We have reached that mid point in the season where we sit on the plateau of Week 7 ... able to look back on the previous six weeks ... and contemplate the headlong rush to the RS finishing line and the promised land of the play-offs beyond. One curious feature of this weeks fixtures is we had no fewer than 4 ALFF coaches in the US... with three at NFL games in person. Coincidentally it was the two who had skin in the games they were watching that fared worst !! (see told ya'll Cam is over-rated !!). In terms lf the fixtures this week's big clash, an all 5-1 Geacher Bowl, turned out to be a one sided affair that launched the Argyll Apaches into pole position in terms of overall seeding and the Bon Accord title race.. and just half a game from the first confirmed play-off berth.... but another solid showing from the 2 Minute Drillers as they swept aside the Caledonia Express means the Commissioner's Crew are still very much in control of their own destiny. With the Scunthorpe Steelers getting over-run by the still competitive Arnhall Dolphins and the Wrecking Rebels still treading treacle the BA Div is very much a two horse race. Over in the GDiv , as we have seen, the Arnhall Dolphins made the most of the Killers Geacher Bowl no show and are now back level with their closest rivals although a suddenly reborn Desperados are creeping up on both. A Div pennant would still seem unlikely for coach C.... but a wildcard berth is now highly plausible after their disastrous start. Over in the Pittodrie Division the Westburn Blades have taken over from the Flying Garioch Bros as the front runners and another high scoring win this time round over the aforementioned Steelers have established Youngblood's outfit as one of the top two contenders. A Monday night comeback win for the Garthdee Gryphons kept the Bayler very much in contention .... but the Laurel Lions already long odds chances of becoming out very first repeat champions were pushed out even further by the Desperados Lazarus act. The lack of points continue to be a major feature of the campaign... and even with a strong finish a 4000pt campaign looks to be out of the question. As is the tradition at this point we do the "if the season ended now " thing... which would look a little like this. Double Byes weeks - Argyll Apaches & Westburn Blades ... Single Bye weeks Kincorth Killers & 2 Minute Drillers...Wildcards Arnhall Dolphins, Caledonia Express, Garthdee Gryphons & Deevale Desperados. First use of the soap...Scunthorpe Steelers, Laurel Lions, Cove Bay Pirates and the Wrecking Rebels. That said the Week 7 picture rarely makes sense by Week 17. Coach C has already shown you can turn things around with a little two... it could still be YOUR season. All back to normal next week... thanks for bearing with me through my hols !!
Drillers Leg It To Victory
Greg The Leg boots one of his 4 FG's for the Drillers.
It was a battle of the temporarily ‘Murica-based ball clubs as da Commish swapped Ashwood for Arizona whilst Marty was getting’ all “Ferris Bueller” in Chi-town. No word on the rumours of the latter going rogue with a sports car, busting out Twist and Shout at a parade and stuffin’ his face with footlongs (don’t go there) under an assumed name.The Cal-X decided to stick with what has been working, while the Drillers put in Devin Funchess for the bye-ing Will Fuller, hopefully as a means of spoiling any Cam Newton efforts. With the two ball clubs being the top scoring teams in the league, we could easily hype up this battle of 4-2 teams as a potential fireworks display. The festivities were kicked off in style as human highlight-reel, Tyreek Hill caught a rainbow for a 64-yard score and 6 points. Marty was onhand at Soldier Field, ready and waiting to watch the points roll in for his QB and kicker first-hand, but this was not to be in what must be considered quite a major upset as the Bears befuddled Cam and co. for the duration of the contest, resulting in a meagre 3 point return on a solitary Graham Gano fieldgoal. I’m sure that was far from Marty’s mind as he was just enjoying the game (aye, right!). No home game for Arizona, this weekend, so the Rickster had to do with watching the Cards get ripped apart in London, courtesy of his own running back and kicker. Todd Gurley made short work of the cards on an 18 yard run, but it was Greg “The Leg” who stole the show with a 17(2) point showing with kicks from 23, 33, 53 and 34 yards out padded with 3 extra points. Ol’ reliable, Drew Brees, did wut Drew duz and put up a customary 9 point showing against a beleaguered Packers D. A goal-line “leap” – which looked more like stumbling upwards in slow motion – and a 22 yard pass were unsheened slightly by a Mark Ingram run from 12. JuJu SmiSchu (I’m going to keep trying with this guy until something sticks) pulled one back on a 31 yard connection, but unless there was going to be some drastic change in the rules where having a ridiculous name earns you 15 points, this one was done – stick a fork in ‘em. With LeGarrette Blount still to come, the tie had already been decided, so the goose egg mattered not. 32-18 to the Drillers who now improve to 5-2, keeping pace with the 6-1 Apaches and are still well in contention for the division pennant. The Cal-X fall to 4-3, a game behind the Blades in a Pittodrie division which contains three of the top four scoring teams (Blades #1, Xpress #3, Gryphons #4). Da Commish extends his lead in the RSS to a healthy 18-8.
Geacher Bowl X Falls Foul Of TNF
Dak Prescott scores on a 2 yard run for the Braves.
The Geacher boys met
for the 10th time and had everything, including bragging
rights, to play for; alas the dreaded TNF killed this one before it got
started! Before getting into the quotidian nuts and bolts I beg your
indulgence for a titbit of personal opinion. I don’t like the idea of
this fixture being described as our GB Bowl. Home come? I hear you
shout. Well, now I’m not a nationalist, but GB brings all sort of
English connotations to mind and I’m certainly no fan of this
institutionalised selfishness; does Ireland, Scotland or Wales get a
fair share of the GB recognition? If you answered yes then you have my
sympathy as you’ve clearly been born in the land of the class system;
and are unwittingly a victim! Now, being old and old-fashioned, I
propose bringing back the CanDa Bowl instead. For those too young to
recall this was a famous brand and store in the UK with a large branch
in Aberdeen; I’ve been slightly lazy with the link to the Geachers but…I
think of our dynamic duo as our very own Chas and Dave – I know the
resemblance is uncanny, it’s even more astonishing when you hear them
sing – hence CanDa Bowl! So, to the CanDa Bowl line-ups ,where both
sides made important changes. Apache head coach and Senior Geacher –
that would be Chas – brought back Dak “2 Jags” Prescott at QB after his
week off and brought in Adam Thielen at WR for (apparently) tactical
reasons. (I personally don’t get that but then again I’ve not had 5 wins
this year)! Over Kinkers Y (I can phrase it that way being a
native!),Killers Coach Dave went back to the traditional 2 RB set
bringing in AP(I thought you needed 2 RB’s to satisfy this criteria but
there you go!), at WR Des Bryant and Golden Tate did their bye week flip
flop and Emmanuel Sanders dropped out. The early TNF action was both
critical and decisive and this you can lay at the feet of the dreaded
Monday Night Magic Boosts Birds
Chris Thompson strolls in for an all Birds 7 yard hook-up with QB Kirk Cousins.
The Cove Bay Pirates were denied the 2nd win of their short existence for a second straight time on the back of the Monday night football action as the Garthdee Gryphons stormed back to win 30-26 and overcome a meaty 06-26 deficit. Holed up in a dodgy Chicago bar, coach Donny reckoned he needed all three of his MNF trio to contribute to overturn a 20pt deficit.... and right on cue QB Kirk Cousins, RB Chris Thompson and Kicker Jake Elliott all got in on the action to get the Birds over the line. With the Bayler in the US on a scouting trip he had the luxury of recalling WR Doug Baldwin after his week off, which set the Mythical Creatures up with a full strength line-up in their bid to bounce back from their Garioch Bowl let down. Young Inkster was forced to go back to Phil Rivers with Matt Stafford sitting out this round but otherwise were unaltered from the staring eight that put 29pts in Wk 6... but still lost. The Birds got the action rolling on Thursday with WR Travis Kelce giving the Crimson One a 03-00 lead courtesy of a battling 10 yard TD grab but it was pretty much all Pirates on Sunday as the Cove Bay head honcho struck a rich seam at Heinz Field. WR Antonio Brown seems to be finding the form that justifies his lofty draft selection and his 7 yard counter effectively gave the Granite Div outfit the lead with Boswell's PAT tacked on. Thereafter the kicker took over. One further XP was the prelude to no fewer than 5 FG's .. and suddenly the Pirates early Sunday lead was up to 20-03. Doug Baldwin did strike back with a 22 yard score for the Bayler in the second Sunday period.... but his effort was outdone by Philip Rivers.... who pitched in with a TD double for his side. That left the game sitting at 26-06 going into Monday night.... surely Blackbeards charges couldnt suffer more MNF heartache.... ?? Well as we have seen... yes they they did !! For the record the crucial points came on 3 TD tosses from Kirk Cousins , including one to teammate Chris Thompson, with kicker Jake Elliott accounting for a healthy dozen thanks to 4 PAT's and a FG brace that included a 50 yarder. Donny's US based success sees his charges improve to 4-3 and stay within one game of the Blades in a Pittodrie Div race that is brewing up nicely for a blanket finish. Last weeks' disappointment apart the Birds have been a consistent outfit through the halfway mark... and are not to be dismissed lightly. The Pirates latest setback marks the 3rd time coach Inkster's boys have scored 24pts or more and come out on the wrong side of the equation. The Cove side are arguably worth around a 3-4 record... which would pitch them into the live wildcard race... but as things have worked out its 1-6.... and the likelihood of having to win 4 or 5 of their remaining six games to stay alive.
Player of the Week
Big individual performances were in plentiful supply this week... but none matched the heroics of Dans QB Carson Wentz. Playing in his first ever ALFF outing the passer needed to score 3 times (and hope the Eagles D were scoreless) to hand the trailing Deevale outfit a season changing 3rd straight win. Wentz duly threw TD tosses of 64, 4, 9 and 10 yards to score 15(3)pts and get the job done. Could be the Dans without Rodgers still have some life in them......
Play of the Week
12pt plays have been in short supply this term... even more so if we list those where the dozen were all on winning sides. This week we have Argyll Apaches QB Dak Prescott 72 yard TD toss to Arnhall Dolphins RB Zeke Ellliott... a 12 pointer that DID feature in two wins... and was quite a play in its own right.
Shady Blades Smelt The Steelers
Shady McCoy piles on the points for the Blades.
Hi there, Peter King from Sports Illustrated magazine again, and once more my good, good friends Rickaby James has asked me to brighten your dull lives with some bon mots, but I must confess Bon Mots is a chocolate that I have not heard off, so I'll bring a Tootsie Roll instead. He has requested of me an article on the Steelers-Blades game, and let me tell you this my amigos, the Blades are hot! hot! hot! right now. Coach Bothwell is currently residing in the beautiful city of New Zealand which as you know is in one of Australia's prettier States, but his skill as a coach has not been diminished by coming into contact with the Mao-Mao. No sir, no way. A sticky start to the campaign saw them sit at 1-2 after game three, but they have rolled off a four game unbeaten sequence to be atop the Pittodrie Division. Stuie made some changes for this game...Derek Carr was back at QB, Shady McCoy returned to share the backfield duties with Leonard Fournette, and both Jimmy Graham and Justin Tucker returned. Did the Blades miss a step, a beat? No Siree, they did not. Steelers Coach Adamski was actually at the Oakland Coloseum to witness Derek Carr throw for three tds, from the 38, the 45 and a wee (See! I can speak garlic like a native!) two yarder to fellow Blade Michael Crabtree. Shady ran for two TDs and the Blades score was starting to mount. Jimmy G and Even Engram both had TDs also and Justin Tucker kicked three field goals, from 43, 47 and the 57 and also a PA. As for the LA ensconsed Coach Meek, well he was always going to struggle to get close the the Blade's total of 42 points, and it must be said they did not get close. Jamies Winston, like Carr threw for three TDs and Armani Cooper caught a pair from the LA QB. All that was left was for Adamski to witness kicker Giorgio Tavecchio (former button man for the Corleone family) kick one out of three field goals and four points after -keep that up son and you will find out that NFL stands for Not For Long- and the Blades eased to a comfortable 42-22 win. The Steelers are now behind the #8ball in the Bon-Accord Division, three wins behind the Drillers, four behind the Apaches and face the 3-4 Dans in what looks likely to be a Loser Goes Home Bowl next week. Gonna need a bigger boat, Adam. The Blades are now sitting proudly atop the Pittodrie Division but they have toughie coming up against Arnhall. next week and good luck with Vegas in making that call.
The Fine Five:
game 4 pic
I’ll try really, really hard to bring up some positives for the Rebels in this one. I’m afraid that may be difficult. The Madfish came into this one with a number of injury concerns and bye-week hits to deal with. Russell Wilson came back in at QB along with Jason Witten at WR2, but he was “forced” to go with Ty Montgomery and Julius Thomas to make up the numbers. For the coaches McConnachie; McCaffery and Ertz returned to the fray after an unfortunately timed rest last week – but hey, you gotta try somethin’, right? One of the more “interesting” tactical choices was keeping in kicker Kaimi Fairbairn. It’s all well and good that he has had a pretty decent season to this point, however, he was actually on a bye this week. Yikes! Zeke Elliot managed to sneak his way around a suspension to be heavily involved in this one for the Phins as he shredded a lacklustre 49ers defence for over 200 total yards, runs from 1 and 25 yards and a 72 yard catch and run TD for 18(2) ALFF points. In the same contest, Jason Witten had clearly learned something by watching “The Replacements”, seemingly having glued-up his hands for a glorious one-handed TD snag. And Russell Wilson chose this week to awaken from his customary early-season slumber with 3 second half TDs from 22, 38 and 1 yard out. Chandler Cantanzaro connected on 4 PATS as things continued to progress towards “sumo on a seesaw” levels of one-sidedness. It took til the 4th quarter of the late game on Sunday for Rosemount to get on the board. Matt Ryan was expected to put up good numbers against a thusfar weak Pats D, but those numbers failed to materialise. Maybe it was the Pats defence having improved greatly? Maybe it was something else? I dunno, could anyone see anything in that Foxboro fog? Either way, I think we all know that the Bill Beeeellichick was behind this. Zak Ertz has been one of the bright spots for the New Rebs and he continued his efforts with another 4 yard grab, but it was far from being of any real value to the side by that point. 34-06. Sometimes, things just are not going your way. Circumstances conspire against you to achieve the worst possible result. Having the highest number of points against you in the league (by a sizable margin) is always going to make things difficult, but combined with the lowest number of points scored, things become near impossible on a weekly basis. But when you name your kicker as the one who is on a bye-week, you really are being your own worst enemy. You hear that? The sound of a polyester-cotton blend flopping onto canvas? That’ll be the towel being thrown in. No team has ever recovered from an 0-7 start to make the playoffs, so right now the only concern in Rosemount is getting that 0 out of the W column. There is talent on this roster, but the Rebs need to start scoring if they want to avoid finishing last – or even, heaven forbid, winless. It is not mathematically impossible yet, but my word do the Rebs have some seeeeerious work to do! Maybe they can buy those 328 fog machines on sale near Boston and use them to their advantage? Arnhall, on the other hand, are finely placed atop the Granite division with the Killers (Brandon Flowers and the boys really are keeping busy these days, eh?) on 5-2 and have won all 3 of their matches against the New Rebs.
Mixed Emotions For Lions As Season Wentz From Bad To Worse
Carson Wentz stands tall to deliver a game winning performance for the Dans.
This could be one of the shortest reports ever written given the very limited contributions from both sides, but a bit of Lion/Eagle bating seems to be in order! First up I have to make an admission about the newer coaches in the ALFF; as I age less gracefully every decade I’m finding it harder to keep up with the new faces in our league. When the Commish asked me to write this report, I had to ask who the head coach of the Lions was, “the Eagles fan” quoth our leader. Is that our Grizzly Adams lookalike said I? No the guy that kept picking the players you wanted in the draft just before you snaffled them said Da Commish; gotcha! It’s hard not to sound smug when I say with supreme confidence that he won’t be making that mistake again any time soon! (Why this happened at all given that he’s the champ and I’ve always been one vowel away beggars belief)! It should also be noted that this coincidence goes beyond mere player selection, a quick look at our records so far this season reveals them to be identical (2 -4). So when a Phin and an Eagle clash who would finagle victory? See what I did there? Clever? No, its technical term is padding and on that subject I’m more than adequately qualified! Ok that should be just enough filler in place for me to get going vis-à-vis the nitty gritty. The Lions selection process – as indicated previously with my draft comment – is a work in progress and this week’s NFL fixtures and injury reports meant a period of head scratching before plumping for his combatants. Case Keenum replaced Eli Manning at QB and the hugely annoying Demarco Murray returned at RB. Annoying? How so? Well most teams have one of these players, and he just happens to be the Lions man; ever had a player that when selected fails to score, but when left riding the pine he manages to find the end zone consistently? Annoying isn’t it?! The final piece of the Lions jigsaw had Ryan Succoup return to take over the kicking duties from Adam Vinatieri. Over in Danland the retained Carson Wentz made his bow at QB in place of the gone for the season number 1 pick Aaron Rodgers; A.J.Green returned after his week off at WR and recently acquired WR Allen Hurns came in at WR3 what with OBJ being gone for the year. (Ignore the rumours that the NFL players union have approached me begging me to change my training practices because of the sheer volume of my players ending up on IR)! A last change was forced on the Dans with the Detroit Lions defence having it’s bye week and thus Coach C joined the John” 2 Jags” Prescott ranks for the first time by naming the Jags D as incumbents. Danger Will Robinson Danger! If the make-up of your team has more than one representative from the Jacksonville ranks, looking at the ALFF final score web page is usually regarded as an exercise in futility! (Or mindless optimism – take your pick). When the game got going the Lions QB didn’t and consequently the first goose egg of an ugly scorecard was achieved. To paraphrase a popular melody from times past,” You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet “, and the key word in that title is the penultimate one. Up next for the Lions was the number 12 ranked running attack. Could they add to their 1 TD for the season? Mister Murray and Mister Mack they say no and thus another nothing was made manifest. How about the number 1 ranked WR corps? The Lions WR triumvirate of Jordy Nelson, DeSean Jackson and Chris Hogan? Once again I refer you to the Bachman Turner Overdrive opus and advise you to invert said title! How about his beloved Eagles D? Frag me, what do you think? Thankfully the kicking game came good and a 12 point outing gave the Lions a 12 point total. Well they’re going to get a severe humping I hear you say – “Not So Fast” to steal a Corsoism; they are playing the less than scary Dans. To demonstrate what that means, RB’s D Henry & J Ajayi – ever since he did that Sky RB masterclass he’s been as much use as a one legged man in an arse kicking competition – failed to find the end zone; WR’s A.J.Green, A Hurns & L Fitzgerald couldn’t find their collective arses with an atlas and the Jags D is simply misnamed. Yes that’s another fat all round zero. The kicking game managed a paltry 5 points from Mason “missing Aaron already” Crosby. The Lions therefore had an astonishing 12 – 05 lead heading into the MNF. The Dans had to hope the debuting QB Carson Wentz would provide joy and despair in equal measure down Laurel way. And boy did he! A 4 TD 15 point night had the Dans and Eagles fans in delirium – some more so than others. An ugly, ugly win for the Dans, who move to 3 – 4; they are now getting the sort of ugly wins that were ugly losses in the early season fixtures and now find themselves in Wild Card contention. (Having little or no pigging Dolphins and totally ignoring any promising vibes coming from the Miami area is the way to go)! The Lions drop to 2 -5 and despite the bitter sweet MNF face an uphill battle just to make the play-offs never mind retain their title. Just remember that it’s not over until Adele sings! The Dans lead the RSS 2 – 1.
Sleeper of the Week
Not only have the Cove Bay Pirates suffered the pain of two Monday comeback losses... but both have been close enough to bring them into SOW contention. .. and sadly they "won " here again. It would have been a long shot... but back-up RB DeAndre Washington's 6pts on a 4 yard TD run (net -6pts) would have given coach Inkster a precious 32-30 win....instead of his 2nd straight SOW award.