Arizona Defeats Power, Next Game Determines Playoffs For Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Arizona’s offense was perfect.
The Pittsburgh Power saw Arizona’s offense go 10 for 10, scoring a touchdown every series. The Rattlers (15-2) defeated the Power (8-8) Sunday night, 68-34, at the CONSOL Energy Center in front of 8,600 fans.
Power head coach Chris Siegfried called the game a “must-win” in order to get into playoffs. But now, Pittsburgh must win its final two remaining regular season games if they want to see postseason action, one of those being Friday at the Cleveland Gladiators.
Arizona already clinched the National West Conference division before matching up against the Power, but the victory secured home-field advantage throughout playoffs. Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila entered Sunday night’s contest with the second-ranked scoring offense (61.9 points per game), along with being second in the league in touchdowns (103) and offensive yards (279.2).
Davila, formerly of the University of Cincinnati, backed up his numbers by converting 22 of 35 passes for 214 yards and eight touchdowns.
Pittsburgh committed four turnovers overall, with three coming in the first half. The first was on the first snap of the game from Power quarterback Bernard Morris’ attempted pass to wide receiver Mike Washington. The interception by defensive back Virgil Gray was his tenth of the year and led to one of ten scoring drives for Davila’s offense.
The first Arizona touchdown resulted from Morris’ turnover when Davila found wide receiver Kerry Reed with 10:51 left in the first quarter.
Reed tallied seven catches for 47 yards and four touchdowns, while wide receiver Jason Geathers pulled in eight catches for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Chris Jackson played his first game with the Rattlers and first AFL down since 2008. Jackson ranks second all-time in AFL history after scoring two touchdowns Sunday.
The Power’s second turnover was once again on the first play of a series. On their second possession, wide receiver Jason Willis fumbled. Arizona recovered on the Power’s 11-yard-line, putting them in excellent position to score. Just 2:03 after putting numbers on the scoreboard, Arizona went up 14-0 when Davila floated a ball to wide receiver Rod Windsor in the back of the end zone.
With 3:37 remaining in the first quarter, Morris lofted a pass to a wide open Washington, and the game was within seven for Pittsburgh.
Washington finished with six catches for 63 yards and four touchdowns, including a 57-yard kick return late in the third quarter. Morris completed 19 of 35 passes for 181 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
At the end of the first half, Arizona led 34-14, and the Rattlers advanced their lead to a 20-point advantage after the third quarter.
After the outcome Sunday, Pittsburgh is one game behind division rival Cleveland, and face the Gladiators Friday at Quicken Loans Arena for an 8 p.m. start time. A loss at Cleveland would eliminate the Power from any playoff hopes.