name in big letters in the ALFF history book as his JL8 ended an all team 26 year quest for a successful ALFF title defence with a memorable 38-20 win over the Bowl jinxed Scunthorpe Steelers in a closer than it looked ALFF Bowl 27. Well into the late Sunday action it seemed as if the Bon Accord Division challengers may hang on to avenge their 1pt loss to the same opponents in AB 26 , but a stunning TD treble from RB Derrick Henry at NRG Stadium had the champagne corks popping again at Framlington HQ . Two years ago Crackshot featured prominently on a long list of HC’s identified as potential Title hopefuls … now he takes his place as the first ever ALFF head honcho to win back to back Steve Wood’s and joins a small group of 5 coaches tied on 2 title wins , in 3rd place on the overall title list. Going into this much anticipated first ever immediate Bowl re-run there was a feeling the No 1 seeds could get up big early and be impossible to catch with the ALFF brains trust listing coach Meek’s charges as significant 3pt favourites on the back of Patrick Mahomes big play ability (as long as he avoided Tyreek Hill) , Alvin Kamara’s facility to counter JL8 “big gun” Wil Lutz and the promise of plenty opportunities for rookie K Matt Gay. The JL8’s hope’s of upsetting the money men lay primarily on hanging on early to allow the heavy one/two punch of their “H back” running attack to stage the upset. Adamski was buoyed by the fact his key starters all had meaningful NFL match-up’s in the season finale but WR Dallas Goedert was drafted in at WR3 in place of the resting Marqise Brown. Kicker Matt Gay retained his place ahead of Greg Zuerlien after his double point contribution in a 3rd Rd success over the Drillers. Coach C was not so fortunate. MVP elect Lamar Jackson was not slated to suit up, so the Doomster’s selection committee had to draft in the uninspiring Sam Darnold at QB but thankfully that was the “only” alteration for the defending champions with Derrick Henry crucially listed as ready to go after a Week 16 injury hiatus. The RB was the only “holdover” from the JL8’s 23-22 victory over the the Steelmen in ALFF Bowl 26. The two sides did not meet in regular season competition so we had little direct form to go on but with the Steelers featuring no fewer than six of their starting line-up in the early Sunday action including all their key combatants (versus arguably only one key opponent) the game was set up for the Bon Accord Div champions to post a score for their rivals to shoot at ... and that’s exactly as it panned out. Key hot spots were at Arrowhead Stadium where Patrick Mahomes faced down Tyreek Hill , Bank of America Stadium which featured a pivotal head to head between Alvin Kamara & Wil Lutz , Ford Field which was home to Scunny Packers pairing RB Aaron Jones & Davante Adams and NRG Stadium which was due to headline Henry & Hyde for the JL8. Raymond James where Steeler duo WR Julio Jones & K Matt Gay were in action was a slightly lesser area on interest along with Orchard Park NY which highlighted the JL8’s Jets Defence and QB Sam Darnold.
Alvin Kamara opens the scoring on this 15 yard TD scamper.
The second straight Steelers v JL8 Bowl opened in a hurry with RB Alvin Kamara capping off the Saints first drive at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte with a 15 yard TD run and although “the Eight” were swiftly on the board with the resulting PAT, things could scarcely have started better for the favorites. On the JL8 side of things there was a little flicker when the Browns registered an early TD bomb at Paul Brown…but it was not to their wideout Jarvis Landry while up at a wet Orchard Park Sam Darnold did not threaten much in difficult conditions for quarterbacking….although a greasy ball and a host of Bills back-ups gave Ronnie hope his Jets D might have grounds for optimism. A chance for the Steelmen to extend their advantage thru WR Julio Jones at Raymond James went a-begging when the Dirty Birds squandered a good scoring opportunity but that was less stomach tweaking for Adamski than first a slow start for QB Patrick Mahomes and when back in Tampa kicker Matt Gay sending his initial FG try wide right from 49 yards out. However before nerves had time to kick in seriously Alvin Kamara had the Furnace faithful out of their seats as he made it 12-02 (with the Lutz XP ) on his 2nd TD run ( a 1 yarder) of the opening quarter back in Charlotte. A few points from Patrick Mahomes , Matt Gay or the Steelers other main prong of attack, their Green Bay duo of Aaron Jones & Davante Adams at Ford Field was just what the Scunthorpe game-plan called for at this juncture to build on the already chunky 10pt lead but when Adamksi hit the gas pedal there really was little response. A 1st and goal for the Buccs at Raymond James resulted in what looked like a chip shot FG opportunity for Matt Gay but Bruce Arians opted to go for it on 4th down… and although the resulting XP made it 13-02 to the BA outfit , a sense of missed opportunities began to take root…. not that the JL8 were showing they were in much better shape. When Sam Darold finally got into the Orchard Park red zone a sure-fire TD was just plain dropped ( by non ALFF TE Daniel Brown ) 6 yard deep it the EZ. Around 600 miles to the south a Saints pick six against the Panthers saw coach Cruickshank’s combo nip a point back courtesy of the Lutz PAT to make it 13-03 but suddenly it was a little more busy in the Steeler camp. Patrick Mahomes finally go in the groove at Arrowhead to score on a 24 yard TD toss giving rise to hopes he could repeat his AB26 12pt output and with both the Falcons and Saints in scoring range the focus was on both Julio Jones for a first score … or maybe the in form Kamara for a 3rd. In the event neither troubled the score-board operator although the Saints passing counter did come with complete with the Cajun Cannon’s 4th XP to tweak the scoreline to 16-04. A rat- a- tat short exchange of NFC South QB turnovers in Tampa , saw Matt Gay boot through his 2nd PAT of the night to extend the Sowf London outfits lead back to 13pts at 17-04 …. but although no-one knew it at the time… that proved to be the highpoint for Adamski in this contest. Out of no-where up at Paul Brown Stadium old coach C favourite Jarvis Landry run under a 56 TD strike (courtesy of two colliding Bungles DB’s)….. and suddenly the JL8 were right back in contention at 17-10. Seconds later Aaron Jones missed out on chance to strike back immediately (poor Rodgers throw) in the Ford Field EZ and to add insult to injury Wil Lutz reduced the deficit further with his 5th PAT of a lopsided first half in Charlotte. Indeed but for a series of poor passes in the redzone by Sam Darnold in the admittedly wet conditions in Buffalo , the JL8 “comeback” could have cut deeper.
Wide-out Jarvis Landry get the JL8 back in contention with this 56 yard TD grab.
With his lead now reduced to just 6pts and just two quarters left for his key scorers to make a mark there was a new urgency in the BA champs camp. Patrick Mahomes did not aid his sides cause by throwing an interception on his first Q3 possession and coach Meek’s plight was not improved when the Chiefs returned a KO for a TD …. thus keeping their offence off the field for an extended period. When they did get back on the field at Arrowhead , Damien Williams ripped off a huge TD run to further limit the signal-callers touches and it became increasingly clear that the Steelmen might have to look elsewhere to get that lead building numbers. Down at Raymond James, kicker Matt Gay over compensated for his earlier failed effort by sending a 44 yard FG attempt wide left as another 3pts went south for Scunny and although the JL8’s assorted combatants still showed little sign of adding to their totals. During the regular season RB Aaron Jones was often the difference make when coach Meek was looking for inspiration…. but it has to be said the Packers on the road are not the force they are in Green Bay and they were showing that in spades at Ford Field. However by late Q3 Adamski’s Cheesehead duo were showing signs of warming up to the point Davante Adams finally got on the score-sheet in his 2nd Bowl outing with a timely 20 yard counter to pad his sides advantage back up to 9pts at 20-11. Then came another defining sequence of early Sunday moments. The Saints 6th TD of the day complete with Lutz PAT signalled the end of their need to do anything but stay healthy and run out the clock in Carolina without the JL8 kicker getting an opportunity to try out his FG form, although with Kamara no longer a factor, the Doomster in Chief would have settled for that trade off. Almost simultaneously the unfortunate Matt Gay made it 0 for 3 on FG’s attempts as he shanked a short 34 yard effort wide left and just as Adamski had to be sitting wondering if those 9 “lost points” would come back to haunt him now…. Sam Darnold threw a short 1 yard scoring strike in upstate NY that pulled the defending champions to within 1 rushing score at 15-20. With time now a huge factor the pundits felt the Steelers needed at least one more score and a lead of around 8 or 9pts to have any realistic hope of “hanging on” in the late Sunday period but they struggled to find a spark. Mahomes continued to be largely ineffective with a 47 yard pass (not a score) the only time he flashed his big play ability…. but with opponent Tyreek Hill on the end of that one , it illustrated the situation the favorites no found themselves in. With a little over 5 minutes left at Detroit, Aaron Rodgers missed Steeler wide-out Davante Adams on what should have been a 28 yard TD to start of a flurry of last gasp prospects for the now frantic No 1 seeds. The Chiefs worked the ball down inside the redzone for one last time in Arrowhead but went the ground route when it looked a certain 3pts for Mahomes. Down at Tampa , the Falcons looked for Julio Jones in the corner of the EZ with just a few ticks left on the clock… but the score just would not come … although that miss did mean an OT period which held the promise of maybe one (or possibly two ) more FG attempts for Matt Gay. Those fleeting thoughts lasted precisely one offensive play as Steeler back-up Jameis Winston almost comically threw a walk off pick six that brought the curtain down on a dramatic … if unexpected early Sunday stanza with Adamski’s hopeful’s just 20-15 in front.
Davante Adams extends the Steelers lead to 20-11 with this 20 yard TD grab.
The game now had a totally different feel to the one predicted by the assorted experts. Instead of Adamski sitting back and simply looking to last his two “players” out WR Dallas Goedert and the Oakland defence as nice little add on’s , one score from either of his rivals doubled headed “H back” ground game of Henry & Hyde in Houston would make it imperative Scunny score again to keep their hopes alive. The opening indications were Carlos Hyde was up for the occasion but weirdly after starting proceedings at NRG with four straight carries, the journeyman rock carrier was pulled by the Texans coaching team (Dear Bill… you go the bother of suiting up and starting your primary running threat and then sit him after 4 carries … please explain ??!!). That “benching” swung the needle every so slightly back towards the Sowf London outfit as any sort on contribution from either of their two combatants would force Henry to score twice for the defending champions. As things progressed in Met Life Stadium, Dallas Goedert showed in flashes, but with a depleted supporting cast the TE was drawing the best of the coverage and the Eagles in general struggled to get in to any offensive rhythm. Back at Houston , the Titans didn’t need the ground game as they went “long pass” to put a score on the board but into Q2 of the late Sunday stanza they worked the ball into the red zone with Henry the hot hand. The big runner almost broke free on one of three straight carries but could not force home a 1st and goal from the 1 yard line… (the Titans then scoring through the air to a TE) and the doubts/hopes on either side of the LOS raised respectively. Coach Meek’s Oakland D had not really threatened to get on the board at any stage thus far, but just on half time at Mile High they had the Broncos pinned on their own 1 yard line. A simple safety at this juncture would have extend the Scunthorpe lead to a hugely significant 7pts… (i.e. more than one rushing TD)…but a sloppy defensive PI got the Broncos out of the tight corner they were in and in truth the BA combos Raiders defence/special teams never caught the eye for the rest of what would prove to be a scoreless outing. Moments later way to the east Philly finally got a late Q2 passing score at Met Life…but it was not to Dallas Goedert and the score-line remained unchanged at 20-15. As we moved into the second half of the second period the clock was now becoming a factor, with a score this late on either side of the line of scrimmage being hard to react to and a growing feeling that the Steelers may just hold on after all. However at NRG the Titans clearly came out in run mode and it was Derrick Henry, and lots of him, as they went on an opening 10 play, 78 yard drive that culminated in the former Heisman winner virtually jogging in for a 3 yard TD. Ahead for the 1st time, 21-20, the Doom Meister’s charges were now within touching distance of a historic title defence. With coach Meek desperately looking from a spark from Dallas Goedert (that never came) the Titans were swiftly back in the NRG redzone after a huge 47 yard pass play and it was truly no surprise when Henry bullied his way in at the pylon for a bruising 1 yard TD. Suddenly 27-20 to the good, the wildcard qualifiers had now completely turned the game on its head. Two scores were now needed by the stunned Steelers to force coach Cruickshank to go to the well again. Twice over at Met Life the Eagles had the ball in short scoring range… but on both occasions they successfully went the ground route to the exclusion of the Steelmen’s potential lifeline and then with time in very short supply it was all over. Derrick Henry’s battering ram effect finally wore down the Houston D line and the runner romped 53yards to paydirt to ice the ALFF Title at 35-20. WR D K Metcalf was something of a JL8 last man insurance policy in the NBC phase at CenturyLink Field but the shandies were in full flow in Framlington as the wide-out added a last gasp 14 yard “icing” TD to close to give the score-line it’s final 38-20 look.
It's Title Time as Derrick Henry breaks away on his clinching 53 yard TD run.
Congratulations go out to coach Cruickshank and his squad on their momentous 2nd straight post season competition ultimate success. Almost lost in the headlines surrounding the historic event was the fact the Doomsters triumph was only the 4th time a side had won the whole enchilada from a pure wildcard berth. Their 7 straight play-off win equals the best ever winning run ( Wrecking Rebels 2015-2016) and remarkably coach Cruickshank has yet to lose a knock-out tie under the JL8 banner. RB Derrick Henry’s 20pt output was the 2nd best by a RB in Bowl history , in what proved to be the 2nd highest scoring knock out competition in history ( 418pts – record 426pts, 2015). There was some suggestion by Vegas in the pre match hyperbole that the champions current accomplishment had not been fully “tested” with no score against them higher than 22pts … and although that unlikely run was continued … the nature of this Bowl win and a competition aggregate of 146pts in 4 ties clearly underlined their championship credentials. Coach Cruickshank's overall 17-15 play-off record is the 2nd best in history. The MWS in the post season climbed from an RS mid range 26pts to a rather meaty 30pts and with 4 of our seven ties never having been played before there was again a "new feel" freshness about the whole knock-out process. Ronnie’s triumph comes on the back of a mid ranging regular season campaign with the champs flirting with elimination back in Week 9 following a 29-43 loss to the Killers that dropped them to 3-6. There can be no doubt their late season revival was underwritten by the electric presence of QB Lamar Jackson but the likes of Derrick Henry (in his final season as a retained player) and Wil Lutz played a significant support role. Just to underline how slender the margins are….had coach Rickaby picked RB Peyton Barber in a 4pt Wk 13 Drillers loss to the Steelers the newly crowned champions would only have landed the No 6 seed and would have crashed out at the 3rd Rd stage to would you believe… yes.... the Steelers .… and it would be the Drillers who would now be accepting the title plaudits !!! The JL8's 2nd straight Steven Wood was a record breaking 3rd straight for the incomparable Granite Division , which now has an overall best 11 ALFF Title wins. I’m sure there will be a lot of disappointment in the Adamksi camp as his side ended up Runner-up for a 2nd straight term after a League best regular season campaign. Overall it was a another successful year for coach Meek’s side with a second Bon Accord Division, and a first successful defence of that grouping pennant , their overall 10-3 record good enough for No 1 seed and just one win short of a franchise equal best. In Aaron Jones they had one of the best backs on the League and their running back unit was their second straight over the 100pt mark. QB Patrick Mahomes looked early on like he might smash the long standing League passing records but a mid season injury seemed to rob the passer of his edge and although still a force, he arguably lost his game-changer moniker in the run in. A WR unit thats bark was worse than it’s bite was nor really a factor in a term where WR pay was down across the League but it was perhaps at K that the Steelers Achilles heel was on display. The unit actually ranked a highly creditable 4th overall, but that number rather hid a occasional tendency to drop a low score doozy … much as we saw in this Bowl game… even if that thankfully didn’t prove to be the ultimate decider in the final breakdown. Back in the early years of League competition we saw a few sides who burned bright but faded out when it mattered most come the business end of the season but I don’t believe coach Meek falls into this category with his squads routinely full of “Week 16/17” caliber players. One of these season’s it just going to go right for Adamski... trust me !! Ronnie now leads the ATS between the two coaches at 6-3 ( 3-1 in the play-offs).