The League's 25th Anniversary fixture card provided its fair share of up's and downs in what was a weird and wild NFL weekend ! As a tribute to our first fixtures played on Sep 27th & 28th , 1992 I have posted up a updated copy (format wise) of the old Wordstar generated Week 1 Score-sheet (it was NFL Week 4). Click on the link to immerse yourself in it. Back to the modern day there were some significant results this time round, none more so than in the Granite Division where we all four sides still have 100% records. The good news Arnhall Dolphins & Kincorth Killers are in the 3-0 corner with the Desperados and Pirates still licking their wounds at 0-3. In 25 previous seasons we have never had a Divisional split of this nature... the fact it is in the traditionally drum tight Granite Division is all the more mind boggling. Right now both 3-0 outfits still have questions marks about their depth... but with strong core bases have the potential to kick onwards and upwards. Elsewhere the 2 Minute Drillers served notice of their intentions as the Commish sprang a Bandit like surprise by benching QB Drew Brees (and picking up Jared Goff) enroute to a 40-24 demolition of the still winless Wrecking Rebels. The Argyll Apaches did much to recover from a scratchy opening two weeks with a more comfortable than expected 26-17 win over the Scunthorpe Steelers and its beginning to look like it will be a tough old race between between Adamski, the Geacher and the Ricker. It's much the same story in the Pittodrie Div where the Laurel Lions showed some form to overcome a feisty Garthdee Gryphons combo and deny the Bayler his first 3-0 start since 2011, while coach Marty got a rare break with a low scoring 19-10 win over the out of sort Blades that sees his charges join the aforementioned Lions and Birds on the 2-1 mark. Coach Inkster is still looking for his first taste of ALFF winning pie but his side have seen steady improvement week on week and a first success is surely just around the corner. Week 3 is still way too early to make any bold predictions but slowly a picture is forming .. more on the have not side of the equation... but injuries and transactions can still turn things on their head in a heartbeat. On the points side of things we have still not quite synced up with the NFL , which enjoyed a wild weekend of scoring while we just fell short of the 300pt mark. WR scoring is on track for a record low... but we have seen that before and enjoyed a late season rally...but its Defences in particular that are MIA. Two defensive scores through 3 weeks is unprecedented (even with the Geacher & Mad Fish's week 2 selection antics) and although rarely a big deciding factor it is a concern we have not seen more. Next week we reach the end of the early season period.. with bye weeks and the critical mid season phase on the horizon. 18 games down... 3-0 or 0-3... or somewhere in between ... YOU are still in contention. Happy 25th to US !!
Drillers Are More Than A Little Gurley In Rolling Rebs
Todd Gurley scores on this 7 yard TD grab for the Drillers
Hit the rewind button to the first ever round of ALFF fixtures 25 years ago this very weekend and you would find the Commissioner's 2 Minute Drillers seeing off coach McConnachie (Snr's) Rosemount Wreckers 38-24 ...so there was more than a hint of bookend about the Drillers Week 3 , 40-24 victory of the latest incarnation of the old Rosemount franchise , the jointly Mac coached Wrecking Rebels. To take things a little further on our 25th anniversary weekend the Ricker's outfit answered a 25 year bell as they replied to the first points EVER score in ALFF history , David Treadwell's 23 yd FG for the Wreckers in that long ago fixture... with a huge 24pt offering on Thursday night at Levi Stadium that had some added irony and spice !! The Big Mac's have made it something of a (new) franchise signature to studiously ignore the Thursday night fixture .. so to wake up Friday morning facing a 24pt mountain to climb... 9 of those points having being added by their 2016 QB nightmare Jared Goff.. there had to be a feeling of pending doom in the McConnachie camp. To be fair it was Todd Gurley rather than Goff who was the key 2 Minute performer in the Bay Area... not only catching a 7 yard counter from his new QB but layering on 2 rushing TD's on top to complete a Drillers whirlwind opening that brought back memories of some Robert Smith inspired Thanksgiving starts of old. Buoyed by their impending dose of live NFL action the Mac's squared called in their team from Wem Bell EEEE ... and despite their modest 0-2 start to the campaign it was very much "Play it Again Sam" with an unchanged starting eight. By 17:00 and the Ravens trailing 44-00 .. Mike and Andy maybe sensed it was not going to be their weekend !! Coach Rickaby , having already surprised many by not only picking up Goff but giving him the start, sought to capitalize on his big time opening. WR Rishard Matthews joined Drew Brees on the "bad NFL match-up" pile and was supplanted by the tactical selection of WR Mohammed Sanu (not quite a coaching masterpiece.. you win some.... you lose some !) . Michael Thomas came close to doing the same but retained his starting berth. The Drillers saw a very quick reward for Sanu's inclusion as he "spiked" New Rebs QB Matt Ryan's opening 4 yard score and it quickly became obvious that there was little way back for the Bon Accord Div's only winless outfit as the widely expected route of the Saints D by Christian McCaffrey (Cam) and company simply never materialised. A swift Legarrete Blount goal line TD padded the Drillers score to 33 pts and to the amazement of all ( including the Commish).. Michael Thomas even got in on the scoring act in Charlotte, hooking a 5 yard TD grab. WR duo Gronk and Zac Ertz did lead some New Rebs resistance but with Matt Ryan only carding one further TD pass, rookie K Aldrick Rosas' sub par 6pt contribution all but ended the tie as a contest. RB Melvin Gordon put some lipstick on the pig with an 11 yd TD run but the retained ball carrier could not muster near enough points to force last Driller out, K Dan Bailey , to even have to think about a comeback scenario. The Drillers improve to 2-1 and are looking competitive alongside the Apaches and Steelers in the BA grouping. The Commish still sees his side as a work in progress but has at last addressed his imbalance at QB where two aging passers were causing him some concerns. Don't be shocked to see some more moves on their roster. The New Rebs drop to 0-3 and probably need at least one win in the tank before facing the Apaches in what looks like a must win Week 6 clash. Few sides have done better than a wildcard after going 0-3 in their Division. The Commish now leads the RSS 3-2 and gained a little revenge for his Rd 3 play-off exit at the hands of the Double Mac's in 2016.
The Dolphins Victorious As Dolphins Defeated ?
Russell Wilson threw 4 TD passes for the Fins despite constant pressure.
Well how was that for a crazy week? Ravens blown out by the Jags (ft. the human meme that is Blake Bortles (https://twitter.com/bortlesfacts?lang=en ), the Saints stuff the Panthers, Pittsburgh stumble to Chicago, the Jets win a game, Packers beat the Bungles in OT, the (cheating b*stard) Pats JUST beat the Texans… what’s next? The Browns winning 10 games?! The Geecher actually landing a good joke at the draft?! Truly, anything seems possible now! Speaking of “crazy”, having recently escaped from the looney bin after picking someone else’s defence in week 2, the Clinically Insane Fish (or “The Fudd Formerly Known As The Madfish” to fans of his older works) opted to stick with what works – sans someone else’s defence. On the other side of the field, the sanity of Coach Ronnie has never in doubt, if only because we knew that he was never sane in the first place – which comes in very handy for getting out of parking tickets. Tevin Coleman was preferred to Derrick Henry with AJ Green returning at WR along with newcomer Phil Dorsett. The newly acquired Miami kicker, Cody Parkey, completed the overhaul at kicker. So, it turns out that having a kicker going up against the Jets is not as safe a bet as we may have been led to believe; certainly not if you have the anaemic Miami offence in front of you. What could be worse than seeing your NFL team get stuffed by the Jets? Why having them represent four slots in your fantasy team, of course! Ajayi, Landy, Parkey and the Miami D had the Desperados struggling from the first hike. Aaron Rodgers looked like he was going to compound the Ronster’s misery until he found his groove in the second half, completing a trio of short range TDs. A.J. Green fought hard for his 3 point contribution – snatching the ball from a defender across the middle from 10 yards out. Things were a bit more fruitful for the ALFF Dolphins with Russell Wilson slugging 4 TDs past the Titans for 12 points. Chandler Cantanzaro must have almost felt bad for Cody Parkey just sitting there on the bench, but he did his job with a couple o’ boots from 40 and 22 and a PAT double. The action was rounded off in style by Ezekial Elliot’s nifty 8 yard TD score, to settle things off at 26-12. So the Dan’s fish-in-one-basket approach backfired catastrophically, leaving the rest of the side to pick up the slack. In fairness, I don’t think anyone predicted that Miami would play THAT badly against a Jets team who have been playing like a pub league team so far this season. But hey-ho, dems the breaks, as they say. Plenty of opportunities to get back into this thing – starting against yours truly next week. Don’t go discovering some hidden savant power this week, please Ron :-) In terms of opportunities, Coach Sutherland is looking a golden one. 3 wins from 3 is a great platform to build on. Ian swept the series last term, so this makes for a 3rd straight win. Ronnie still leads RSS between coaches at 13-10, however he is only 8-9 RSS as the Dans HC.
Lions Manning Up
WR Jordy Nelson pulls in a vital 1 yard score for the Lions.
Week three of the 2017 ALFF regular season and things are beginning to develop. The 12 coaches involved have all had a look at their squads and made decisions about trades and replacements. The Crimson Haybaler found himself having to drop his Kicker (gone for the season) and one of his special teams. No point in having 2 if the share the same by week. Over at the Lions James decided to drop Nick Foles and take a risk on Jacoby Brissett. That brought us to this week 4 match up. The Lions thought about handing a start to Brissett, but opted to stay with Eli Manning. They also dropped DeMarco Murray, as they did not fancy his chances against the Hawks. They opted to go with a 4 WR set: for only the 2nd time, ever. In came Chris Hogan in the 4th slot. Adam Vinatieri was also recalled at kicker. Back at the barn Ole Crimson went with Chris Thompson in the backfield, and recalled Randall Cobb as a wide man. The kicking duties remained with Nick folk. Vegas gave the Gryphons a 2 point edge, but this one was always going to go down to the wire. The vast majority of the action came on Sunday night, and this one had points. Eli justified his place with passes from10, 4 and 77 yards for 12 points. He finished 35 of 49 for 366 yards and 2 interceptions. Kirk Cousins replied with scoring passes from 22, 18 and 52 yards; on a night when he was 25 of 30 for 365 yards and 1 sack. Devonta Freeman scored for the third consecutive week on a 1 yard run, whilst Thompson maned to catch the 22 yarder that Cousins aired out. When Baldwin reeled in a 4 yard catch, things were looking good. The Lions then began to road. Jordy Nelson bagged a brace of catches (from the 3 and the 1), whilst Chris Hogan completed on catches from the 7 and 47 yard marks. DeShuan Jackson caught a 25 yarder, and the complexion of the game had changed. Vinatieri added 4 PAT’s and a 31 yard FG, to make it 34 points for the Lions. Nick Folk clawed back 5 with a 40 yard FG and 2 PAT’s, leaving the gap at 5 points with the Cards special teams to come on the Monday. In the event they came up scoreless (all 12 starting, special teams this week, did the same) and this one was history. The Lions move to 2-1 and will be more than happy with this win. It could have been even more emphatic if they had gone with Brissett and Murray in the squad, adding another 15 points, but it never pays to second guess yourself. As it stands their wide man saw them to the winning line. They will meet the Apaches in week 4 action. They make it 2 wins in a row against the Birds and have 3 of 4 overall. The Gryphons drop to 2-1 and know that this one might have slipped through their fingers. They could have squeaked it by playing Eliot rather than Folk, but remember what I said about second guesses, earlier on. That’s just the way things go. Week 4 sees the Rebels come calling, and a chance to get back to winning ways…well maybe. Lots still to happen and plenty of time for things to blossom…or fall apart. All depends on whether you are a glass half full or glass half empty person. My position is…who’s round is it anyway? See you in seven.
Player of the Week
Other's scored more points.. but no other QB was under as much pressure as the Lions Eli Manning. The signal-caller was within a whisker of being dropped ... with his coach definitely in the market for a new QB... and looked dead and buried at one point... before unleashing a swift TD treble burst, including a 77 yarder (to unactivated Driller Sterling Shepard). His 12(3)pt effort gave the defending champs the win over the Gryphons and kept coach H's side from dropping 2 games off the early pace. Eli Manning is the Week 3 Player of the Week.
Play of the Week
Through Week 2 the Apaches were still looking for their first points at RB and WR... and finally got a bunch in both departments. Pick of those was T Y Hilton's amazing 61 yard scamper that was almost all him ... as he left DB's in his wake. Hilton's brilliance earns the Week 3 POW prize.
The Bell Tolls For The Braves At Last
T Y Hilton fakes out the DB's en route to a 61 yard TD catch for the Braves.
When Le'Veon Bell fell into Geronimo's hands, the Apache Head honcho was one happy chappy. This shaped the remainder of his draft.... the running back duo was set and he could relax, knowing that after only one round, he was set in that position and a non-priority #3 runner was needed.... who.....Doug Martin! Surely nobody was going to pick the Tampa Bay man early as he was suspended for the first four games....Coach McGeachy had a cunning plan... a plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a fox, and he eyed round #8 to nab him if he was still there, and that would be the icing on the sultana cake for the Apache's running game as Martin would have surely been a fourth rounder max if he wasn't suspended . Gotcha! Now what could possibly go wrong? David Johnson going down in the first game of the season, that's wot. Man plans, God laughs, and going in to this game, only Cheeseburger and Gostkowski have troubled the scorers for the Apaches whilst the rest of the much-vaunted offence has badly misfired. The unchanged Steelers have relied on rookie Kareem Hunt this year to put the points up, but there seems to a sense that if he doesn't score then Adamski might struggle a wee bit and the jury is out as to whether the Marshawn Lynch gamble will pay off, and only time will tell on that one. Hunt did indeed score , a wonderfull 69yard dash in a 172 yard game showing, but he found precious little support from his peers....Jameis Winston had two touchdowns, the first one a 25 yarder, the second a throw from the 15 in a very poor day at the office for him (80% QB rating!), Bradley Walsh took time off from Doctor Who to kick three extra points, and that was it, 17 points, well below the mid 20 range that Adamski has enjoyed so far this year. That is not a game winning total usually, but against a mediocre Apache offence, it might be enough? Sadly for the Steelers, no. Cheeseburger had a solitary touchdown pass, a 7 yarder to Antonio Brown, (and I think that Big Ben's bones may be starting to creak a wee bit), but LeVeon Bell ran in his first of the season from the one, and TY Hilton (who was almost dropped for Mike Wallace!) snared a 61 yarder his first of the season and that made all the difference. Fellow wideout Brandin Cooks also broke his duck with a pair of TDs and a two point conversion. Another Patriot, Stephen Gostkowski hit a season low four points, but is was enought to give the Apaches their second win of the season, 26-17 the final score. Next up for Geronimo is a real humdinger against the neutral's popular choice as champions, the 2-1 Calendonia Express. CalX would look to be favourites here in this game having scored around 60% more points than the Kintyre based outfit.... the Patriots game with Gillislee Cooks and Gostkowski all involved should make for interesting viewing for both coaches I should think. The Steelers will look to bounce back from this loss against Geacher the Elder but they have Geacher The Youngers too-hot-to-trot Killers next, and the Killers are on fire.... will we see the return of Deshone Kizer next week perhaps? He does offer a running threat from close to the endzone. The Steelers do have the consolation of leading the H2H 5-4. Finally, the Diesel has asked me inform you all that the three teams he gave an "A" grading to (Apaches, Dolphins & the Killers) are sitting a combined 8-1, whilst the three that got a "D" (Lions, Pirates & the Wreckers) are 2-8. Just sayin'.
Kincorth's Killers B's Sting Pirates
Killers QB Tom Brady threw 5 TD tosses for Geacher the Younger.
Blades Go Down Under Posse Atttack
Posse big play WR Tyreek Hill hauls in this 30 yard TD.
Good grief is it only week 3 in this year’s ALFF? This is going to be a long year for some of us & the way I’m currently feeling a long last year; not so for the heid bangers in charge of the two storied franchises involved in the encounter about to be described. I was going to make a big deal about this being a battle for the ages – an old versus young odyssey until it was pointed out by the Commish that head coach of the Westburn Blades (that was to be the young part)Stuie has now coached longer (198 games) than Alexander Steven Bothwell (197 games - not his age) his aged paterfamilias and hasn’t, at least physically, deteriorated at anything like the same devastating rate!! So it’s more an ancient versus a not so young youngster – I know I wrote it but I’m not sure I get it so what hope do you dear reader have? Like I give a flying….. Any road up both sides entered on identical records at 1 – 1 so something had to give. The Blades made a tactical switch of J Stewart for L McCoy at RB and then dropped WR J Graham for K Stills. No comment is necessary regarding the futility of selecting a Dolphin…any Dolphin. (I hope that hasn’t destroyed any sense of tension in this missive?)! Over in posseville, this being week 3, it had to be time for the posse QB carousel to kick in and so it proved with M Mariotta replacing all time Commish favourite Cam Newton; M Ingram came in at RB 2, J Smith-Schuster debuted at WR & the Saints D replaced the Houston D to complete this week’s line-up. Now the Vegas View predicted a narrow Blades victory which may have surprised some punters, true the Blades have the league’s top ranked QB but the Posse are tops in RB, WR & points…I know where my moolah would be going! The early action at Wembley saw L Fournette rush for a lone Blades TD in a somewhat unexpected blow-out. In a sidebar am I the only one that had the feeling that the Ravens posted this game in? There had been rumblings about them being unhappy at having this fixture in Blighty and Ravens QB Joe Thicko – who had never been out of bigotsville – had raised the question as to whether such a backward country had indoor plumbing or not? (No I am most definitely not kidding)! This proved to be the only action of moment concerning all 4 running backs; Stewart, Gillislee & Ingram all had the proverbial goose egg. The QB battle saw Blades M Mariotta in mid-season form (what does that phrase actually mean?) and his 9 point tally included 3 bonus points for a big ‘un. Over Westburn way Derek Carr – according to NFL.com , the hottest QB in the league- found the ball too hot to handle and was lucky to contribute the 3 points that he did. With the game tied at 9 apiece the WR clash would go a long way towards settling the outcome. Oops! With a Derek Carr target and a Dolphin making up 66% of the Blades WR corps u know this isn’t looking promising for the Westburn faithful. If you throw in (sic) M Bennet who may have had his worst, among many, night as a pro, a grand tally of zero points for this trio would not come as a surprise. So everyone put on their most unsurprised faces please as they indeed failed to score; in fact it’s possible, though I’ve not checked, that at least one of these players didn’t have a single catch! It has to be said that the number 1 ranked WR’s of the CalX didn’t fare much better; only T Hill managed a lone score whilst A Hooper (who he?) & the previously mentioned Smith-Schuster matched the Blades effort. The defensive battle? Well surprisingly (insert small chuckle) the Saints D failed to score for the CalX as did the Seahawks for the Blades so, as so often happens in our league – (unless your kicker is a Dolphin) – victory would be decided by the kicker battle. Alas for the Blades the 3 point deficit wouldn’t even be rubbed out by J Tucker who managed a lone point whilst CalX counterpart G Gano netted an average 7 to hand victory to the CalX by a 19 – 10 margin. Not a high scoring encounter perhaps but that all important W is all that the CalX will care about. Last season the series was split and the sides could hardly be better matched historically as this win puts the Clax (2 -1) ahead 16 – 15 in the RSS. The Blades (1 -2) will have learned an important lesson from this game; pick a Brown if u have to but never select a chuffing Dolphin! Over and out and away for a pout!
Sleeper of the Week
It was a tough loss for coach Adamski this week.. made tougher by the knowledge that had he played RB Carlos Hyde on Thursday night he would have beaten the Apaches in a huge Divisional match-up 29-26. Hyde's double TD , 12pt omission (net -12pts) earns Coach Meek and his back-up ball carrier the Week 3 SOW award.