It was a funny old day in Gent. Two teams got shutout (both in the same game) and there were two furious comebacks (both in the same game). It’s going to take some fancy writing to explain these games.
Game One – Brussels Black Angels 0, Brussels Bulls 0
Before you ask, yes, the game was actually played. Neither team could find a way through their opponent and so I suppose 0-0 was a logical end to an illogical game.
There was barely a play run inside the red zone all game. When the Angels either got close or had a big play, it was always called back by a penalty. When the Bulls got close, they lost a fumble. It was almost as if the teams didn’t want to score. I suppose that says more for both teams’ defenses than anything, as they had offensive coördinators scratching their heads, trying to come up with something that would work. Needless to say, they didn’t find anything.
In the second quarter and beyond, the Angels had success on the ground while running from the wishbone, but the only thing it brought up was a very long missed field goal attempt. The Bulls best chance happened after two nice completions from QB Fogarty to WR Stalmans took them to around scoring range, but their next play was fumbled and the drive killed.
The Angels brought their usual tough running game with RB Sarta and FB Banza chewing up the yards, but they were all tackled hard by Bulls LB Nyati Panzu. Defensive backs Hadouchi and Nicolajeff held the Angels passing game pretty well in check, QB Njufom wasn’t totally in synch with his receivers and tossed two interceptions to S Brady. But the Bulls couldn’t take advantage of their good field position.
All in all, neither defense deserved to be scored on and neither was, leading us to double donuts, 0-0.
Game Two – Gent Gators 15, Antwerp Diamonds 12
This game started slowly, and for the most part it looked like three teams were going to get shutout in Gent yesterday afternoon, however Gent put together a furious comeback, only to almost give it all away in the dying seconds.
In what could only be described as a re-enactment of Superbowl XXXIV, Antwerp’s TE Verhelst was tackled at the 1 yard line by S De Bruycker (check out the video on Marco Karmidi’s facebook page), leaving the Diamonds just that yard short of the win after mounting their own comeback.
Antwerp totally dominated in the first half. It was fair to wonder if the Gators were actually playing with 11 on the field for a while, and yet for all their dominance, the Diamonds had just 12 points to show for it, a 1-yard touchdown sneak by QB Keymolen and a 21-yard catch by TE Verhelst. This would prove costly as the Gators got things moving in the final quarter. Also the Gators defense, led by LB Scheurmans, held firm against the Diamonds, allowing their offense the chance to make a run.
QB Bagget was finally afforded some time by his offensive line, connecting on a couple of passes and eventually finding WR Depreitere for a 24-yard pass and touchdown. The kick from K De Gussem was good and the score was 12-7. After a disastrous onside kick attempt, the Gators got the ball back and begun to move the football again, WR Depreitere again the favourite target, but it was WR Van Melder who caught a 9-yard pass to put the Gators up 12-13. FB De Gussem was able to smash in for a two point conversion and the Gators would lead 12-15 with under two minutes to go.
The Diamonds would kick back into gear for their final drive, TE Verhelst in particular making a really nice catch after a ball was tipped, and it was him again taking the ball down to the 1-yard line where he would be stopped by S De Bruycker. The Diamonds tried to spike the ball but, controversially, the time had expired, and Antwerp were left stranded just three feet away from victory.
Game Three – West Flanders Tribes 40, Limburg Shotguns 13
The Tribes offensive line dominated this game, running through and over the Limburg defense, allowing RB George to score three touchdowns in the first half. Limburg started on the right foot scoring on a kick return, but the Tribes scored on each of their possessions in the first half, WR Gancharov getting the other score and the Tribes would lead comfortably 27-7 at the half.
Limburg for their part didn’t give up, scoring a touchdown at the end, but their offense wasn’t helped by their 8 false starts. QB Vermaut accounted for both Tribes touchdowns in the second half, one rushing and one passing to WR Thomas De Groote.
Unfortunate news for the Shotguns as RB Michel Eeman has an injured knee, hopefully he’s not out for too long.
Game Four – Bornem Titans 27, Leuven Lions 13
A well played game here for all the fans in Leuven, whose home team took a 12-13 lead after a score from FB Grenson, following up on good work from RB Baete who’d scored a touchdown earlier on.
It would be the aerial game which would bring the Titans back, WR Vermeir scoring twice, including the go-ahead touchdown. The win was sealed by LB Van Hauwaert’s circus interception in the final quarter, which led to QB D’Hondt’s touchdown, setting the final score in stone, the Titans becoming the league’s first and only team at 3-0.
My thanks go out to Klaas Allosserie for his reports of the games in Leuven and here’s a gentle reminder to you all to check out Klaas’ blog here : http://klaasallosserie.posterous.com/whos-better-whos-best-nummer-50, he’s down to #50 in the best NFL players of all time.
OK, so now that all teams have officially completed a game, here are the rankings according to the computer.
1 – West Flanders Tribes (2-0-0) : 3000
2 – Bornem Titans (3-0-0) : 2550
3 – Brussels Bulls (1-1-1) : 1745
4 – Brussels Black Angels (1-1-1) : 1616
5 – Antwerp Diamonds (1-2-0) : 1165
6 – Gent Gators (1-2-0) : 1071
7 – Leuven Lions (1-3-0) : 686
8 – Limburg Shotguns (0-1-0) : 57
Players of the week
Antwerp TE Verhelst. Even when everybody in the stadium knows he’s going to be targeted, he still comes down with the ball, also showing great concentration to grab tipped balls as well. Also not to be underestimated as a return man.
Bulls LB Nyati Panzu. Was absolutely everywhere in the Bulls defense, covering sideline to sideline and making solid tackles all over the place.
Gators QB Bagget. Actually started at running back, peeling off a 20 yard gain on Gent’s first play from scrimmage. But he did his best work at QB, especially in the final quarter, giving his team a chance to win and completing two touchdown passes to bring them back.
Ten thoughts I think I think
1 – I think that there were a lot of angry Diamonds players at the end of the game, I assume about the clock running out. This is going to continue to happen until teams have electronic scoreboards, which, of course, will never happen. It was a pity the game had to end that way, Antwerp, but don’t worry – your playoff destiny is still in your hands.
2 – I think, however, that the playoff race is wide open. Four teams (Angels, Bulls, Gators and Diamonds) are all within half a game of each other, and the all important third spot.
3 – I think I don’t remember a season with so many close games in it, and it’s only week 4! Every team is proving to be competitive, which is excellent.
4 – I think it certainly looks like April 17 and May 1 will be the dates where the FFL Championship is decided. Those are the two Tribes v Titans games (first in Ostend, second in Anderlecht).
5 – I think it took a lot longer than I had predicted, but Antwerp had a punt blocked today.
6 – I think I’m going to have to brush up on my tie-breaking procedures. I know that first is head to head, then points scored in head to head and after that I don’t know any more. That Angels-Bulls game was their only match of the season.
7 – I think it’s a pity that there are no more games in Gent this season, as it’s a great view from the stand. Potential future Belgian Bowl site?
8 – I think QB Fogarty of the Bulls is going to knock at least one of his receivers’ heads off at some point this year. That guy has a cannon for an arm.
9 – I think there’s not much to say about the burger in Gent – same as week 1. At least it wasn’t so damn cold in the bleachers this week.
10 – I think these are my non-FFL thoughts of the week
– I must admit to having a bit of a difficult time about the Japan earthquake. Some of you may know that I used to live there (although not in the area of the ‘quake), and I still have friends there. Thankfully they are all safe. I’m not religious, but if I was, I would pray for them and their families.
– So the NFL has come to a lockout. There’s still time to get a deal sorted out before we start losing football. I guess luckily I’ve decided that I prefer college to NFL anyway. Perhaps they should play some college games on Sundays if there’s no pro ball. By the way, Arena football has started again and they show it on Eurosport.
– I had a good time in London. Saw almost everything I went to see and scored myself a new scarf for my collection and some okonomiyaki sauce. Yum yum!
– I’m probably one of the few around here who’s looking forward to the baseball season. I can’t stand all the big teams though, and I’m thinking that the Twins might just be rather good this year.
Quote of the week
“If you do something good, then I’ll write about it” – me, in response to Gent’s QB/coach Ike Bagget asking if I’d write something about him in the blog before the Gators game. Well played, sir!
March 20 – St. Agatha Berchem
12:00 – Brussels Black Angels (1-1-1) v Bornem Titans (3-0-0)
15:00 – Brussels Bulls (1-1-1) v West Flanders Tribes (2-0-0)
March 20 – Antwerp
12:00 – Gent Gators (1-2-0) v Limburg Shotguns (0-1-0)
15:00 – Antwerp Diamonds (1-2-0) v Leuven Lions (1-3-0)
And that’s just about all I have to say for this Monday. Thursday features your mailbag (so don’t forget to comment) plus previews of the weekends’ games and the computer will finally get off its lazy butt and do some predicting! Until next time.