Week 1

Week 1 is always a nerve wracking affair as the things you thought you knew are either confirmed..... or exposed as the Trumpian alternative reality they sometime are…and this year’s immediate pre-draft to season kick-off period, featuring multiple NFL trades and the never ending soap that is AB… certainly amped up the traditional gut gnawing edge accompanying the starting gun !! So.... we are off and running and WOW... what a Week 1 we had ! The highest scoring opening round of fixtures of all time (and the 7th highest total ever) produced an explosive cocktail of high scoring contests that included a dramatic Monday night come back win, nerve shredding hold on wins, no fewer than  5 teams in the 40pt plus mark, with 3 match-up's decided by a FG or less. Coming after two straight fairly flat season opening weekend's , 2019 was the everything a much anticipated season kick-off should be. For the record the first points of our 28th campaign were scored by the Steelers Aaron Rodgers ( 8 yard toss)  on an otherwise staid Thursday night but thereafter it was something of a points frenzy. Pick of the bunch was the instant classic that was the ALFF debut of coaches Taylor & Butter with the former's Broch Bobcats snatching victory in an amazing 42-41 comeback triumph. Not far behind in terms of drama was the kincorth Killers 40-37 hold on win over the Westburn Blades  while just as entertaining was the 2 Minute Drillers just outlasting the Laurel Lions by the odd point in 59. The defending champion JL8 put up the highest score of the Week with 44pts as they demolished the Garthee Gryphons and there were other lopsided victories for the Scunthope Steelers and the Argyll Apaches against the CalX and Arnhall Dolphins respectively. In truth there were positives to be had in almost every camp with 9 teams (if you add a kicker to Arnhall) able to rightly claim some level of points success irrespective of their actual result. Exceptions to that, the Garthdee Gyphons &  Caledonia Express  both fell short out of the traps but have the mileage to know things can turn around quickly but the brothers Garioch both need to find their scoring boots in the next week or so to avoid an uphill battle with the comfort that one must go 1-1 next week as the two side go head to head.  At the end of it all the winning spoils were split evenly between the Bon Accord & Granite Divisions with 3 victories apiece..... which means it was a sad whitewash for  a second straight season  for the often maligned Pittodrie grouping. As always Week 1 form is rarely a reliable guide to the events over the next 12 weeks or so, as injuries and gametape chip away at supposed early advantages but given only 7 champions have started with an opening loss in 27 attempts then this years first stab at a Bowl winners short-list is reduced to the Steelers, Bobcats , Drillers , Apaches, JL8 and Killers. Strike out the Bobcats and JL8 based on historical evidence no rookie outfit or defending champion has ever carried the day... then the tea leaves are pointing to the three BA Div ball-club's listed or the three time champion Killers. 6 games down ...79 to go...... ENJOY !!!!

 

Sound Steelers Show Their Mettle

Patrick Mahomes was electric for the Steelers in Week 1.

Ah, week one and we are off, and though it's not vital, it's nice to get off to a winning start, and that is something that Steeler's Coach Adamski has done very well during his tenure in the ALFF having won six out of seven since he joined the league. Coach Marty's record is less impressive at a 1-6, but the Diesel gave him a puncher's chance if his receivers turned up, nut Vegas disagreed, making the Steelers heavy favourites. CalX went into the lead on Thursday night with a Mason Crosby field goal and extra point whilst the Steeler's Aaron Jones and Davante Adams went scoreless. A good start, an encouraging start for the Posse in their visit to The Furnace, but...………. that was basically it. No scores on Sunday, not a single solitary one for the CalX.Message to The Commish… has this happened before? Now some scribes have cast doubts on the Diesel's rating of the Scunny in the draft review, but whilst Adamski raked up a credible 29points -the mean was 31.5 last week- he must be concerned with the scoreless effort of Alvin Kamara, but hey, Mahomes picked up where he left of last season with a three TD 378 yard game, including one from 68yards to Sammy Watkins. As long as Mahomes is playing like that, the Steelers will win more than they lose. Julio Jones snared one from two yards out and Greg Zuerline kicked three out of four field goals including one from 56 yards out and the same number of extra points. On to Monday night, and CalX were 23 points behind, and miracles don't happen, not even small ones even if you have Drew Brees suited up. A pair of TD tosses were all that the Orleans passer could manage. Final score: Caledonia Express 10 @ 29 Scunthorpe Steelers.  Next up for the Steelers in the uber competitive Bon Accord Division is the 1-0 Apaches. That should be a belter and too close to make a call just yet. Same could be said for CalX who play in the 55th (?, it's nearly hunners anyway!!) Garioch Bowl against the Gryphons who are also 0-1. Someone will end up 0-2. Some other interesting encounters....the unbeaten JL8 versus the equally unbeaten Kincorth Killers and one I especially am looking forward to.... the Lions up against the Blades.... they put up a combined 66 points last week and sit a combined 0-2! Finally a wee word of sympathy for Coach Darren of the Wellington Rising... anyone but the Bobcats or JL8 and you would have won your debut encounter in the ALFF... but you never. It can be hard to take, and I guarantee it will happen again down the road, but be assured one day in the not to distant future you will score 15 points and skoosh it but until then, you have the Drillers next week. It's a tough life!. Till next week, ciao!

 

DeAndre Double Dumps Darren

DeAndre Hopkins send the Bobcats sideline wild with this game winning TD.

In a game for the ages at Kauri Financial Stadium the two shiny new ALFF franchises announced their arrival in some style as the Broch Bobcats snatched a stunning 42-41 win over the gutted Wellington Rising with two late Monday night TD’s.  At one stage coach Butter’s charges  had raced out to a 38-06 advantage but the visiting Brocher’s closed to within 36-41 on the back of a hot late Sunday stanza before sealing the deal in dramatic fashion thanks to a timely DeAndre Hopkins scoring double.  The tie kicked off in frustrating fashion on Thursday with coach Rudi’s Chicago D putting up some decent numbers but not where it mattered most but the wait for scoreboard activity ended swiftly on Sunday. The early Sunday action could hardly have gone any better for the Rising. QB Kirk Cousin scored 9pts off of just 10 pass attempts ( yes attempts .. not completions which numbered only 8). RB Christian McCaffrey picked up where he left off in 2018  with a swift TD double while a potent looking WR crew, in which rookie T J Hockenson looked very impressive,  carded a full house of receiving TD’s. With Alshon Jeffery adding in a 2 yard run ( lateral my @rse) …  Steven Hauschka’s low energy 5pts  registered as something to be  a little disappointed about,  rather than game critical at that point…or so it seemed. Matt Ryan was a trifle fortunate to register two garbage time TD’s in the teeth of Wellington’s early Sunday onslaught but the Bobcats stepped it up in the second Sunday period with something of a points fest of their own. Austin Ekeler was the stand-out with 2 receiving TD’s (including a 55 yarder) preceding a late 7 yard ground counter but the compact rock carrier was ably supported by WR John Ross who finally emerged as a receiving threat with another 55 yard receiving TD along with a slightly more sedate 33 yard 3pt grab. Throw in a score for WR Randall Cobb and it would only have taken something above par from K Jason Myers to give the Broch combo the win at this point… but the Hawks specialist could muster just 3 PAT’s to lose the kicking duel  …. and it seemed their chance of debut glory may have gone. In truth Rudi had two bites of the cherry  Monday night to reverse a 36-41 deficit but as it turned out RB Phillip Lindsay was not required (just as well) as top pick DeAndre Hopkins immediately rewarded his coach’s faith in him with a sensational game clinching double… with scores of 2 and 14 yards. The victorious Broch outfit look to be the real deal and could put the cat in amongst the pigeons in a traditionally frenetic Granite Division. On this form they looked well balanced with only that kicking game a possible negative at this stage. On the other side of the ball Darren went through the good old ALFF wringer on his opening outing but really has to put this setback down as just a temporary one. To add insult to injury the Rising were the only Bon Accord Div side to lose on opening day and they now find themselves a game behind all 3 rivals, despite recording the highest tally of the four !! The Drillers may get some of the backlash in a juicy looking Week 2 match-up.

 

 

Drillers Wentz That Little Bit Extra

Wide-out Amari Cooper gets a vital score for the Drillers at Jerryworld.

I honestly can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for this season… no really, I can’t. Oh alright then: FOOTBAAAAAALL ISSSSSSS BAAAAAACK!!! I feel like we’ve been waiting in line at a theme park for the last month, I’ve finally got my wristband for the rides and now I get to go on them all! I mean, I might skip things which are just waaay too easy - like the Whack-A-Mole (Ravens @ Miami) - but I’m all for the exciting twists and turns offered by “Twisted Collosus Coaster” (Houston @ New Orleans). What will you choose? Either way, I wish you all the best – and don’t eat too many hot dogs! With three high-scoring games being decided by 3 points or less this week, some have to be left feeling hard done by. In the Lions @ Drillers, it was James’ turn to swallow his sadness having had an incredible DeSean Jackson performance entirely wiped out by the fact that the man throwing him these huge touchdowns… was a Driller. The contest got off to a pretty inauspicious start, as Aaron Rodgers had to maneuver his way through a tough Chicago defence to find Jimmy Graham for the only TD of the tilt. On to Sunday and Jimbeaux had a right to feel good about Todd Gurley seeming strong as ever despite not reaching the endzone. Damien Williams would rumble in for a short score for the Chiefs to get things moving in the RB department. For the Lions, there was nothing doing there as Leonard Fournette failed to do much of anything. Tyler Lockett left it a little late, but managed to got on the end of a 44 yard TD for his only catch of the game – he certainly made it count. The only problem with the Baltimore Ravens going off against the Miami Dolphins is that they were SO effective at scoring that Justin Tucker had to “settle” for a mere 11 points. Had the Dolphins been good enough to at least hold the Ravens ONCE more then this might have been a very different report. With such a heavy contingent of Philadelphia players across these two rosters, this was always going to be the most important clash of the evening. D-Jax turned back the clock and hauled in a huge 12(6) point showing on two 50+ yarders – as mentioned before, these were from Carson Wentz 15(6) on 3 scoring passes. There was some furious anger as Alshon Jerffrey’s second TD score was judged as a run rather than pass, which would have given Jim a little more wiggle room. Jake Elliott hit on a single FG and 3 PATs, before Amari Cooper would push the Drillers ahead in the latter of the Sunday games by 30-29. Sony Michel’s bagel would leave the Coach Hamilton’s side a whisker away from the Rickster, who was able to give Michael Thomas the night off on Monday. The Drillers first opening day win since 2016 has them happy as at 1-0, while the Lions will feel aggrieved to have lost their 3rd straight week 1 contest.

 

 

Too Early To Say If These Dolphins Are Tanking ?

Braves runner Chris Carson scores on a 10 yard reception.

Week 1 of the NFL season sees the return of the ALFF and with most seasons comes a fresh start and optimism for the year ahead; I said most didn’t I? Having purchased the NFL Game Pass for the first time I was looking forward to watching every game featuring  my Miami Dolphins this season; expecting to see the development of a new, young & exciting team! Then week 1 comes along and to quote the bard “The best made plans of mice and men….” etc. Suffice to say I’m already looking forward to the next draft! This seems to be a fad at the moment for any enterprise that has the word Dolphin anywhere on its books! The fixture makers at the ALFF brought together the Apaches & Dolphins in a week 1 Snowbird Bowl; yes I don’t know what that means either but it could just be another way of saying that the respective head coaches are now officially greybeards, hinting in 1 case at possible senility? Read on and you can be the judge! As this is week 1 there are no changes from a previous weeks fixture though had there been that may have helped 1 of these coaches with his selection process. Don’t know who that is yet? Check the banner again! The early action featured the Apaches QB in the very first game of the NFL season and from a conversation had at the Light Of Bengal post draft it was clear that Diesel had very high hopes this season for the retained Mitch Trubisky. With that in mind it should come as no great surprise to readers that week 1 was to put a severe dent in said optimism and Mitch had a night which didn’t include any interaction with the official score keepers – to wit zero points. Coach Percy had barely recovered from a fit of the chuckles at his opponents misfortune when his own QB Ben “I’ve never made a mistake in my life “ Cheeseburger replicated this feet whilst getting trounced by the best cheats in the history of sports; the World Champs Of Cheating if you will – and even if you won’t I will”. Goose eggs after both QB’s have (under)performed - in a record week for QB scoring - probably means this will be a feisty encounter settled by a mistake…so you know exactly where this is going. The Apaches running game brought the game to life even if the returns were the opposite of expectation. Lavvy Boy Bell was expected to get 50 carries and be the bell cow for the Jets however he received far fewer carries of the pigskin than anticipated and only managed 4 points via a receiving TD and a share in a 2 point conversion. Seattle’s Chris Carson unexpectedly fared much better with both a rushing and receiving TD producing a net 9 points and a 13 – 0 lead for the Apaches. Over Arnhall way, fresh from his holdout and new contract (no brown envelopes big enough there), Zeke Elliot responded with a rushing TD of his own to cut the Apaches lead to 7 points. The Apaches had the chance to put more pressure on the Dolphins with their trio of WR’s up first but the anticipation proved greater than the returns; Brandin Cooks & Julian Edelman failed to score leaving Keenan Allen as the lone success with a short TD catch. In response O J Howard didn’t contribute to the tally but Larry Fitzgerald (another Snowbird?) did have a lone TD for the Dolphins producing a score of 16 – 9 in favour of the Apaches. With neither D threatening to score the game looked done and dusted when Apaches kicker Goat Jowls had a 15 point evening putting the Apaches seemingly on easy street with a 31 – 9 lead. Not so fast! The MNF still had hope pulsing in the Dolphins hearts as they had 2 runners in that race whilst the Apaches had no more options but to watch and wait. The Raiders Josh Jacobs had a 2 TD night and 12 points in his ALFF bow and vet/Snowbird Emmanuel Sanders snagged a TD for the Broncos to reduce the Dolphins deficit to just 7 points trailing 31 -24. The stage was set for a dramatic comeback by the Dolphins when their kicker strode to the field. Point of order, the more astute of you will have noticed the word Dolphins in the name of the Arnhall franchise, this is actually a synonym for cock up in American football parlance and if nothing else Coach Compost is a man of his word and a cock up ensued! Despite being one of the very few coaches that drafts 3 kickers he managed to select 1 that was injured and thus was unable to contribute anything to proceedings so he didn’t so much “strode” as sat in his chair, feet up watching events unfold with a stiff one in hand – that’s a drink potty mouths! Zero points for his kicker meant a week 1 defeat as the Apaches sealed a narrow 31 – 24 victory. I’ve never been accused of schadenfreude so I take no pleasure in pointing out that had Coach Compost selected the available Matt Prater his 11 points would have made all the difference to the outcome. But of course I took no pleasure from relating this, I’m just wondering if it was an error or are the Dolphins tanking? Diesel snapped a 4 game losing streak in this series and now leads the RSS 11 – 7.

 

 

Amped Up Champs Zap The Birds

JL8's Derek Henry jumps the pile for his first score of the season.

The JL8 picked up where they left off in 2018 as the defending champions proved too strong for the notoriously slow starting Garthdee Gryphons in a comfortable 44-19 romp. Coach Cruickshank’s  side grabbed control of this Dee Valley derby  from the outset and never looked like letting their guard down as they ran up the highest score on the six game schedule. On this form the JL8 are candidates for a deep play-off run with QB Lamar Jackson’s eye-watering 16pts more than living up to his slightly eyebrow arching 1st Rd draft pick status although it will be interesting to see how the mobile passer fares against something better than a Miami “defence” that sometimes resembled 11 tackle dummies. RB Derek Henry was the other Walmington based big gun, his TD double quickly raising the champions total to 30 before Sunday was half done. By the time Wil Lutz booted his 14pt offering  in the NBC period the Cajun Cannon knew his contribution was of the cake decoration variety rather than anything more meaningful (but I did love that 58 yarder …. WHO DAT !!!). If there was a downside for Crackshot it was the injury to Tyreek Hill (karma methinks ?) and the dearth of points outside the big three scorers, that could spell problems when the big boys have a quieter night. Highlights for the Bayler in a somewhat forgettable road game  were  a very solid WR crew in the shape of Thielen & Golloday chipping in with a TD apiece ( with Kelce just missing out on making it a clean sweep) and  a foundational 9pts from kicker Dustin Hopkins … but when the Bayler looked for bricks to build on, a sub par 4pts from a flaky looking Jimmy Garroppollo at QB and a double blank from his running attack was all that was on offer. Top pick James Conner’s 10 carries for 21yards had better be a Week 1 blip … or Donny’s hopes to end his 5 year play-off famine could be challenged. It’s way too early to hit the panic button in Baylerville but  a soporific opener allied to an injury or two already,  has an all too familiar ring downbeat about it. As recently as 2012  the Gryphons were a noted hot starting combo with a 14-6 record. However a grim 1-6 saga in opening day fixtures since has dented that reputation. The RSS between the two coaches is now tied at 10-10.

 

 

Killers Keep Kool In Klassic

Killers RB Dalvin Cook reaches the ball over the goal-line on his 2nd TD of the night.

Many, many moons ago, a bunch of guys got together to form a fantasy league. Now here we are almost 30 years down the line and we are still going. Some of the names and faces have changed but this year we have 12 sides battling to get to the Bowl game, at the end of the season. The 2019 version sees 2 new teams taking part...a big Hello to the Bobcats and the Rising, as well as a few, well kent faces. Week One saw the Westburn Blades (now one of 2 Kiwi, based teams) take on the Kincorth Killers, in the 12th match between the 2 sides. This one had just about everything. It started looking like a blowout, and ended (almost) in a squeaker. The season got underway in Thursday night action, but not for these two sides. Sunday saw the Killers pile it on as they racked up the points. Dalvin Cook, went in from 19 and the goal line for a brace as he finished with21 rushes for 111 yards. Harrison Butker then tagged on another 16 with FG’s from 28, 25, 46 and 35 as well as 4 PAT’s. The action was beginning to look rather lopsided as Dak Prescott, got in on the act with 4 scoring passes. He hit his men from 28, 4, 21 and 25 yards as he went 28 of 32 for 401 yards. With 40 points on the board, the Killers must have felt this one was done and dusted, but the Blades had other ideas. Mark Ingram bagged a brace of scores from close in as he finished with 14 for 107 yards rushing. Evan Engram’s 1 yard catch added another 3, whilst David Johnson added another 3 with a 27 yard reception. This left the Blades 22 points short heading for Monday night. Not impossible, but a bit of a reach, none the less. Stui and his changes went for it. De Suen Watson led the charge with a 21 yard rushing score before connecting with his wide men from 2, 16 and 37 yards. He went 20 of 30 for 268 yards, but also had 1 intercepted as well as 6 sacks. Ka’imi Fairburn, became the last, best hope, but this proved to be too much as the Kicker was restricted to 4 PAT’s and no FG chances. So near but so far. The Killers post one in the win column, and have a 3 game, winning streak on opening day. They lead the ATS 10-2 and Stui has to look back to 2015 for his last win in the fixture. 37 points would have been good enough to win 3 of the other games, but not this one. Week one done and dusted, then, Players going down like nine pins and injury problems, beginning to mount. Basically the same old, same old and then some. 12 weeks to go in the regular season, and all to play for. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Player of the Week

RB Austin Ekeler has hung around the 2 Minute Drillers roster for a few seasons without making much impact… but the runner took full advantage of his new RB2 status on the Broch Bobcats team line-up with what turned into a match winning 15(3)pt effort. His 3 scores, catches of 1 & 55 yards and a 7 yard run were easily a career best and win the ball carrier the first Player of the Week prize for 2019.

 

 

Play of the Week

The only missing ingredient in a points rich Week 1 was a eight point running play.. but we still had our share of big passing plays. In terms of 12pointers there were two on offer… both featuring the  Drillers Carson Wentz to Lions DeSean Jackson hook up. The first was from 51 yard which was marginally outdone by the ultimate winner … a 53 yard scoring connection between two players on either side of the scoreline in the tight Lions @ Drillers showdown.

 

Sleeper of the Week

Coach Compost is nothing , if  not consistent. His well thumbed draft “strategy” (sic) always calls for 3 kickers on his draft day roster. This year was no different… but things had gone aglay a little this time round. By gameday the coaching Umpire didn’t pick up on the fact Mike Badgley was out injured and named the Charger as his starter. The ensuing nul point while back-up Matt Prater scored 11(2)pts proved to be game changing in Arnhall’s 24-31 loss to the Apaches. Prater & coach Sutherland scoop the Week 1 SOW honors 

 

 

 

 

 

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