The final round of early season fixtures are in the book and overall we saw the teams that have largely struggled to this point make something of a statement, with one or two exceptions. We were sure to have one side with a 100% record intact as the Scunthorpe Steelers handed the Broch Bobcats their first taste of ALFF defeat in a tense OT thriller but the leagues remaining perfect records were all spoiled with the winless Posse’s upset success over the high flying Kincorth Killers centre stage in that process. The Arnhall Dolphins also got one in the Win column with a comfortable win over Pittodrie Div leaders the Laurel Lions while coach Butter’s painful wait for his first taste of win cake in his short ALFF tenure is over after blasting the defending champions 41-27. It was another strong showing overall from the Bon Accord Division ball-clubs where all four won , giving them an overall 7-1 out of Div record, although it must be said neither the Steelers or Apaches truly impressed in less than pretty wins over the Bobcast and luck intolerant Garthee Gryphons respectively . The BA’s joint success meant there was only one win each in the other two Divisions ... and both were recorded by the aforementioned cellar dwelling CalX and Arnhall Dolphins. As a consequence things have tightened up in the Granite Division with two games covering the whole grouping while three sides are lined up at 1-3 behind the Laurel Lions astride the PDiv at a middle of the road 2-2. Scoring this week, a limited first NFL bye week, was well down on usual Week 4 numbers with our scoring taking a big hit with the 274pt total a season low. WR points in particular were pretty hard to come by with the 21pts booked coming from just 5 players (6 TD’s), making this the lowest WR aggregate since Wk 4/2015 and just 6pts above the lowest mark ever. . Given 4 of the top rated QB’s pre-season are currently sidelined (or retired) I guess that is to be expected to some extent and goes some way to explain why no one has as much as attempted a 4WR set.... never mind toy with the as yet unused 5WR option. At least there were a little life on the D side of things where it seemed that the position was in danger of being listed as DOA with a record low aggregate thru Week3. If there is one thing our set up is meant to do, it’s to keep everyone in with some measure of slender hope for as long as possible . Week 4 /2019 saw that work just perfectly. Next week we move into the crucial mid season phase when the bye week test your real depth. Finally, the trades and transaction wire continues to crackle with rumours of as yet unfulfilled Trade attempts with at least two coaches making Bandit like attempts to make roster changes. Stay tuned on that front. 24 games down 61 to go... and all six sides on 1-3 are tied for the final wildcard berths !!
It's A Scunthorpe OT Steel !
Greg Zuerlein boots a huge 58 yard FG for the Steelmen.
It wasn’t perhaps the high scoring thriller anticipated by the pundits but the Week 4 Game of the Week wasn’t short of drama as the Scunthorpe Steelers toughed out a tense MNF finale to turn an 18-18 tie into a crucial 19-18 OT victory over the frustrated Buchan Bobcats. League leading WR John Ross held the outcome and coach Taylor’s unblemished record in his hands on Monday night needing just 1pt to get the Broch side over the line is this clash of unbeaten outfits .. but the wideout never really came close as he failed to score for the 1st time this season, moving the tie into the 3rd OT period of the campaign. 300 Yd’s passing for both Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan (although weirdly neither actually scored) effectively cancelled each other out.. leaving Davante Adams 10-180 receiving effort way back at Lambeau on Thursday night as the game winning effort. Neither side performed as they have done thru’ 3 weeks with stand-out Aaron Jones and Greg Zuerlein the only Steelers getting positive numbers on the score-sheet with the former now something of a unsung hero with his 3rd straight scoring performance. The kicker looked as is he may become a non factor as the Rams slumped to a swift 21-00 deficit in LA but a gutsy rally aided by a FG double (one from 58 yard) and 4 PATs kept the Scunny hopes alive. Patrick Mahomes finally showing he is human with a rare doughnut (which meant ditto for Sammy Watkins) although Alvin Kamara’s zero was a lot more predictable in terms of match-up. On the other side of the LoS the points were shared equally between bellcow Austin Ekeler and kicker Jason Myers who’s 9pts was his best effort as a Bobcat thus far but with Matty Icy reverting to late 2018 mode (yards aplenty – scores no so) a prial of polo mints from the League No 1 WR corp proved critical. There was also some frustration at New Bellslea that despite 6 sacks and 2 turnovers their dominant Chicago defence could not move the scoring needle. Coach Meek’s boys improve to 4-0 and stay in full control of the Bon Accord title race with the last 100% record in the League. Adamski will be pleased to have escaped with a win in a game he should probably have lost and that feeling will be magnified in the context of a full set of Bon Accord Div wins this week. If he can continue to squeeze out the wins with Kamara in Teddy purgatory and teams don’t copy Matt Patricia’s stifling of Mahomes, this drop off will just look like a points blip on the road to a bye week berth. Rookie Rudi sees his unbeaten tag go away at just the moment stand-out Austin Ekeler may see less game time , so things could get more challenging for the Broch ballclub with the Killers lurking down the track in Week 6. Look for coach Taylor to start making some tweaks.
Wellington Put The Boot In !
Eric Ebron strolls in for a 48 yard Rising score.
Freshman side, Wellington Rising had started this season with 3 straight defeats, and could not have asked for a harder introduction to the ALFF. Week 4 saw them go head to head with the 2019 champions, the JL8. This was a case of one team getting a monkey off its back whilst the other was looking to regain last year’s form. The Rising were forced into changes with Saquon Barkley gone for some period of time, and introduced pick-up Wayne Gallman into a depleted backfield. Alshon Jeffery was declared fit and came back into the side. The Doomsters opted for just the one change to last week’s team with Cooper Kupp getting the call after missing out in week 3 action. Coach Butter saw his team take an early lead in the Thursday night game as Jeffrey caught a 6 yard pass, to get the ball rolling. It was a lead that they were not to lose, despite getting nothing from their Quarterback Cousins. A lot has been written about this man, and whether or not he may be proving to be an, expensive bust. He finished with stats for 27 of 36 for 233 yards but had 6 sacks; a failed 2 point conversion, and failed to trouble the scorers. Over on the other side Lamar Jackson went about getting the JL8 back in contention. He finished with 24 of 34 for 347, 2 interceptions, 4 sacks and, crucially 3 scoring passes. He found his man from 9, 8 and then 50 yards to rack up 12 points. Coach Crackshot could only watch as his runners posted a pair of goose eggs, his wide man looked to be going the same way before Kupp reeled in a 29 yard catch. The Rising took the game by the scruff of the neck. Their Cheats D……sorry that appears to be a typo…ran in an 11 yard fumble return, and then it was all clear blue sky. McCaffrey scored on a 3 yard run; Gallman on a 1 yard rumble and a 6 yard reception, whilst Ebron roped in a 48 yard pass. Josh Lambo nailed down the evening with FG’s from 25, 40, 34 and 32 yards as well as 2 PAT’s. When the smoke had cleared they had a 41 to 15 lead. The JL8 still has kicker Will Lutz to go on Monday night, but it would have to be a monumental effort. The fact that he scored all the Saints points in that game is a moot one, but he connected on FG’s from 40, 42, 19 and 26 yards. The JL8 drop to 1-3 but saw the damaged limited by the defeats for all their divisional rivals. Injuries and bye weeks mean that things are not going to get a lot better and week 5 pits them against the Apaches. The Rising post one in the win column (every team has now won a game) and are starting to look like a force. They are 2nd in points scoring and this was their second 40 plus point offering. They tangle with the Blades in week 5 in a League first Kiwi Bowl. They will want to keep things moving, and apart from the QB problems, mentioned earlier; not to mention the Barkley situation, look to have a collection of players to get them on the score sheet. Week five up and coming and lots more still to happen.
Drillers Runners Blunt Blades
RB Peyton Barber gets the Drillers on the winning trail with this 3 yard TD.
The 2 Minute Drillers got back on the winning bike with a convincing 33-12 canter over the off color Westburn Blades as coach Youngblood’s side fell victim to the old post “big score drop off”. Coming off a season high 47pt outing in Week 3 Kiwi had few reasons to tinker with his starting line-up with the introduction of his newly acquired Tennessee D the lone adjustment but it was slightly different tale for the visiting Drillers. The WR corp saw Michael Thomas restored after his bodged tactical lay-off last week while Demarcus Robinson swapped places with Mark Andrews at WR3 ( got that wrong again also !). Brandon McManus at the Mile High was preferred to the slightly underperforming steady six shooter Jake Elliot at K. The Drillers got off to a decent start on Thursday night when Carson Wentz was good for 3 scores ( 7 , 3 and 20 yards) but the money men still saw the homeside Blades as the eventual winners and listed the PDiv challengers as healthy 3pt favorites. The die was cast however in the opening Sunday action at the Knife Drawer as the Westburn two headed monster of Desean Watson & Mark Ingram were limited in their contributions. The QB’s lone score came as a result of a short goal-line run while it was a similar story for the runner.. who’s single visit to the EZ was courtesy of a successful 2pt attempt blast. With a collective ‘nul point’ from coach Kiwi’s WR corps (and Titans D), and still trailing 08-09 it was all on Cards duo David Johnson and Zane Gonzalez to attempt to bail the NZ based combo out while hoping the late loaded BA outfit would stumble . In truth Az were never really in contention in the Desert limiting kicker Gonzalez to being the the lone scorer with just 4pts and the Drillers easily put the game away from there. On paper the 10th ranked Driller unit should have been no match for the no 1 ranked Westburn running attack but an opening 3 yard score from Peyton Barber set the Ricker’s duo up for their best ground outing of the season thus far , top pick Todd Gurley weighing in with a timely TD brace as the RB combo won their duel 18-02. The Commish is high on his WR depth but got nothing out this starting three leaving Brandon McManus to tack the Drillers metronomic 6pts at the position. The five times champions improve to 3-1 and really thought they had stolen a march on their BDiv rivals until the Steelers & Apaches both limped home on Monday night . A looming Week 6 clash against the Steelers is looking like a hugely pivotal match-up in terms of the Ricker’s 2019 ambitions. Coach Kiwi slumps to 1-3 with this perhaps his first “deserved” defeat on the year. Overall with only the CalX winning in the Division the picture has not changed much in the PDiv… although as the picture slowly develops the chances of the PDiv champions being the groups lone post season representative are rapidly increasing. Jimbeaux’s 3 straight win in the series gives him a 8-7 edge in the RSS.
Braves Brissett Bounces Birds
QB Jacoby Brissett score 3 times for the Braves in a tight win.
The recent history of the Garthdee Gryphons seems to unearth new and crueller plots twists for the Bayler to endure and this week’s stint on the Judas Cradle came courtesy of the Argyll Apaches somehow holding the Birds off on Monday night to record a highly unlikely 13-12 win. Vegas had predicted this one would go down to wire and a James Conner score would get the Crimson One over the line in the MNF action…. but the ALFF pundits had not factored in the Pittsburgh Steelers going to a wildcat formation that reduced the RB’s role… and his solitary 21 yard TD reception left the bemused Gryphons an agonizing 1pt short. The story of the game itself is definitely more Davie Dodds than Frank Lampard but for those with strong stomach’s here it is. As the only Wk 4 game not opening up on Thursday it fell to newly installed Braves QB Jacoby Brissett to make his mark with a nice triple TD effort in early Sunday , the last a 48 yard strike on a 4th down play inside the final minute that was really down to the Raiders checking out early with the game won. The kicking contest , such as it was , was a low scoring affair. Goat Jowls was restricted to just a single 23 Yd FG and one XP but the Redskins rather puzzling decision to switch 2nd quarter to raw rookie Dwayne Haskins meant Donny’s hopes of decent numbers from Dustin Hopkins went swiftly south, the specialist managing just the 3pts on a 21 yard boot. Elsewhere the cupboard was bare for old Mother Geacher. Neither Chris Carson or RB selection gamble Melvin Gordon made any impact on the scoreboard while a WR corps sporting the decent looking Cooks , Allen and Olsen did likewise. The main drama for Donny was at Ford Field. Top WR Kenny Golloday was in stand-out form hauling in scores of 9 and 6 yards but he was denied a third score on a very questionable review after the on-field decision was a TD. RB Kerryon Johnson knocked on the goal-line door on several occasions but could not get the pigskin over the plain. WR Travis Kelce was held scoreless at the same venue and further to the west Adam Thielen’s one EZ opportunity was squandered by an errant Kirk Cousins throw. Trailing 09-13 with the Braves all back in the Wigwam , the Birds has three attempts to make the 4pts that would see them push to 2-2. Teddy Bridgewater and the New Orleans D led the way in the Dome in the NBC phase… but the back-up QB (standing in for byeing Jimmy G) was held scoreless in a tight low scoring encounter and although the Saints D played a huge part in that, they did not get to take that team photo Donny sorely craved. That left top pick James Conner and as we have seen he came up just a little short on Monday night. For a second straight week the Braves have pulled victory from the jaws of defeat while amassing just 31pts over that period and are somehow just one game off the pace in the BA Div at 3-1 but Geronimo has been round long enough to know shame is something that others can’t bestow on you !! That said, with two Division leaders in his next 3 fixtures Geacher the Elder knows he’s unlikely to keep surviving on cheap wins. Melvin Gordon may add some much needed pep to the Apaches running game going forward but it’s at WR that the Cambeltown outfit crave some improvement I really don’t know what I can say about the Mythical Creatures. Golloday’s 2 scores sees their WR corp leap to No 1 in the rankings and Garroppollo’s return should help at QB but Dustin Hopkins at K is becoming something of an albatross around the Bayler’s neck. All said and done with everyone bar the previously winless Caledonia Express getting knocked back in the PDiv this week this missed opportunity still leaves Donny just 1 game from Div title pace. Geacher’s 6th straight win in the fixture gives him a 12-09 lead in the RSS.
Cove Crew Crash Kinker's Party
Posse RB Nick Chubb sprints 88 yards for the game breaking TD.
Week 4 threw up a possible revenge match for a play-off exit in last seasons’ tournament when the 2 point underdog Cal X went hunting for payback against the Kincorth Killers. The Killers were indeed favoured by 2 points by the infamous Vegas tip line and were on fine form looking for a 4th straight win which would get their season off to a franchise best start. Given such an encouraging start to the season it should come as no surprise that the Killers stayed pat with last week’s line-up and made no changes; a settled side usually means that things are going so well the team nearly picks itself though conversely depending on your world outlook it might mean that an unexpected defeat is hurtling toward you from the unseen distance! Well given the season opening that the Cal X have thus far endured the latter possibility did seem to be a distant possibility; top of the class for anyone – not you Martin you should know this – who had noticed the reverse symmetry record-wise for these teams Killers 3 – 0 & the Cal X 0 – 3. No wins meant changes to the team lines were to be expected and they were the following Nick Chubb (insert own piscine joke) in at RB for James White, Juju Smith-Schuster in at WR for the byeing Marquise Godwin and Mason Crosby took over the kicking duties from Brett Maher. The TNF action saw Mason Crosby have a solid 9 point outing to put the Cal X ahead and in case dear reader you are of a highly nervous disposition I can put you out of your misery and tell you that from this point on there was no possibility of a comeback from the Kincorth Crew; the game was rather unexpectedly over in favour of the underdog. It’s my view that you need to win 3 of the phases (QB, RB, WR, K or D) to win in our league and that’s exactly how this game went down. The QB phase had the Killers Dak Prescott up against the Cal X flounder Jared Goff; this match up must have shown Killers Coach Derv that this was most probably not going to be his day. Cal X QB Goff barely put a foot wrong in his Rangers days – even when that foot was firmly directed at an opponent’s crown jewels – but this was mistake and error strewn outing that somehow generated 6 points. The response from the Killers Dak was the same as that which you would get if you asked Boris Johnson to give you his vision on education – no point(s). Yes the Saints D held the previously unstoppable Prescott to a goose egg whilst Goff played like a Scotland international but with the obvious difference of somehow netting for his side. Phase 1 to the Cal X and that was soon to be followed by a game killing RB phase. The Killers RB Dalvin Cook got his now weekly TD but colleague Joe Mixon had no such joy and posted a goose egg; it would be a tad harsh to suggest that the latter was in fact fortunate to even get a goose egg so I won’t. The Cove Bay Bhoys RB Nick Chubb simply did to the Killers what he did to the Ravens in the real world, he ran rampant and including his bonus 2 points on an 80 odd yard TD run, on which he managed to achieve a speed of almost 20mph, he amassed appropriately 20 points! Team mate Malcolm Brown had a zero sum outing but Chubb’s outstanding performance meant Phase 2 also went to the Cal X. The WR phase would be the place for the comeback to start (not happening) for the Killers but only Mike Evans long TD, a 6 pointer, troubled the scorers as D J Moore & OBJ had nothing to add to proceedings. Could the Cal X win 3 phases in a row? In short Philip Dorsett, Juju Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardiman had the sort of outing all too familiar to Coach Marty so far in this nascent season and had a collective goose egg dropping Phase 3 into the gleeful Kinkers claws. Phase 4 had the kickers do battle and once again the Kincorth side made inroads to their deficit but alas those were wee side streets as opposed to inroads as Harrison Buttkicker had a single point advantage over his Cal X opponent Mason Crosby and won the Phase 10 - 09. That meant the sides were at 2 Phases apiece with the Cal X holding a shocking 35 – 21 lead. The Killers really needed to win the defensive battle (still not happening) in grand style if they were to snatch victory from the Ron Jaworski of defeat. In the end the Cal X won the killer Phase 5 when their Rams D scored and the opposing Ravens didn’t giving the Killers their first, dare I say shocking, defeat of the season. A 41 – 21 final score meant the Bhoys were cock a hoop at opening their winning account for 2019. An end to a 3 game losing streak in this fixture, against the top scoring opponents in the league, and revenge for a play-off defeat means smiles all round down Cove Bay way. The Killers will be disappointed and will rue missing out on the chance of starting a franchise best 4 – 0 but they should put this down as a blip and they still lead the RSS 8 – 4.
Fish Flying At Last As Pride Fall
QB Derek Carr got Arnhall's first passing points of the season.
To say that Arnhall have had a disappointing start to the season is a statement of the bleedin' obvious, and I said in my report last week that at 0-3, Coach Sutherland "was in a hole.... but not an unsurmountable one". Not at death's door if you will, but certainly walking up that path towards it, (mixed metasphors R.Us) and defeat against former Champs and current Pittodrie Division leaders, the Laurel Lions would have had them standing on the step, about to knock on that door. Happily for Madfish, he was quite comfartably able to overcome Coach Hamilton and his Lions in the Den. The Lions were on the board first, six up after the Thursday Night game, but that was a scant return from Aaron Rodgers -with two TDs- Zack Ertz and the Packers D on the field and I am sure that James would have hoped for more, but it was not to be. By the way, that is Rodgers now over 1,000 ALFF points, the 9th player to pass that mark. Anyway the score was 0-6 going into the Sunday games in favour of the Lions. On the Sunday, the Lions toyed with the idea of dropping Sonny Michel but kept him in, but replaced Frank Gore with Marlon Mack, and the decision gained nor lost him nowt. Mohammed Sanu came in at WR3, and that didn't matter one iota either. Only Justin Tucker put any points on the board for Coach Hamilton on Sunday with two EPs and a forty one yard field goal. Only a total eleven points for the Laurel Lions who despite this loss still sit atop the Pittodrie Division with a 2-2 record, but this is the fourth consecutive drop in points for Coach H, and their mean score has slid from 29 points to 22 in that period. A concern. Now for the 'Phins... Coach Sutherland confounded the critics and somehow managed to field a quarterback who wasn't injured, on holiday or dead... yes, a cunning plan from Ian..... and Derek Carr rewarded him with a two touchdown showing, and after four weeks of the season, Arnhall have their first QB points on the board! Yoh! Also recalled was Emmanuel Sanders in place of Jimmy Graham, but in truth the rest was a wee bit of a struggle for Madfish with only Zeke scoring a one yard scramble, and though that would have been enough, the ever excellent and ever reliable Matt Prater had a grand day out in Ford Field with field goals from the 25, 48 and 53 and a trio of extra points. Final Score: Arnhall Dolphins 26 @ 11 Laurel Lions. The RS is shared at 2-2. What does it all mean? Well it puts the previously winless Arnhall Dolphins (1-3) back into the Granite mixer, (cementing their place you may say.... then again you may not) as viable pennant contenders as the Killers, JL8 AND the Bobcats all lost. Next up for Madfish is the formidable Drillers, so life does not get any easier, but hey, when you are 0-3, the only way is up, baby. The Lions also have a tester against the 3-1 Killers, who had a surprising loss to Caledonia Express last week. Actually maybe not THAT surprising as I had on my Nostradamus Hat and Septic Peg shawl last week and said this: "I think that the Posse have potentially a big score in their locker...."howzabouttthathen, guys'n'gals? Sometimes it is hard to be humble. Till next week.... ciao
Sleeper of the Week
Sleepers are normally the preserve of narrowly beaten coaches… but sometimes the points tally just trumps it all, even when you lose and the sleeper total doesn’t cover the margin of defeat. This time round coach McGeachy Jnr opted for the not too shabby combo of Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon at RB. The first named lived up to his tag of 2nd Rd draft steal… but the latter came up empty. Given back-up Jordan Howard would have scored 15pts… it’s the “other” retained Killers RB who scoops the Week 4 SOW for his HC. Not so much a game changer as an oucha in a 19pt loss.
Player of the Week
Do I really need to provide the back-up here ? The 0-3 Caledonia Express restored RB Nick Chubb to the starting line-up for his first outing since Week 1. The retained runner was the big difference in the Posse’s huge 41-22 win… with his 20(2)pt offering the first in that bracket for a RB since David Johnson did it for the Apaches back in 2016. Chubb scores were from 14 , 2 and 88 yards … an very worthy Player of the Week.
Play of the Week
In a week short of points and big plays there was a bit of ALFF history as we had the 4th straight week with bonus points at all four offensive positions for the first time ever… even though it took a garbage time Ravens bust play/bomb to get us there. The Play of Week was at the same venue.. but was a lot more pleasing on the eye. Posse RB Nick Chubb looked totally unstoppable as he went up through the gears to score on a breath-taking 88 yard run. The best Play of The Week of the season thus far.
Stats All Folks
Caledonia Express K Mason Crosby’s 30 Yd FG took him thru the 900pts AT mark (12th player to do so – 7th kicker).
Laurel Lions QB Aaron Rodgers 19 yard TD toss took him thru the 1000 Pts AT mark (9th player to do so – 5th QB
Argyll Apaches K Stephen Gostkowski 1st PAT took him to the 1300 Pts AT mark. (5th player to do so , 2nd kicker)