In a week where we saw the top three teams go up against threatening opponents, there was always going to be an upset, just us as we unpick week 8 of the European football league.
(1-6) ISTANBUL RAMS @ (5-2) BARCELONA DRAGONS
The Rams finally found their breakthrough win! By way of running the ball, they rushed for a combined 186 yards which were spread between the new QB and running back Cokadar. Despite coming into the game as very heavy underdogs they managed to find a game plan synchronising their new plays into a winning team, and against no other than their division leaders.
Through patience in the ground and pound approach and a consistent aerial attack gaining them 10-15 yards it would be fair to say that the Rams turned a few heads and quite rightly so – this breakdown however would be worthless without mentioning the kicker and punter Sarikatipoğlu.
As undeniably important as his two field goals were to the 19-22 scoreline, somewhat more impressive was his two punts pinning the dragons in their own five (one culminating in them scoring a safety). This would be a very different game without him.
The Dragons quarterback ‘Magic Zach’ showed a lot of heart but ultimately lost his spark in this one which can’t be helped by the Dragons O-line, allowing a lot of pressure to him and not giving him any breathing room in the run game.
As bizarre as this result may seem, it seems it has shown that the Dragons can be slain by a good run game and consistent special teams. Although out of playoff contention the Rams have shown they aren’t afraid of getting their horns out and getting stuck into the big games.
(6-1) HAMBURG SEA DEVILS @ (4-3) RHEIN FIRE
With the new American signing being embraced by Rhine Fire fans it was a surprise to see the assumed second-string QB – Rohat Dagdelen – start for the Fire. Unfortunately, after only a punt and an interception to his name, head coach Tomsula gave his fellow compatriot the nod for the start of the second half.
Regardless of the quarterback mishap on the fire side-line, they were never really in it, the closest they got to Hamburg was 7 points.. which was when the Sea Devils first scored. It was really the Constant and Toonga show as we may have expected.
The current (and convincing) rushing yards, and touchdown league lead showed true to form that he can take over a game with 97 yards and 3 TDs. This linked with Constants impressive but less than average 107 all-purpose yards must have left their opponents asking themselves where they put their efforts to stop the efficiency of the Sea Devils.
Hamburg has once again confirmed that they deserve to be the second seed going into the playoffs. Being able to run and throw the ball with great success and then back that up with their defence keeping a pretty handy Rhine offence to just 14 points while forcing 2 fumbles along the way. Vienna will for sure be looking at what Barcelona did to defeat the stoic Sea Devils.
(4-3) RAIDERS TIROL @ (7-0) VIENNA VIKINGS
In a battle for Austria between two very good teams, you wouldn’t be alone in watching this over the Hamburg game. Straight from the go, you could tell the Viking were primed and ready as Erdmann found his receivers in the first two drives for touchdowns.
14-0 down and momentum (and crowd) strongly in the other direction the Raiders showed heart and gut to trudge down the field all the way to the RedZone before fumbling the ball which was recovered by the Vikings they may have thought the game was firmly in their grasp but thanks to yet another fumble – this time by Vienna – Triols’ backer Lucky Ogbevoen recovered it and took it all the way back for 6 points.
With massive defensive plays by both teams in the second half this was very much a game of keeping your head on and not letting the moment lead you a stray.
Showing their cool Vienna took the victory on this occasion and although there were 16 points in credit you would have to say that Tyrolean football fanatics would feel their team were certainly in with a shout. This will be an interesting match-up if their paths meet in the playoffs.
Thank you for joining us for another week, although this week featured significantly fewer aerial bombs it certainly provided us with bucketfuls of drama, upset and much to tide us over till next week.