While a Week 2 points drop off was expected and in truth something of a reality, the level of entertainment did not drop off with two 1pt games going down to the wire on the NBC phase and MNF respectively and a third decided by less than a FG. The biggest beneficiaries of it all were Bon Accord pace-setters the Scunthorpe Steelers & 2 Minute Drillers and the Granite Div’s early leaders the Kincorth Killers and (surprise package) the Broch Bobcats , all four of who remain undefeated at 2-0 after the first round of Divisional contests. There were first wins for the Laurel Lions and Garthdee Gryphons as the Pittodrie Div got off the mark but one big feature of the season thus far continued… as both NZ based outfits lost again… in tight relatively high scoring encounters as both wait for their first success of 2019. The Arnhall Dolphins early days woes continued as coach Sutherland went 0-2 for the first time in 13 years and it was a second straight spanking for coach Marty as his Caledonia Express posted a league week low 10pts for a second successive outing. On a positive note for the hurting Westburn Blades , Youngblood’s side recorded the first defensive score of the term after the first opening day D nul point in history but that was overshadowed big time by a rash of high profile injuries across the board , which will undoubtedly have a ripple effect across the League and there are already signs of heightened activity both in the transactions market and whispers of behind the scenes Trade activity. To find out more about the games check the reports below. As always at this juncture those who have started well can afford the luxury of looking to fine tuning a lit bit (which often goes sadly wrong) while the slow starters either have to tough it out and hope all come well… or head to the waiver wire. Either way no-one is down and out and although a couple might be calling for oxygen already… 2019 could still be your season. 12 games down 73 to go. Keep the faith !!!
Braves No Match For Stoked Up Steelers
Scunny's Julio Jones is off to the house on this 54 yard catch and run.
The imperious Scunthorpe Steelers coasted to their second victory of the campaign with an easier than expected 36-16 success over a sub par Argyll Apaches. The Braves briefly held an advantage at the conclusion of the early Sunday events but once QB Patrick Mahomes found his groove at the Oakland Coliseum the outcome was never really in doubt. Both coaches tinkered around the edges of their respective line –ups for this opening intra Divisional game on the Reservation. Coach Meek brought in Wk 1 SOW contender Sammy Watkins at WR and flip flopped his Jacksonville D ahead of his Oakland unit. The Geacher thought long and hard before making a late swap at QB, Baker Mayfield for Wk 1 flop Mitch Trubisky his only alteration. Regards the game itself Aaron Jones got the Steelmen’s first ground score of the campaign with a 2 yard blast (one in the eye for the Diesel !) before Mahomes set the scoreboard digits spinning with a awe inspiring 4 TD streak, with counting throws from 44, 42, 27 and 39 yards in a hot 2nd quarter purple patch in the Bay area. A good solid 9pts from Greg Zuerlein that included two short FG’s and 3 XP’s, saw off Goat Jowl’s earlier, slightly below the mean, 7pts for the Apaches but by the time Julio Jones scored with an initial 4 yard grab in the NBC stanza and then followed up with a highlight reel 54 yard catch sprint for a TD coach Adamski’s outfit were on easy street. A rather sorry Apaches effort saw goose eggs across the board with the exception of the aforementioned Gostkowski ( who did miss two XP’s ) , old Geacher favourite Brandin Cooks ( 2 yard receiving counter ) and a token 6pts from newly installed QB Baker Mayfield … although the 89 yard nature of that score does warrant mention. The defending Bon Accord Div champions and Bowl runners-up improve to 2-0 for only the 3rd time in franchise history and continue to wow the pundits (that’s the Vegas pundits rather than the Diesel ones). On the downside for Adamski, the Drew Brees injury may negatively impact Alvin Kamara’s output but that nagging detail apart Scunny look as well set as you could wish for at this juncture. Things are not so rosy down on the Reservation. Top pick Le’Veon Bell has yet to justify his 3rd player taken overall label and may struggle to do so behind a 3rd string (Jets ) QB, while the Pats soft schedule may dull the cutting edge that Gostkowski’s FG’s traditionally presents. Big G will need to marshall his troops before hosting the Drillers in a challenging looking Week 3 match-up. No need to hit the panic button just yet at 1-1 … but I’d suggest falling two games off the pace in what looks a very robust BA Div could be a deep hole to climb out of. The Meekster’s 4 straight win in the fixture gives him an overall 9-4 lead in the RSS.
Repeat Rising Robbery
WR Calvin Ridley snags a 34 yard TD grab for the Drillers.
It would appear that your scribe channelled his inner Nostradamus last week when he said this about the Wellington Rising and his opening day defeat at the hands of the Pittsburg Steelers despite scoring a ruckle of points... "It can be hard to take, and I guarantee it will happen again down the road". I got that right, but I just didn't expect it to be so soon, and here we have the Kiwi based outfit sitting on a precarious 0-2 in the Bon Accord Division despite being that Division's top scorers, and the fourth top scorers overall. If it wasn't for no luck etc etc and indeed, etc. The game didn't get off to a great start for the Rising when Christian McCaffrey went scoreless on Thursday night, but come Sunday, things began to look up a tad when Saquon Barkley ran from the 27 in Metlife Stadium, Kirk Cousins (personal opinion: never an NFL QB) threw a 45 yarder and Josh Lambo-Field kicked two field goals. Then..... things got spicy over at the Hard Luck Stadium in Miami.... The Pats returned a pair of Ryan Fitzpatrick chucks for two pick-sixes. So after the early games on Sunday, with Amari Cooper replying for the Drilling Crew, the score was 27-3. Now as a veteran of over twenty years experience in this league, I can tell you this..... you get over twenty five points in any given game then you will win more than you lose, for sure. Unless of course you are the Wellington Rising, henceforth to be known as the Old Boots, then you won't. Sunday came and went, with Todd Gurley getting in from the four to make it 27-9 to the Boots. The Commish went big on the Eagles in the draft, and true to form, they came up with the goods in the late, late game....and with the recalled Falcon Calvin Ridley further reduced the reduced the score when he caught a 34 yard TD, it was getting close to itchybum time for Coach Darren. Two second quarter field goals from kicker Elliot reduced the deficit to 27-18, then a third quarter four yard throw by Carson Wentz further reduced the leeway to six points, but with three minutes left, the Drillers were still behind. Shirley? Shirley not. Wentz ran in from the one yard line to make it even scores then... then...Wentz completed the two point conversion to Zack Ertz and his solitary point from that play made the final score 28-27. Nae Donald Duck for Coach Darren. (Donald Duck? Ask Stuie). Fings won't get any easier next week for the Boots when the Steelers come a calling to the Wee Australia, but hope springs eternal. Still a 0-3 start isn't that bad really. OK, I lie it's shite, but there we go. As for the Drillers, they face the long haul down The Long And Winding Road to take on long time Divisional rivals the Apaches. The Drillers will be Vegas favourites I should think, but hey, as me Old Granny used to say to me when she sat me on her lap years and years ago, "You're an ugly little fucker, aren't you". Mind you, I was 38 at the time. Till next week, ciao.
Bobcats Bounce Dolphins DiveBomb
RB Austin Ekeler goes over the top for his Bobcats TD.
The 2019, ALFF, season see the league go with 12 teams again, this time with 2, freshman, sides. They come from opposite ends of the globe. One team in deepest, darkest Wellington, New Zealand and one in Exotic Fraserburgh….or should that be the other way round. Whatever! The other 10 sides are old stagers and should know what to expect (No one expects the Spanish Inquisition….etc..etc) Week one saw the Bobcats pull of a stunning win and rack up 42 points. With that in mind they opted for the same again this week. The Dolphins made one change to week 1’s line up with Prater taking the kicking duties; Hobson’s choice in this case as he was the only one suited and booted. No action on Thursday meant this one was packaged into Sunday action. This turned out to be the tale of the Quarterbacks. Mad Fish had gone with Ben Roethlisberger, hoping he would ignite the game, but this was not to be. He lasted 8 of 15 for 75 yards before before departing from the action, and may be gone for the season. Emmanuel Sanders got them on the board with a 7 yard catch as well as a share of a 2 point conversion. Matt Prater, contributed a single PAT as well as missing another. Ezekiel Elliot’s 2 yard rumble got them into double figures, but the writing was pretty much on the wall. John Ross III, continued his early season form with a 66 yard pass, before Myers 4 PAT’s got the Bob’s within touching distance. Ekeler’s 6 yard run saw them take the lead, before Matty Ryan added the icing and sprinkles to the night. He connected on scoring passes of 34, 4 and 54 yards and finished the evening with 27 of 43 for 320 yards, 3 interceptions and 1 sack. Done and dusted. The Bobcats move to 2-0 and will be pleased with things so far. They are neck and neck with the Killers in the Granite Division, and now move to face the reigning champion JL8 in week 3. That could prove to be stiff test and a benchmark for the season. They have one of the surprise packages of the season so far in, wideout John Ross III, and look to have potential in most departments The Dolphins drop to 0-2, and their worst start since 2006. They now have Quarterback problems to add to their Kicking woes, and may have to head to the transaction mart to try and resolve these issues; and sooner rather than later. Week 3 pitches them in against the Killers, and 3 games back is quite a gap to try to close. They are one of 4 sides looking for their first victory of the year, and getting that monkey off your back is always difficult. Two down and 11 to go. Let’s see what week three brings.
30 For 40 Is Killer Award Winner
Killers RB Dalvin Cook breaks away to score on a75 Yd TD run.
Coach McGeachy Jnr celebrated the big 40 in style as his Kincorth Killers snatched a dramatic 30-29 come from behind win over the JL8 with a late piece of pure OBJ magic. Trailing 24-29 deep into the 3rd quarter in the Monday night action the Special K looked to be heading to a crucial Division setback at the Slaughterhouse at the hands of their bitter local rivals but a career best 89 yard TD grab from Beckham had the Porty punters out of their seats to hand the JL8 their first taste of loser cake since the last game of the 2018 RS campaign. Feeling the pressure from some nagging injuries Andrew had earlier swapped out RB Joe Mixon with Jordan Howard and pushed in Marvin Jones ahead of Hunter Henry at WR 3 although neither change would prove fruitful and his decision to throw Tom Brady in at QB ahead of Week 1 stand-out Dak Precott would ordinarily have looked to be eyebrow arching….. but when the Tankphins are the opposition then all bets are off (Patriots were a popular pick across the score-sheet this week) . The visiting HC had his share of treatment room issue as well, although at least his were a little more clear cut (doubtful Mixon not only played but scored !) , opening the door for rookie RB Devin Singletary to debut on the ALFF stage while vet Kenny Stills was handed the daunting task of handing Tyreek Hill’s vacant berth. A Thursday night goose egg from yet to score WR Mike Evans was not the best of starts for the Killers but that was quickly forgotten as Dalvin Cook struck early on Sunday with a stirring 75 yard TD scamper. QB Tom Brady justified his selection (but did not outscore benchwarmer Dak) with a 12pt offering that featured two mid range TD tosses and a goal –line sneak putting coach McGeachy’s outfit in a strong early position. The champions responded with a Lamar Jackson TD double… a customary short range TD rumble from Derek Henry and most pleasing from a coach C perspective , a 14 YD score from debutant Devin Singletary. With Kinkers ahead 20-18 the late Sunday action boiled down to the kicking duel between Butker and Lutz , with the latter winning that duel comprehensively 11-04 to give the whole tenor of the contest a different feel with the JL8 now 29-24 to the good. Jordan Howard didn’t move the needle for the champs in the NBC period setting up a Monday night showdown between Jarvis Landry (the Jets Defence) & OBJ at Met Life. As we seen it was the Killers player who came through with a theatrical big play to snatch a stunning 30-29 victory for his side. The Killer improve to 2-0 and currently bracketed with the Steelers by Vegas as the dreaded early season favorites. Coach McGeachy Jnr’s combo have strength at the key positions and this key win may loom large by Week 13. The JL8 will score less and win this term but there might be some angst in Walmington around a WR corps that has yet to get off the mark through Week 2. With the 3 top scoring sides in the GDiv… it looks like another battle royale in the grouping that has provided the last two Bowl winners. Ronnie lead in the RSS between the two coaches has been cut to 11-10.
Jimmy Jives As Brees Busted
James Conner puts the Gryphons on the winning trail with a 2 yard run.
Week 1 saw both Flying Garioch Brothers fail to take off, but this week heralded the opportunity for at least one of them to get their seasons off the ground. In the much anticipated(?) Garioch Bowl XLIV, the Garthdee Gryphons took advantage of an Express side losing their prized signal-caller to smash-and-grab the win on the day. Coach Marty’s side looked remarkably different this week with 5 changes to the line-up with James White and Malcolm Brown in the backfield, Phillip Dorsett and Willie Snead in at wideout and the KC defence stepping in. Donny was more content to rely upon better execution this week, as his side went unchanged – although there was apparently some consideration given the Case Keenum at QB, Jimmy G remained. Garroppopotamus repaid his coach’s faith in him with a 3TD performance with scores form 38, 39 and 2 yards out. 1st overall pick, James Conner, got on the board again from close range, but he lost is QB in the process, so opportunities could (perhaps) dwindle through the season. Lions wideout Kenny Golladay went way up and came down with an incredible catch for a score in the their shock win over the Chargers and Travis Kelce caught one of four 2nd quarter TDs to put up three of his own. Dustin Hopkins was not required much in his match up other than for 3 PATs, which he duly converted to put the Phonz to 24 points on the day. Over to the Cove side of the ball and James White added a garbage time TD reception against the Dolphins – although, it could be said that “garbage time” against this Dolphins roster is, in fact, the entire game. Dallas kicker, Brett Maher, nailed a lone fieldgoal and four PATs, but other than that, there was a worrying number of bagels being dropped on the board. Of these no-shows, none was more worrying than that of star QB Drew Brees, who is now set to miss up to 6 weeks with a hand injury. For the second week in a row, Marty’s side could only muster 10 points and they will be without their preferred QB for a sizable chunk of the season. Having Jared Goff seems like a reasonable safety net, so hope is not lost yet. The Express have started 0-2 in six of the last seven seasons, but still made the playoffs in four of those. The Donster Truck will be happy to have ended his skid of 6 straight losses in the series, gets his first W of the season and extends his lead in the RSS to 24-20.
Lions Made Blades Suffer
QB Aaron Rodgers played his part in tight Lions success.
From the outset I must declare that several references in this report will only make any kind of sense for readers of a certain age. After starting this campaign without a win between these sides, something, unless there was a near impossible tie, had to give. 0 – 2 is not the start dreams are made of, except for the folks in Miami of course. (Number 1 pick in the draft being at stake, they’ll cock even that up, probably against the dullard Gase and his NY bumblers). Any road I digress, would it be the Blades cutting a fine figure at 1 – 1 or would the Lions regain some pride and garner that first win of the season? Answers on a postcard, no scratch that, just carry on reading this tripe and all will be clear. Despite the week 1 mishap these were the sides that Vegas fancied for the Pittodrie Division Crown and the same source had the Blades a narrow 1 point favourite in this week’s encounter. To the team lines then and first up the Lions, Coach H didn’t want another tragedy this week but staid pretty much pat with the previous weeks line-up; the only change was the eye brow raising swap out of Leonard Fournette at RB for Marlon Mack. Down South NZ way coach Stuie went for a WR re-shuffle that Ashton, Gardener & Dyke would have been proud of. In came premier WR’s Josh & Antonio – that’s Gordon & Brown for the less politically savvy and though not so politically correct from here on in they will be referred to as the dope & the criminal. Stephon Diggs was the WR who made way for the dope or criminal and the newly acquired Panthers D made their bow. The first score of this game was on the TNF where the recently acquired Panthers D scored the first defensive points of the ALFF season with a safety and a 2 - 0 lead for the Blades. The QB battle was the very definition of parity; Aaron Rodgers, despite giving his head coach a bit of the verbals, had a solid 6 point night for the Lions and the Blades Deshaun Watson replicated this feet securing 6 apiece and an 8 – 6 lead for the antipodean franchise. These coaches do love parity so we can all guess at how the RB battle would turn out can’t we? The Lions Mack Truck didn’t leave the garage but team mate Sony Michel was down in Miami – “down in Miami” does sound like a mission statement doesn’t it? – so it was only a question of how many would he score and the answer is that the cheat managed 1 and 6 points. The Blades Mark Ingram didn’t bother the scorers but former Liverpool striker David Johnson did hit the onion bag or more precisely got into the end zone for a lone score and 6 points. When the Lions Philadelphia D was kept in check the kicking battle was up next and surely something had to give…and it did. The Laurel Lions – (I can’t say that name without the dulcet tones – that’s a joke for anyone who had a heart - - of Cilla Black coming to mind) Justin Tucker blootered a game changing 13 points including the now standard bonus 2 points meaning the Blades needed an immediate riposte from Kid Fairbairn. One did swiftly arrive however it was of the more pedestrian 7 point variety leaving the Lions with a 25 – 21 lead. The final curtain would only fall after the prima donnas of the NFL had been centre stage so enter the ego centric WR’s. The Lions triplets had little to shout about post game as Desean Jackson and Tyler Fishermen’s Friend, sorry Locket manage to end the day the same way they started, holding goose eggs; the Lions sole contributor was the ever reliable Zak Ertz but even he could only muster a single point as part of a 2 point conversion. With all his troops exhausted Coach H could only watch and wait, trepidation being the foremost feeling in his psyche as the Blades had 2 cheats to come and in the real world they were up against the dreadful Dolphins and I’m not talking about the Arnhall branch either! The Blades 3 rd WR Evan Engram couldn’t find the end zone – it is difficult when your QB can’t get the ball beyond the line of scrimmage without it bouncing to the ground off some pesky defender - so the scene was set for the cheats’ duo to seal the win for the New Zealanders. In the end the criminal performed an adroit push off – isn’t that cheating? - to secure his 3 points and narrow the gap to 26 – 24 for the Lions but in a hugely surprising and disappointing night for Stuie the dope wasted his opportunities and failed to score thus ensuring a narrow win for the Lions 26 – 24. I don’t wish to add to the antipodean angst but if the dope hadn’t been selected and the deposed Mr Diggs had retained favour the result would’ve gone the other way. Ye pay yer money and ye tak yer chances! Win number 1 of the nascent season sees Coach H take small steps towards his play-off goal and a 1 – 1 record – have I mentioned parity anywhere in this missive? - means that he’s now back on track. Coach Stuie despite going 0 – 2 shouldn’t lose heart as his losses have been by a FG or less so better times are just around the corner. (I don’t want to put a crimp on that thought but as a Dolphan I’ve being saying that for 20 years and well…still waiting)! Coach H and his Division leading Liuons lead the RSS 5-4
Sleeper of the Week
It would be churlish at this stage to go awarding SOW’s to coaches missing out on a 3pt WR in a tight match-up… (Diggs, McLaurin, Metcalf) so in the absence of a big points headline grabber .. the 2nd 2019 Sleeper of the Week award goes to Mike McGeachy of the Argyll Apaches for keeping back-up K Joey Slye on the bench in favour of old man Goat Jowls….who looked to me like a man most likely to be adding on PAT’s most of the might. Slye’s 16(4)pt Thusday offering outmatched the incumbent by 9pts… and although the Braves ultimately lost by a street… the net 9pt drop off resulting in the SOW this time round.
Player of the Week
It was tight call for Player of Week between the Lions Justin Tucker and the Killers Dak Prescott but in the end I had to go for the latter. The out of contract (extension) passer connected on scores of 51, 2 and 10 yards on his way to 12 vital points … to edge the Wk 2 POW.
Play of the Week
When you win a crucial Divisional thriller against a key rival and your RB 1 rattles off the first 8pt play of the year, you can be sure it will be in the conversation for Play Of the Week…with predictable results. The Killers runner’s 75 yard run is the Week 2 aware winner in this category.