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Saints offense stays cold but tempers remain cool
There were plenty of key players missing in last Saturday's 48-0 loss to the King County Jaguars, but none of them were as important as another MIA: a handle on the ball. Plagued by turnovers all season, the West Sound Saints (1-6) lost three fumbles and threw a pair of interceptions, killing any chances on offense while the defense, for the most part played well.
The biggest story of the game may have been what didn't happen. The Saints didn't lose their cool, despite the Jags doing everything they could to provoke an early meltdown.
West Sound took the opening kickoff, but went three and out on their first possession, and it only took King County three of their own plays to punch in a 10-yard touchdown pass. The Jags tight end, Jon Rector, who started the season with the Saints, then pulled a Terrell Owens, whipping out a Sharpie and handing the autographed ball to the Saints coaching staff less than four minutes into the game. The resulting unsportsmanlike conduct penalty assessed paled in comparison to the sanctions handed out against the Saints after a 56-14 loss at the Jags home stadium two weeks ago, when decorum was not the order of the day.
Making matters even worse, the Jags picked up a two-point conversion on a 17-yard pass thrown by another former Saint, Mallichi DeWalt, who picked up a bad snap on the following point after kick.
The defense stepped up after that, however, frustrating the Jaguars until mid-way through the second quarter, when a lost fumble gave King County the ball on the Saints 9-yard line. The Saints fumbled again on the next kick-off, but managed to recover that drop.
With 5:17 left in the half, the Saints finally got their first down of the game, then reeled off two more on the next two plays, with Carl Horn bursting up the middle for 11 yards, and Marvin Bronson hitting Brad Lassiter with a 22-yard pass. But again stopping their own momentum, a false start put the Saints in a first and 15 hole, and three incomplete passes stopped the drive.
The defense came up strong at the start of the second half as well, denying the Jags on a goal line stand after King County had driven to a first-and-goal from the six. A 3-yard loss on a run, and two incomplete passes later, and the Saints blocked a field goal attempt.
Another lost fumble three plays later set the Jaguars up again, and the rout was on as the defense had already spent way too much time on the field.
Half of the offensive line was out of action, and the Saints had to try their best with their third string running back. Starters Anthony Galloway and Andy Alfred, normally the top two options to rush the ball were both unavailable.
"Galloway and Alfred were dearly missed," said coach John Corey, "but fundamentals are what hurt us the most. There were a lot of kids that got a chance to play, and they made a lot of the same mistakes the older guys have been making. Our tackling was bad. We'd have people there to make the stop, but we couldn't bring them down."
The Saints hit the road again this Saturday, facing the 6-1 Seattle Stallions, before finishing the season with two home games against teams tied with them at 1-6 in the cellar.