Week 10 Results
Frankfurt 14, Berlin 13
Hamburg 34, Amsterdam 21
Rhein 21, Cologne 10
Butchie sends Galaxy Bowling
Courtesy NFL Europe.com
Free agent running back Butchie Wallace scored on a pair of touchdown runs as the Frankfurt Galaxy overcame an early 13-0 deficit to defeat the Berlin Thunder and qualify for a league record seventh World Bowl.
Wallace scored on a 3-yard run just before the first half and then found the end zone from the same distance for what proved to be the game's winning points with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter.
The game also proved memorable for Frankfurt's Arizona Cardinals-allocated running back Roger Robinson, who rushed for 133 yards on 32 carries. That gave him a season total of 1,087, which surpassed the league single season record of 1,057 set by Mike Green of the 2001 Barcelona Dragons.
Robinson also topped 100 yards rushing for the seventh time this season - also a league record, breaking a tie with Joe Smith, of the 2005 Rhein Fire.
The Galaxy made a slow start in their bid to reach Yello Strom World Bowl XIV, going three and out on their opening two possessions of the evening. The second of Mike Barr's punts was returned 25 yards to the Frankfurt 35-yard line by cornerback Robert Redd.
Although the Thunder were having offensive struggles of their own, they did manage to move close enough to take a 3-0 lead through a 30-yard field goal by Xavier Beitia.
Frankfurt handed possession back to Berlin on their next drive as quarterback Craig Ochs lost a fumble and Thunder linebacker Jermaine Taylor fell on the loose football at the Galaxy 32-yard line. Again, Berlin could do little with the turnover but did add to their lead as Beitia split the uprights from 47 yards out.
After the Galaxy went three and out for the fourth possession in a row early in the second period, Berlin looked set to add to their lead. But on third down and in field goal range, Brian Wrobel's pass intended for tight end Ben Moa was intercepted by safety Brandon Haw at the Frankfurt 2-yard line.
Frankfurt could not take advantage of the turnover as Jeff Otis threw an interception of his own - to Thunder safety Anthony Floyd at the Galaxy's own 17-yard line. Two plays later, Berlin led 13-0 as Wrobel fired a 15-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Brandon Middleton.
Otis continued to have his troubles on Frankfurt's next drive as he was picked off by English defensive lineman Danny Watts, giving Berlin possession at the Galaxy 20-yard line. But the Thunder failed to take advantage as they couldn't pick up a first down and Beitia sent his 29-yard field goal attempt wide left.
Having avoided conceding points that could potentially have been game-clinching, the Galaxy finally woke up as quarterback Jeff Otis completed passes of 16 and 19 yards to wide receiver Walter Young and 10 yards to wideout Jason Anderson.
Those plays put Frankfurt in position to score the first touchdown of the game as running back Butchie Wallace found the end zone from 3 yards out. Dave Kimball added the PAT to pull the Galaxy to within six points late in the first half.
Berlin's response saw B.J. Symons complete passes of 17 and 16 yards to Mexican wide receiver Alejandro Gamez, and 23 yards to Redd. But on fourth and 11 at the Frankfurt 29-yard line, the Thunder passed on the chance to attempt a long field goal and Symons' throw fell incomplete to send the teams into the intermission.
Berlin could do little with their first drive of the second half but Brian Simnjanovski's punt did pin the Galaxy down at their own 4-yard line. Robinson hit full stride, carrying 5 times for 54 yards, while Wallace added scampers covering 13 and 22 yards before scoring his second touchdown of the night on a 3-yard run. Dave Kimball's extra point gave Frankfurt a 14-13 advantage.
The Thunder began moving the football on their next possession as Wrobel completed 3 passes to running back Marty Johnson for 32 yards and added a 13-yard scramble. But a holding penalty against Gamez and a false start by offensive lineman Tom Kaleita stalled the drive and Berlin was forced to punt.
Berlin had the chance to re-take the lead inside the final five minutes as Wrobel twice hooked up with Middleton for gains of 20 and 35 yards. But having moved to Frankfurt's 13-yard line, the Thunder could not get the ball into the end zone and wasted the scoring opportunity as Beitia pushed his 30-yard field goal wide right.
The Galaxy then ran the football 8 times in a row for 32 yards before punting to the Thunder 10-yard line. That saw Berlin unable to complete a late comeback and left them rueing their missed opportunities on special teams.
Sea Devils down World Bowl-bound Admirals
Courtesy NFL Europe.com
Amsterdam may be heading for Yello Strom World Bowl XIV, but the Hamburg Sea Devils can lay claim to the title of NFL Europe's hottest team, after defeating the Admirals to win their third consecutive game.
Hamburg dominated the World Bowl-bound Admirals throughout the first half, leaving Amsterdam playing from behind for the majority of the contest.
The Sea Devils scored a pair of touchdowns on defense when Scott Genord returned an interception of Amsterdam quarterback Jared Allen 42 yards for a touchdown, and Jason Shivers took an Allen fumble 45 yards for a score.
Amsterdam head coach Bart Andrus will have plenty to fix on his team as they spend the week preparing to face the Frankfurt Galaxy, after his offense turned the ball over five times in the game - including two picks and a fumble by starting quarterback Allen.
The victory helped Hamburg climb into fifth place in the standings, leaving Berlin in last position at the end of the season. The Sea Devils had been NFL Europe's basement dwellers throughout the season and did not even win their first game until Week Eight.
After forcing a punt from the Sea Devils on their opening possession, Amsterdam got on a drive and moved from their own 20-yard line into Hamburg territory before Allen suffered his first interception of the game - by linebacker Kris Griffin.
A 17-yard hook-up between Todd Mortensen and Scott McCready took Hamburg's offense into Amsterdam's half, but they got a let-off when linebacker Carl-Johan Bjork dropped a possible interception. The Admirals were made to pay when Tyler Jones (Washington Redskin) split the uprights on a 35-yard field goal to give the visitors an early 3-0 advantage.
Amsterdam's offense continued to splutter on their next possession, with two passes from Allen to receiver Vincent Butler (Green Bay Packers) missing high and wide. The Admirals defense forced a Hamburg punt on their next possession, and Adam Anderson's effort was downed inside the Amsterdam 4-yard line.
Although they did manage a first down, back-to-back false start penalties pushed them right back to where they began the drive. Glenn Pakulak (Oakland Raiders) saw his punt returned to the Admirals 39-yard line, after Rayshun Reed's 18-yard return.
The Sea Devils had an opportunity to cash in their field position advantage immediately, but DeJuan Green could not hold onto Brock Berlin's pass down the left sideline. Berlin went back to the endzone - this time looking for McCready - and drew a pass interference penalty that gave them a first down at the 1-yard line. Green knocked on the door with no success on first down, but the next play his strong second effort after being stopped in the backfield gave the Sea Devils a 10-0 lead midway through the season period.
The next series saw the Admirals offense cough the ball up again, as receiver Noriaki Kinoshita lost the ball fighting for more yardage, and linebacker Justin Smith dived onto the pigskin to get it back for the Sea Devils. National running back Jermaine Allen carried twice for 10 yards, and then picked up 10 more on a catch from Berlin to take the ball to the Admirals 1-yard line. It was only fitting, therefore, that the 22-year old British player should be handed the ball one more time from that distance to score his first professional touchdown and give his team a 17-0 lead at the half.
Amsterdam finally got onto the scoreboard on the first possession of the third quarter, capping an efficient 71-yard, four-play drive with a 16-yard connection from Allen to Craig Bragg (Chicago Bears). Including the touchdown pass, Allen completed three consecutive passes for 60 of those yards.
As the third quarter came to a close the Sea Devils scored their first defensive touchdown. Linebacker Genord picked off Allen's pass intended for tight end Yoan Schnee and returned the ball 42 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-7.
Amsterdam replied on their next possession with a 3-yard touchdown run by Larry Croom (San Diego Chargers) pull within ten points, but the Sea Devils made it a two-touchdown game again with a Jones field goal midway through the final period.
There were further points for the Hamburg defense on the next Admirals drive when defensive end Ivory McCoy sacked Allen from the backside, forcing the ball loose. Safety Shivers picked up the loose ball and returned it 45 yards for the score that put the Admirals to bed.
Croom did get into the endzone for a consolation touchdown with 30 seconds remaining to make it 34-21, but Amsterdam will have plenty to work on for their World Bowl appearance in seven days time.
Fire miss Bowl but get Cup
Courtesy NFL Europe.com
Fredrick Jackson rushed for 154 yards and the Rhein Fire found the endzone twice in the third quarter to overturn a halftime deficit and beat the Cologne Centurions 21-10 in their season finale.
But it was not enough to send the Fire to Yello Strom World Bowl XIV because of the Frankfurt Galaxy's victory at the Berlin Thunder earlier in the evening.
An emotional night for the Fire - beginning with a minute's silence for former general manager Alex Leibkind, who died last week - ended with them lifting the Rhein Cup with victory over their near neighbours but having to be content with a 6-4 finish and third place in the standings.
Jackson, allocated by the Buffalo Bills, had scored an 80-yard touchdown on the first of his 21 carries, while Dallas Cowboys-allocated quarterback Drew Henson completed 8 of 20 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in his last game for the Fire.
After forcing a Cologne punt, the Fire scored on their first offensive play when Jackson, allocated by the Buffalo Bills, broke through the left side of the line, bounced to the outside and galloped the almost the length of the field for a touchdown.
Cologne's running back duo combined to tie the game later in the first quarter, with Fred Russell's 32-yard gain taking the ball to the 2-yard line and Jamaal Branch finishing off the 81-yard drive from there.
It was the legs of Cologne quarterback Shane Boyd that proved elusive for the Fire defense in the second quarter as he skipped and swerved his way to three first downs, but with the ball at the 8-yard line Branch's fumbled was grabbed by Fire safety Siddeeq Shabbazz. When Cologne regained possession Boyd connected twice with Brian Bratton to set up Nick Setta's 24-yard field goal for a 10-7 halftime lead.
The Fire were back in front in the third quarter after Henson hit Steven Harris for a 34-yard gain and Jacque Lewis fought his way into the endzone on a 7-yard run. Henson was quickly on target again to extend the lead when he hooked up with Washington Redskins receiver Harris down the middle of the field for a 35-yard touchdown.
Kicker Ola Kimrin missed the chance to extend the Fire advantage in the fourth quarter when he missed from 40 yards at the end of a drive that punter Travis Dorsch had kept alive with his 23-yard run on a fourth-and-20 play. But the Fire defense ensured that there was to be no late recovery by the Centurions, although Boyd did get the rushing yards he needed to pass Jon Kitna's previous quarterback record of 334 in a season.
Packers in NFLEL - End of regular season statistics
*S Atari Bigby (Amsterdam Admirals) -
Started all 10 contests at free safety and finished with a team-high 61 tackles (43 solo), with one interception among four passes defensed...Also posted five tackles on special teams
Week 10 vs. Hamburg - Started and tallied three tackles (one solo)
*WR Vince Butler (Amsterdam Admirals) -
Played in all 10 games as a reserve WR and made 13 catches for 174 yards and one rush for 13 yards.
Week 10 vs. Hamburg - Caught three balls for 66 yards, with a game-long 45-yard reception.
CB Therrian Fontenot (Rhein Fire) -
Started six games at left cornerback and logged 24 tackles (23 solo) and two interceptions among nine passes defensed...Was dubbed Defensive Player of the Week for Week 2 after a two-interception performance in a 22-0 shutout of Berlin.
Week 10 vs. Cologne - Posted one solo tackle and one pass defensed.
*TE Tory Humphrey (Amsterdam Admirals) -
Has started 10 contests at tight end, finishing fourth on the team with 19 catches for 206 yards and one TD.
Week 10 vs. Hamburg - Started and led the team with 59 receiving yards on four catches.
*WR Chad Lucas (Amsterdam Admirals) -
Started nine of 10 games at wide receiver...Finished the regular season with a NFLEL-leading eight touchdowns; was second on the team in receptions with 27 for 440 yards...Was awarded Offensive Player of the Week for Week 4 after catching a league-record four touchdowns in a 38-31 victory over the Berlin Thunder; he finished the game with six catches for 120 yards.
Week 10 vs. Hamburg - Played, but did not record any receptions.
*DT Jerome Nichols (Frankfurt Galaxy) -
Started all 10 games at left defensive tackle, tied for a league-leading six sacks, while also logging 29 tackles (27 solo), plus a forced fumble and five passes defensed.
Week 10 at Berlin - Started and made three solo tackles and two passes defensed.
C Pete Traynor (Rhein Fire) -
Started nine games at center
Week 10 vs. Cologne - Started at center and helped the team rush for 211 yards.
QB Brian Wrobel (Berlin Thunder) -
Serving as backup, completed 28 of 60 passes for 293 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions, for a passer rating of 46.0...Ran 16 times for 42 yards and one TD.
Week 10 vs. Frankfurt - Completed 11 of 17 passes for 124 yards, with one interception...Rushed three times for 19 yards.
* Will play Saturday in World Bowl XIV
World Bowl XIV TV Schedule (NFL Network)
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Amsterdam vs. Frankfurt at Dusseldorf, Germany, 11:00 AM (CT), Live
*Amsterdam Admirals: 7-3-0
*Frankfurt Galaxy: 7-3-0
Rhein Fire: 6-4-0
Cologne Centurions: 4-6-0
Hamburg Sea Devils: 3-6-1
Berlin Thunder: 2-7-1
* Clinched berth in World Bowl XIV