Heading into Monday night, the Tattoo Crew(9-5) seemed to have an insurmountable 30 point lead. But the Stallions(7-7) still had their ace up their sleeve as RB Ricky Williams ran for over 200 yards and two long TDs but ended up with 27 points. 3 points shy of a miracle comeback as the Tattoo Crew held on to win the game by a final score of 68-65. "This is great," said RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who scored 8 points. "After the season we had last year with just 4 wins, to move on in the playoffs was our goal coming into the season. And we have done that. But now that we are here, it's time to take it to the next step." The Crew are primed for a big match up this week as they go up against the 11-2 Night Hawks with the winner earning a berth in Magoo Bowl II against the winner of the other game. "It's disappointing," said Stallions' QB Steve McNair. "But it was more than what was expected of us. It hurts to see Ricky do so much and still we come up short. But this won't be the last time we are here so we have to look at it as a learning experience. The worst thing we can do is be disappointed in the season we had. I think with Mr. Porsch running the show, we can build off of this season and look to keep up this momentum." The Stallions pulled off a major comeback which has placed owner Chris Porsch atop the nominations for the Tex Schramm award. Announcements for that and other awards will be made this weekend. The Crew still have lived to fight another day. And that other day is Sunday. The Night Hawks defeated the Crew 60-46 in week 11 of the 2002 season, but that doesn't come into play this week. "Hey, anything can happen this week. That game is the furthest thing from our minds. We are focused on this week and will go out and give it our all," said QB Tom Brady, "and we expect the same from them. This one should be a classic."
The old-timers came through for the Jorsemen(8-6) when it mattered most. RB Emmitt Smith and Charlie Garner, both seasoned veterans, combined for 20 points and WR Jerry Rice also had six as the expansion Jorsemen beat up on the Warriors, 74-31. The Warriors(6-8) had a hell of an unexpected run but injuries seemed to do them in. QB Matt Hasselbeck, who had played well in the two weeks leading up to the playoffs, scored just 5 points and only K David Akers scored in double digits with 12 points. "Don't know what happened," said owner Al Smith, "but it shows the character on this team. When Donovan went down, it looked bleak. But we had guys step up just enough to get us in. And we couldn't get it done. Time to go back to the drawing board." Sentiment around the league is that Smith could be making some tough decisions in the offseason as there doesn't seem to be 4 keepers on this team. But with McNabb and Harrison still around, the key could be in the draft once again next year. QB Jeff Garcia was the player of the week this week as he scored 26 points to lead the way for the Jorsemen. He planned to go out into Boys' town to celebrate the victory. "This isn't over. I remember what it was like to get eliminated last year in the first round and wanted to do everything I could to avert that. But now it's time to focus." In an interesting side note, Garcia will be facing his former teammates next week in the Rynos. "It'll be fun to see T.O. and the guys. But this is about winning. Once the game starts, I hope they go home afterwards."