The highly anticipated second encounter of the USFL regular season between the New Orleans Breakers and the Memphis Showboats unfolded at Liberty Stadium in Memphis today, bearing significant implications for the playoffs.
Right from the outset, the New Orleans Breakers defensive unit were on a tear, wreaking havoc on Showboats’ quarterback Cole Kelley. As John Defilippo stated in the post-game presser, the goal was to get to the quarterback – which is exactly what they did.
In the midst of the ensuing chaos caused by an early snapped ball, Memphis quarterback Cole Kelley found himself in a bad situation. This resulted in a tipped pass which was intercepted by Breakers’ linebacker Vontae Diggs, who seized the opportunity for a breakaway pick-six. This spectacular turn of events gave a commanding 17-0 advantage to New Orleans, with a minute remaining in the first quarter.
How about those @USFLBreakers? A broken play results in a pick six for Vontae Diggs, who's had an outstanding season for New Orleans so far.
At this point, the momentum had unequivocally shifted in favor of New Orleans. However, the proceedings were abruptly interrupted by a lightning delay, suspending the game with just 1 minute and 4 seconds on the first-quarter clock. Both teams had to patiently endure an approximately four-hour hiatus within the confines of their respective locker rooms before the game could eventually resume at the commencement of the second quarter.
As the game progressed, the Memphis Showboats finally exhibited signs of resurgence, managing to penetrate the Red Zone. Nonetheless, the Breakers’ formidable defense proved insurmountable, successfully thwarting the Showboats’ every attempt to score within their opponent’s territory throughout the course of the game. Even when Washington fell agonizingly short of crossing the goal line, the Breakers, undeterred, promptly halted the Showboats’ advance at their own one-eighth yard line, resulting in another turnover for Memphis.
The New Orleans Breakers’ defensive strategy for this game was clear: to relentlessly pressure Memphis quarterback Cole Kelley. With the injury to Kerrith Whyte (the team’s leading rusher), it wasn’t a difficult task for the Breakers to knock Kelley off his rocker. Even though their offense wasn’t as potent as it usually is, the defense was ferocious. The Breakers’ defensive line caused such chaos and disruption among the opposition that it precipitated a series of interceptions and sacks.
Once the Breakers established a commanding 24-3 lead, effectively sealing the fate of the game, Eli Stove started the fourth quarter with a decisive touchdown, courtesy of a jet motion sweep. This score solidified the Breakers’ triumph with a final tally of 31-3.
A spring football staple: Teams coached by Todd Haley getting blown out by the @USFLBreakers.
The New Orleans Breakers exacted their revenge upon the Memphis Showboats in their home stadium, ending their five game winning streak. Following this pivotal win, the Breakers ascended to second place in their division, at least for the time being.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson: 9 completions out of 16 attempts, totaling 88 yards and 1 touchdown. Wes Hills: Carried the ball 18 times for a total of 46 yards and contributed 1 touchdown. Eli Stove: Executed 1 attempt for 29 yards, securing 1 touchdown. Lee Morris: Successfully received 3 passes for a total of 44 yards. Defense: Notched 3 interceptions, achieved 5 sacks, made 65 tackles, and forced 4 fumbles.
This was a must-win for the New Orleans Breakers, and they found a way to get it done. Forcing five turnovers is no easy feat, yet they figured out how to get it done. Moving forward, DeFilippo and the team will look to build upon this win.
The Memphis Showboats are now at a crossroads. Despite a winning record, they risk missing the playoffs altogether. They’ll need some help – and a win against Birmingham – to have a chance.
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