It only took the Dirty Dozen(2-6) two weeks to win game number 2 for the season and set a franchise record for wins in a season as they held off the Fightin' Antz 59-55. The Antz(3-5) lost their 3rd game in a row as they are slowly dropping out of the wild card race. "There are no excuses. We lost to a team we should beat 9 out of 10 times. And we are running out of time. I don't think I'd be stretching if I said next week is a must-win game. There is no time to dwell on this one because we HAVE to be ready to play next week against the Rynos. If not, it's going to be a long Sunday," said QB Rich Gannon. The Antz were without starting RBs Ricky Williams and Marshall Faulk. But the running game was not the culprit of this loss. RB Kevan Barlow scored 17 points as he ran and caught a TD and Duce Staley ran for over 120 yards on his way to 4 points. WR Tai Streets made a fine debut for the Antz as he caught a 47-yard TD pass that gave him 12 points for the afternoon. But K Matt Bryant scored just 3 points in a position where a team needs production. They fell to 3 games back of the division lead. But the focus now turns to the wild card. They are, however, 2 games out of that race and will face the aforementioned Rynos, the highest scoring team in the league, next week. The Dozen now have something to build on. Rookie RB Clinton Portis staked a claim on the UFFA rookie of the year honors as he scored 2 TDs on the ground and ran for 111 yards as he scored 15 points. "I'm getting the hang of the offense here. I know it took a while, but my comfort level is at an all-time high and should only get higher," he said. WR Derrick Mason finally scored big as he had 23 points in leading the Dozen to their second highest point total of the season. They get a rematch next week against the Wolfpack, who just 2 weeks ago got their first win of the season against the Dozen.
The biggest game in the Jorsemen's(5-3) short history proved very lucrative. Not only did they distance themselves and now hold a 2-game lead over the other wild card contenders, but they also moved to within a game of T.N.T.(6-2) for the Lombardi division lead. They defeated T.N.T., decisively, 55-34. The game was over early and was never really in doubt. QB Jeff Garcia, the homo, finally put up the numbers that the Jorsemen have been expecting since they made him an expansion pick. He threw 4 TDs, including 2 over 40 yards, to end the day with a season high and team leading 27 points. "This season is only beginning," he said. "If we take care of business from here on out, we win the division. In no way is it going to be easy as any team can beat any other on any given week in this league. But we like the fact that we are in the driver's seat. This is the position we have wanted to be in since day one. Now that we have the keys, it's time to drive it home. If you'll excuse me I have to go to the Manhole now." That last statement came out of nowhere, but clearly indicated his excitement over the win. No other player scored more than 8 points. But it didn't matter as T.N.T. played their most lackluster game of the season as they set a season low for points. "That's not how we wanted to play this week," said RB Edgerrin James, who led the team with 13 points. "This was the worst week for us to play like that. We have to get back at it next week." T.N.T. is now the lowest scoring team with a winning record in the UFFA as they lost their first road game of the season. Adding to the loss was the report that WR Ike Hilliard is expected to miss the rest of the season. That thins out an already underperforming receiving corps. Next week it doesn't get any easier as the 6-2 Night Hawks come to town, while the Jorsemen play a very winnable game against the Outlaws.
In one of the few games with a silver lining for the Wolfpack(1-7), the top scoring team in the league, the Rynos(6-2), took care of the league's lowest scoring team 91-45. But the Wolfpack came away with a possible glimpse into the future as QB Michael Vick, in his first start for the 'Pack, scored a team season-high 24 points. He ran for 91 yards and scored on runs of 32 and 3 yards to get to that point. "He looked good out there," said team owner Joe Semro. "We like what we see out of this kid. He seems to be going a lot faster than the rest of the players out there. We are definitely excited to see him come out and play like that. We are very happy that we made the move to get him." However, the outcome was the same as the rest of the team couldn't muster any support. K Phil Dawson was the only other Wolpack player in double digits with 11 points. Rookie RB Jonathan Wells got on the board for the first time this season with a 6-yard TD run for 6 points. But for the Rynos, who were coming off a heart-breaking loss to the Night Hawks, it was more of the same as they led the league in scoring a league-leading 3rd time. For the second straight year, a 1000-point season is not out of the question. "We are executing. We are running the ball. We are throwing the ball well. That is the signature of a great team," said QB Brian Griese. And run and catch the ball they did. RB Shaun Alexander had 2 TDs for 15 points and RB Priest Holmes scored 13 with 91 yards and a TD. But the player of the game was WR Terrell Owens. He scored a season high 28 points and now has 54 points in the last three weeks as he is turning it on during the stretch run. And next on the docket for the Rynos is the struggling Fightin' Antz. The Wolfpack, meanwhile, will battle the Dirty Dozen for the second time in three weeks.
It was another tough week for the reigning UFFA champions. After rebounding from an 0-3 start to pull even at 3-3, the Outlaws(3-5) have lost two in a row and have scored a total of 50 points in the last two weeks. The Tattoo Crew(5-3), however, are going the other way. They have now won 5 of their last 6 games after destroying the Outlaws by a final score of 74-32. Second year RB Deuce McAllister was the second straight Tattoo Crew player of the week as he ran two TDs in, caught another one, and ended the day with 171 total yards en route to a 31-point performance. With backfield mate LaDainian Tomlinson off for the week, McAllister's performance was even more important. "Somebody needed to come through today," he said, "and I'm glad it was me. Fortunately I wasn't here during last season. But this team is getting hot at the right time." K Martin Gramatica also had a big day as he kicked 4 FGs, including two from over 50 yards for 26 points. That was all they needed against the Outlaws. "This is embarrassing," said QB Daunte Culpepper. "It seems like we don't even belong in this league the way we are playing. After doing what we did last year, I can't believe what's going on. There is no pride in here, I guess." RB Eddie George scored just 2 points but racked up 106 yards. "What can you do? Just put it behind you and get ready for the next one. If we don't forget about it, it's going to be a long 5 weeks. Last time I checked, the season is 13 games long. By my math, that leaves us with 5 weeks to get things done. If we end up 8-5, our chances will be very good as to getting in the playoffs. So we control everything for ourselves. We may have dug ourselves a hole. But a true team will stick together and get things done." There were no highlights in the Outlaws lineup for the second week in a row as their D/ST led them with just 10 points and WR Laveranues Coles led position players with 9. They can begin to help themselves out with the Jorsemen in week 9, a team that is 2 games up on them for the wild card. The Tattoo Crew, meanwhile, could take control of the wild card race next week as they play the Roscoes who are tied with them.
The Roscoes(5-3) kept the pressure on the division leading Rynos as they beat the Warriors(3-5) in week 8 68-57. The Warriors kept adding to their team record losing streak as they dropped their 5th in a row after starting 3-0. The culprit was nowhere to be found in this game as they just seem to keep finding ways to lose. QB Donovan McNabb did his damage as he scored 20 points and K David Akers scored 11 on Monday night to give the Warriors hope that a comeback was in the making. But they were only fooling themselves. "Somebody has to help Donovan," said 5 point scorer WR Marvin Harrison. "We can't expect him to win games by himself. If that is what the rest of the guys are hoping, they are in the wrong profession. I guess you could always look at the fact that we made it a game. But we've been making them games for 5 **** weeks! When are we going to start winning the game?! This is pathetic and we need to do something. Myself included." The Roscoes will take the win. They earned it. They had 4 players in double digits as they won their second in a row after losing 3. Before that, they won 3, so to say they are a streaky team would be an understatement. "We have to get some consistency," said RB Travis Henry. "Enough of this up and down stuff. It's time to get up and stay up. We can't rest on our laurels because we have a tough customer in front of us in the standings. As well as coming for dinner this Sunday." Henry ran two TDs in and was one of those double digit scorers. WR Randy Moss had a fine day as he scored on a 39 yard TD and caught 9 passes for 119 yards. That gave him a team high 16 points. QB Peyton Manning kept up his rhythm as he threw two TDs and ran one in for 14 points. And finally, WR Marty Booker scored 11 points on a 27 yard TD catch. The Roscoes are in one of the toughest stretches of schedule in the league. They play the Tattoo Crew this week which will lead into a HUGE matchup in week 10 between them and the division leading Rynos. But they can't look ahead as the Crew are ready and waiting for them. The Warriors meanwhile don't have much to play for anymore. They host the Stallions in week 9 in a game that could end the season for one of the teams.
The Night Hawks(6-2) are legit. With no players scoring over 12 points, the Hawks still managed to churn out a victory and extend their winning streak to a team record 4 games. The final score over the Stallions was 65-58. QB Drew Bledsoe, who is 5-1 as a starter, led the team with 12 points as he threw for over 300 yards again and included in that was a 59 yard TD pass. WR Jimmy Smith finally made an impact on his new team as he scored a 25 yard TD to end the day with 11 points. The D/ST had 3 picks and 3 sacks en route to a 10 point day, and RB Corey Dillon continued his resurgence rushing for 138 yards and a 4 yard TD for 10 points. TE Shannon Sharpe made his first start since week one. He started for Randy McMichael who was given the week off. He made the most of it scoring on one of his just 2 catches. An 8-yard TD. Afterwards, the team seemed to be excited. "This is a good roll we're on. I don't know where this will take us. But right now we are enjoying. At the beginning of the season, our goal was to make the playoffs again, obviously," said Bledsoe. "But I think it's time to raise the bar a bit. We don't want to just make the playoffs. We have set ourselves up for a good opportunity to get that bye week. But talking about it isn't going to make it happen. We have to keep up Coach Landry's philosophy and keep winning week in and week out. We can't afford to stumble when you are talking about the bye week." Sharpe was a little more bold, as he tends to be: "We're going all the way this year. Print it. Shoot, I scored this week and I'm just the second best TE on the team! Anybody tells you we ain't good, tell them to tune in to Magoo Bowl II. Drew is my boy. That pretty boy is tearing up the league, man. Nobody can stop him. And we go 4 maybe 5 deep at WR. And when Jerome returns, those are some good options back there, boy! Whoo! Coach Landry never had it so easy!" When told of those comments, Landry had this to say: "Well that's just Shannon being Shannon. Our first order of business isn't the Magoo Bowl, or the bye. In fact it isn't even making the playoffs. Our first order of business is facing T.N.T. next week and giving a good solid effort. And hopefully we will come out of there with a win." K Jason Elam struggled as he missed two FGs, but still ended up with 6 points. As far as the Stallions are concerned, they missed a good opportunity to topple the division leaders and cut a game off that lead. "We were close. And we gave them a good game. But we have to put the game away," said RB Curtis Martin. QB Steve McNair was throwing TD passes all over Spartan Stadium as he had a game high 18 points and RB James Stewart ran and caught his way to 11 points. But they still fell to 3 games back in the division and are 2 games back in the wild card hunt. They head to the Beaver Dome next week to play the Warriors.