Since adjusting the fixtures to break up the bookend effect of playing all the Divisional game at either end of the RS schedule, Week 6 has gained a reputation of being something of a Kumbaya event when things come back together…. and while that was true in both the Bon Accord & Pittodrie Division’s where both Div leaders lost, the same can’t be said entirely for the Granite Div, where new kids on the block the Broch Bobcats stole a march on their rivals with a pivotal win over the fading Kincorth Killers. Coach Taylor’s combo now have a 2 game lead in the traditionally cut-throat Granite grouping and are now one of only three sides across the League locked on the 5-1 mark as the frantic jostling for key post season seeding warms up, with the 2 Minute Drillers reaching that level and taking over leadership of the BA contingent (on tie break) after ending the Scunthorpe Steelers unbeaten start to the campaign with a surprisingly comfortable 25-10 decision. Comfortable wins in fact, were very much the theme of a week that featured the “final” clutch of the first set of intra-Div fixtures with the Wellington Rising, Arnhall Dolphins and Garthdee Gryphons all recording successes for 1-4 outfits that catapults all three back into active wildcard contention, and in the case of the last named actually into the PDiv title race itself as they thwarted Div leaders the Laurel Lions. Most comfortable of all was the Wellington Rising’s spicy 54-23 shellacking of the Argyll Apaches which split the BA Div in two…… but with the three 5-1 outfits the only sides about .500 at this stage that means only 1 win covers the eight franchises now placed at 3-3 or 2-4 . The Westburn Blades high scoring win over the Posse put coach Kiwi’s boys level with the aforementioned defeated Lions at 3-3 at the top of a typically dour Pittodrie battle… where only the Posse are in danger of getting left behind all alone in 12th spot at 1-5…. although it will only take one win to pitch Marty back into a potential pure wildcard berth. Scoring was again at an overall high level with this week’s 337pt total pushing the MWS (mean winning score) up to 28pts. That is remarkable given the 20pt aggregate for the WR position. That low tally was the lowest since Wk 8, 2018 and the 4th lowest single week haul EVER. Some of that comes down to misses on the likes of Stefon Diggs & Curtis Samuel (sorry folks)… but is indicative of both the inexplicable virtual disappearance of TE production and several NFL teams running with backup QB’s. Suddenly the mid season beacon that is Week 7 is looming and every game seems to get more meaningful as injuries and bye weeks bite harder. Right now it looks like the Bobcats , Drillers & Steelers have the inside track on post season party tickets… with the early calculations suggesting 6 wins will be the magic number… but we could still have a 6-7 tie break elimination given the level of competition. That leaves 9 sides scrapping for the 5 remaining briefs… with only two wins covering the remaining nine. 36 game down 49 to go… and clearly it could still be YOU !!
Slye Boots The Drillers
Wide-out Calvin Ridley battles in for a 9 yd TD for the Drillers.
The Scunthorpe Steelers went into week 6 of the season with the league’s only, unbeaten record, and they were looking to keep things that way. The fixture list saw them come up against the 2 Minute Drillers, who wanted to claw back the Division lead. Bothe teams went into this one with injury problems. The Steelers had concerns with Mahomes but elected to stick with the passer. Watkins was out and Christian Kirk was picked as his replacement. Kamara retained his place despite vibes that he may not be fit and the Jag’s D was brought back to action. They were ranked #1 on points and kicking duties. The Commish also had his troubles and Matt Breida was called into action as Todd Gurley was hors de combat. Calvin Ridley was called upon in the wide outs, and , trade acquisition, Joey Slye was named as kicker, for a unit that was ranked 10th. This was the game of the week and the Steelers were 3 point favourites. This one all started and was more or less finished by late Sunday action. Mahomes may not have been fully fit but he still managed to connect on passes of 49, 14 and 6 yards as he finished with figures of 19 of 35 for 273 yards with 2 interceptions. Carson Wentz replied with scoring passes from 32 and 3 yards and finished with 28 of 40 for 306 yards; 1 interception and 2 sacks. Not much between the two sides….yet. Damien Williams grabbed a14 yard pass and Calvin Ridley scored on a 9 yard grab, to edge the Drillers in front. Both teams watched as their running game came up with yardage, but bugger all else. The die looked to be well and truly cast as Zuerlein was held to a, solitary PAT. Joe Slye enjoyed his debut (in Engerland), as he connected on FG’s from 49, 46 and 43 yards as well as 4 PAT’s. He also attempted the first Ever free kick, in league history, but saw it go wide right, instead of through the posts. The Steelers still had a chance come Monday, but needed a, stellar, night from Aaron Jones. In the event it did not happen and this one fell to the Drillers. The Steelers drop their first game of the season, and lost their place at the top of the Bon Accord Division. They have had 2 low scores in the last 3 weeks but should be able to weather the storm. At the half way stage they must be happy with things so far, but will also be keeping a, wary eye, on the injury situation. They play the Blades in week 7 and will be looking to get back to winning ways. The Drillers move to the top of the Bon Accord, thanks to this one and now lead the RSS 8-5. They must also be wary of injuries, but have been over this course on numerous occasions. They looked to have solved their kicking woes, but the jury may still be out on that one. They meet the Gryphon’s in week 7 and must be wondering which version of the Birds will turn up. Six weeks gone and 7 to go, and these two sides must be amongst the favourites to with the Bowl, but as we all know, anything can happen, and probably will.
Do You Like That !!? Kirk Welly's Apaches !
Rising superback Christian McCaffrey waltzes in on a 25 yard catch and run.
QB Kirk Cousins served up a huge slab of humble pie to coach McGeachy the Elder as the passer and his Wellington Rising team mates rammed the Braves HC’s Week 2 comments (personal opinion: never an NFL QB) straight back down the head honcho’s gullet win in a stunning 18(6)pt performance in a 54-23 drubbing at Tawa Towers. Coach Butter’s boys looked pumped for this “grudge” match from the outset posting a New England defensive double on Thursday night and in truth they never looked back from that point on. Individual rushing title favourite Christian McCaffrey piled on 9pts Sunday afternoon in London thanks to a 1 yard TD plunge and a more mesmeric 25 yard catch and run…… and then came that Cousins led early Sunday points sunami. 4 TD tosses ( from 6, 62, 51 and 11 yards respectively) added up to the 18pts mentioned but the QB was not alone in the Welly points jamboree. WR Terry McLaurin (the only reason to watch the Redskins to be honest) celebrated his recall and inclusion to the first 4WR set of the campaign (from any coach) with a nice TD brace and there was a score from the ever productive , when fit, Alshon Jeffery on a 3 yard grab. Throw in a couple of short range FG’s from K Josh Lambo and suddenly Darren’s outfit were in the 50pt plus stratosphere with a new franchise best ever 54pt total. Big G and his Diesel alter ego (that overall C grading rankled in NZ as well !) were simply blow away. Thursday night was supposed to herald a bright new dawn for the Apaches but Braves 2019.2 looked rather like a rehash of the original version that had somehow limped to 3-2 through Week 5. New trade acquisition Mike Nugent kinda carried on where the departed Goat Jowls left off with a low haul of 5 XP’s and added to a goose egg from Julian Edelman, a 12-05 deficit was probably worse that the worse case scenario the Geacher contemplated on firing up his Spectrum ZX on Friday morning. While the Wellington points storm rained down on Sunday night there was one shaft of light for the visiting HC when last chance saloon RB Le’Veon Bell got his first rushing score of the campaign (and his first score since Week 1). Chris Carson was his usual self and underlined his value to the Campbeltown based combo with a 2nd straight scoring outing but that was pretty much it for the Apaches until new QB Phil Rivers supplied a low key NBC TD double cameo as the Braves looked to get out of town as quickly as possible. Not quite the introduction the Geacher had planned for his shiny new passer. The Drillers success over the Scunthorpe Steelers probably just about kept the Rising’s BA Title hopes alive but at 2-4 and three games back off both current leaders, Darren will need a lot of help with that scenario…. but the fledgling outfit look a good bet for play-off contention and are hot favorites for the ALFF Points Title. No side has ever won the Point Title and not featured in the post season horse and pony show. The Braves slide to 3-3 just a game ahead of the Rising and with a pretty tough schedule to come, need to kick on to the next level or face being swallowed up by a wildcard pack that has depth and talent aplenty. Geronimo will be hoping the trade addition of Rivers & Nugent and the awakening of Le’Veon Bell will provide that impetus.
Cats Still Bob Bob Bobbing Along
Wide-out Austin Hooper takes a Matt Ryan pass 6 yards for a score.
The perplexing Kincorth Killers wobble continued for another week as the brash Broch Bobcats opened up a two game lead in the Granite Division with a comprehensive 36-19 win over their main Division rivals. The much anticipated table topping clash at New Bellslea was poised intriguingly at 15-13 in the home sides favour going into the late Sunday period but QB Matt Ryan outpaced the Killers Dak Prescott in the QB battle with RB Phillip Lindsay applying the coup de grace with a 2 yard TD run. Andrew stuck firmly to his gameplan , turning out an unchanged side despite recent scores of 22 or less….. and having not lost three on the bounce since 2016 adopting the same strategy, who could argue with him. Coach Rudi swapped out WR3 Golden Tate with veteran Randall Cobb while a bye week enforced change at D saw a first outing for the Cincinnati unit. The opening 15-13 action was primary a battle of the respective kickers’ and the pundits eyebrows were arching when Brocher Jason Myers outscored his more feted opponent Harrison Butker 08-06. Given the former had to navigate through Pete Carroll opting for two (unsuccessful) 2Pt attempts the outcome was even more surprising. Thoughts that Butker might benefit from the recent Kansas City slow down proved unfounded….. and that has proved central to the Killers dip in form. Dalvin Cook got his usual 6pts for the Kinkers Krewe on a 1 yard blast but a Mike Evans half off a Bucs 2pt attempt at Tottenham was all the Special K could add to the their scoreline. Joe Mixon and OBJ’s double blank put it all on Dak for Andrew in the late action. While Mixon stayed in the hole at M&T bank Stadium his Bengals defensive team-mates opened the Bobcats day in a totally different mindset, KR Brandon Wilson taking the opening kick-off 92 yards to the house. Throw in the aforementioned 8pts from kicker Myers and a DeAndre Hopkins 1 pointer and you have the story of the GDiv leaders early fortunes. As we have seen it was the opposing QBs who took centre stage in the critical late phase of the contest and while both were behind the eight ball in NFL terms for most of their match-ups Prescott’s single (and very last gasp) 4 yard scramble paled against Matty Ice’s 4 TD tosses. The fact the long necked one’s 9, 7, 6 and 12 yard counters included one (the 6 yard variety) to Bobcats team-mate Austin Hooper was just the icing on the Brocher’s winning cake. Phillip Lindsay’s 2 yard score was obviously the cherry. Coach Taylor now has a two game lead in the Granite Division and is now within two wins of a guaranteed play-off berth and with a 3-0 record in the Division, will be hard to get round for the GDiv title. QB Matt Ryan has taken up some of the slack for the expected dip in Austin Ekeler’s form ( with Melvin Gordon back in the mix) but the Cat’s success has largely been team based with someone stepping up as needed. With his next four games all in the eminently winnable category, don’t look for coach Rudi to slow down much through the mid season stretch. The Killers slide from 3-0 to 0-3 and one has to wonder if Andrew will be forced to take stock and make some changes. The Special K still stand relatively high in the positional rankings but much of that is down to their opening 3 weeks efforts. Dak, Cook and Butker need a little more help from elsewhere so their side can push through when one or more has an off day. Don’t be shocked to see Tom Brady, Jordan Howard or even Matt Bryant ( all old Geacher the Younger favorites) introduced to the starting line-up. A Week 7 clash against the revitalised Garthdee Gryphons will be interesting.
Matt Finish Glosses Over Fin's Frailties
LB Devin Bush scores on a fumble return for Arnhall.
The big (thick) leg of Matt Prater pulled the Arnhall Dolphins back into wildcard contention as the kicker staged a huge Monday performance to complete a 32-19 comeback win over the JL8 to leapfrog the defending champions at the foot of the Granite Division in the ex- Toons Hoose Bowl. Coach Sutherland looked to be in a bit of bother with major problems at QB and his RB pool cut by bye weeks to just two players but the Phins supremo found a way to end a 3 game losing streak against his old rival and his first ever win against the JL8 in present name format !! Arnhall were almost exclusively heavily loaded in the late Sunday action and beyond, so no-one fell off their chairs when the Doomster’s leapt out to a 19-00 lead at the end of the opening stanza. I say leapt… but short hopped might be a more accurate description. The longer the season goes on and his opponents become more… well not the Miami Dolphins or Cardinals…. QB Lamar Jackson is finding it harder to prove he can throw the ball with effect in the red zone and his one score this time round was a trademark 21 yard run. RB Carlos Hyde made it 3 scores in four starts with a 2 yard TD rumble but just when it seemed K Wil Lutz might get into a OT extended FG duel, a late Saints TD at Everbank Stadium took that option off the menu and the specialist finished with a middling 7pts courtesy of a FG brace ( 47 & 21 Yd’s) and the XP off that TD. With stalwart Derek Henry failing to get the scoreboard digits to spin for only the 2nd time this season and a nul pont from D K Metcalf, 19pts was the opening gauntlet placed down at Walmington-on Sea. The JL8 were not able to build on their advantage in the late Sunday period, WR duo Cooper Kupp and Jason Witten suffering on the back of grim Rams & Dallas offensive performances… but grim Pokes was not enough to keep Zeke Elliott off the scores-sheet as the solid back opened the Arnhall account late, with a 5 yard TD run. There was nothing doing from the other warm Fish running back body Royce Freeman or WR Emmanuel Sanders, leaving the game poised at 19-06 in the champions favour .. with all their players back in the locker room. Predictably QB Mason Rudolph did not pass concussion protocol for the NBC action but with Newton still out and Carr on a bye Compost had no other passer and although that was a nailed on doughnut the Westhill outfit were bailed out a little when their newly installed Pittsburgh defence swiftly scored on a 9 Yd fumble return. The outcome now moved on to a Monday night finale with Matt Prater and Jimmy Graham tasked with getting the 8pts needed… and the first named poured it on with no fewer than 5 FG’s (and an XP) including one from 51 yards and a final 54 yarder. The coaching Umpire improves to 2-4, with his 2nd win in three games hugely enhancing his prospects after an 0-3 start. Zeke Elliot, in his final retained year, will be the rock the Fins can build on and now Prater seems to have solved that early season kicking calamity , Ian needs to hope Derek Carr’s return from his bye will do the same for a QB unit that has a shitty 6pts for the SEASON thus far. A week 7 trip to the CalX is a big match-up for both club’s December activity hopes. The JL8 slide to the bottom of the GDiv standings on that same 2-4 record but with the losing tiebreak and coach C has got be concerned about the general downward trend in both production and results. With the Drillers Blades & Killers to come over the next three weeks it’s not about to get a whole lot easier for a side that has not broken the current MSW of 28pts since Week2. Ronnie’s lead in the RSS between the coaches has been cut to 16-11.
Blades Show Old Coves No Mercy
Kicker Zane Gonzalez boots a XX FG for Blades.
Apparently this is week 6 of the 2019 season which as a Dolphins fan has come as quite a shock to me as I thought the season was over; unfortunately due to the vagaries of feline health I’ve spent more time at the vet than in front of a TV watching the foolishly newly acquired NFL Game Pass! (Believe me the latter is much, much cheaper option)! As part of the Blades Supremo’s flying visit to these shores this fixture threw up a visit to the home of the biggest senior football team in the region - Cove Rangers; I hope he brought his thermals! Speaking of vets – can you spell tenuous link? – Cal X head Coach Marty would’ve preferred different opponents given his recent run of low scoring mediocrity but the JL8 were otherwise occupied. (He may even have preferred to play the Miami Dolphins but there’s a long, long line of people ahead of him in that particular queue). Marty decided to shake-up his line-up big stylee in order to grab that elusive victory, rumour has it that he wasn’t that bothered with winning just so long as his team posted a score in excess of 20 points. Making his debut for the Cal X in his ALFF bow was QB Kyler Murray and with Todd Gurley unable to suit up for the Rams his back-up Malcolm Brown found a RB berth in the Cove side; Will Fuller & Will Snead came in at the WR position and the Kansas City D in a spot of the Roger Moore’s replaced the Rams. The Blades head coach made a determined effort to improve on their WR output so Coach Stuie fielded AJ Brown, Tyler Boyd and DJ Dyson (that’s Chark to you) in a new look receiving crew; no prizes for guessing the name of the only franchise with a worse return from their WR Corps than the Blades. The QB battle was a high scoring affair with debutant Murray making a reasonable showing with a 9 point 3 TD return for the Cal X however opponent Deshaun – I wear they just pluck letters out of the scrabble box for these names – Watson continued his fine recent form and had a 16 point night. The RB battle once again saw the Cal X add to their tally with a 2 TD 12 point night for Nick Chubb and although teammate Malcolm Brown failed to add to this total the Cal X would be happy with 21 points at this stage of the game in almost any week of the season. Happy, but not overly so particularly when the Blades backs got rolling; a TD run from Melvin Ingram was followed by a rushing and a receiving score from David Johnston which meant the Blades were on 31 points at this early juncture. After all the early scoring it should come as no surprise that the WR battle fell flatter than a Steven Gerard press conference. The Blades triumvirate of Boyd, Brown and Dyson couldn’t find the end zone with a compass and a full quota of Sherpas and while Cal X head Coach Marty might have found their failure encouraging his schadenfreude was to be of the short lived variety. Cal X WR’s Snead, Smith-Schuster and Fuller more than matched their opponents’ shortcomings and failed to trouble the scorers. You may think that the phrase “more than matched” was a bit harsh but please consider that Mr Fuller didn’t score for the Cal X thought he did drop 3 probable TD passes which I think justifies the description. When neither defence put points on the board the kicking contest would ultimately decide the result so Stuie must have felt very confident when his kicker Zane Gonzalez had a 10 point night giving the antipodean franchise a 20 point lead. The action moved to the MNF when last man standing Mason Crosby had the chance to pull a very surprised rabbit out of the hat for the old coves; he did win the head to head kicking battle but only by a single point and as a result his 11 points meant that the Cal X ended up losing a high scoring contest 41 – 32. The Blades move to 3 – 3 in the now very competitive Pittodrie (home of the 2nd biggest football team in the region) Division and snap a 5 game losing streak in this head to head dating back to 2016. The 1 – 5 Cal X have one of those glass half full scenarios to deal with, yes they lost again but they did put up a very good total and were a tad unlucky to find an opponent on such good scoring form. Marty and the Cal X see their lead in the RSS cut to 19 – 16.
Double Up Donny Dancing At The Den
Top Birds wide-out Adam Thielen hauls in a 6 yard score.
The 2018/19 ALFF, regular season, was remarkable for a few reasons, one of which was how bad the Garthdee Gryphons were. Every week we seemed to find new ways to soar to the depths, or crash and burn like a, runaway, express train. It was almost the perfect season; in every wrong sense of the phrase, and only a win over the Lions stopped it from being a complete wipe out. Better things were hoped for this season, and we got off the mark in week 2….only to follow up with 3 straight losses. Same old, same old. Then week 6 comes along and who do we meet up with…the Lions. No way that lighting can strike twice in the same place…right!. The Crimson Haybaler finally fell out of patience with Ito Smith and brought back Tevin Coleman (shades of 2018 again): Golladay was recalled after his bye week. Coach Hamilton opted for changes; Aaron Rodgers was at QB with Allen on a bye and Sony Michel was preferred to McCoy in the backfield. Geronimo Allison was in for Auden Tate at WR. Michel was the sole player in Thursday Night action, but, this time, came up with a goose egg. Sunday saw the main events of the weekend and the Birds had placed a lot of faith in the current Frisco side. Garoppollo has been steady at the helm and continued in that vein, with a 1 yard score (TV evidence suggests that he may not have crossed the line but recent refereeing has been on a par with Scottish football). Never mind. 6 points on the board as he finished with 24 of 33 for 213 yards, 1 interception and 2 sacks. That was doubled as Tevin Coleman went in from the 2, and became 21 points as James Conner scored on a 12 yard run and a 26 yard catch. Adam Thielen added a 6 yard reception (after his previous week having a go at his QB), and things were beginning to look rosy. Just remember, the light at the end of the tunnel may turn out to be an, oncoming train. Dustin Hopkins scored on a 21 yard FG and a brace of PAT’s, but this years kickers have been something of a nadir. The Lions, only reply, on the evening, came from Justin Tucker as he scored on FG’s from 40, 49, and 21 yards as well as 2 Pat’s. The rest of the squad posted goose eggs leaving Rodgers and Allison for Monday. 19 points for a win was not impossible, but maybe, improbable. Rodgers has a great reputation for pulling the fat out of the fire, but this proved to be too much of a grasp. He connected on passes of 5 and 35 yards and went 24 of 39 for 283 yards with 1 sack and 1 interception. Allison joined the “Polo” club as did Golladay and this one had gone in the record books as a, Gryphons win. Something of a Rara Avis*! The Lions are on 3-3 and still lead the division on countback. They were hot in week 6 and a wee bit tepid in week 6 but now face the Bobcats in week 7 action. The Lions lead the RSS 6-3 and will know that this one was a lost chance to get some blue sky between them and the chasers. The Gryphons get win number 2 of the season and double their tally for 2018. The division looks tight as a moorhens bum and could go down to the wire. The Birds come up against the Drillers in week 7, and can only keep their fingers crossed. This week saw points across the board (bar kicking) and we have to hope that this will continue. Lets be honest, anything can happen….and most likely will. See you all in seven.
Sleeper of the Week
With the smallest winning margin this week an eye watering 12pts, the chances of finding a game changing sleeper were slim and if truth were told never got off the ground. That lay the field wide open to all-comers …. which is not good for coach Bothwell Jnr. Tired of the non-production and the off field antics around a possible NFL trade ( common theme here for Blades wide-outs !) Stuie dropped Stefon Diggs for his Week 6 clash against the CalX. Right on cue Stefon snaffled TD tosses of 62, 51 and 11 yards , for what would have been a huge 15(3)pt effort. For missing out on the 2nd equal highest EVER total from a wideout Stuart and Stefon Diggs are the Week 6 SOW.
Player of the Week
Arnhall K Matt Prater didn’t just produce a match winning 20(4)pt effort with his Monday night antics at Lambeau Field but got his name on the best individual kicking performance list as the 13th best at the position in League history. Prater’s big score came on 1XP and a handful of FG’s from 26, 22, 41, 51 and 54 yards. Matt is the Week 6 Player of the Week.
Play of the Week
Two players shared the 10 bonus on offer…. Making the Play of Week very simple. It had to be one of Wellington Rising QB’s Kirk Cousins two TD bombs to unactivated Blade Stefon Diggs…. And the winner is the longer 62 yarder.