Week 2 of the 2005 NFL Europe season is in the books, and two teams have separated themselves from the pack at 2-0, with the Berlin Thunder and Cologne Centurions the remaining unbeatens establishing themselves as the early favorites to compete for the World Bowl come June.
The weekend's results left the league with two teams each at 2-0, 1-1, and 0-2 heading into Week 3. Frankfurt (1-1) got in the win column with a 23-14 come-from-behind victory over Amsterdam (1-1) Saturday, followed by Berlin's 15-13 back-and-forth win over Hamburg (0-2) and Cologne's comfortable 23-10 triumph over Rhein (0-2) in their local rivalry game, both on Sunday.
Players allocated from Green Bay made contributions in each of the games contested over the weekend.
Saturday night in Frankfurt, four Packers helped power the Galaxy to their first win of the season after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter to linebacker John Garrett's Amsterdam Admirals. Garrett made two tackles, one on defense and another on special teams, in his team's losing effort.
For the Galaxy, they received helped from Green Bay-allocated players in all phases of the game. Receivers Jamal Jones and Sam Breeden started for Frankfurt for the second straight game, and for the second straight week Jones was the team's leading pass-catcher with five receptions for 59 yards. Breeden chipped in with one catch for six yards.
Seante Williams made an impact on defense once again, this week making two tackles from his starting end position and tallying his first sack of the season as he dropped quarterback Gibran Hamdan for a four-yard loss.
Receiver Kelvin Kight, who joined the Galaxy last week after recovering from an injury suffered while in training camp with the Admirals, contributed on special teams in his NFL Europe debut as he stripped the ball from punt returner Ataveus Cash, a fumble that was recovered by a Frankfurt teammate and led to a field goal.
The three Packers involved in the Hamburg-Berlin contest - all members of the visiting Sea Devils - suffered their second consecutive close defeat, despite their finest efforts to produce the team's first-ever victory.
Linebackers Nick McNeil and Shawn Morgan once again played well, both on defense and on special teams, as McNeil started at middle linebacker for the second straight game with Morgan contributing as a reserve. McNeil made five tackles (three solo) on defense and added another stop on special teams.
Morgan had a standout performance, collecting four tackles from his linebacker spot, including a 10-yard sack of Thunder quarterback Dave Ragone and a forced fumble, as well as two more tackles on special teams.
Punter B.J. Sander led the league for the second straight week in punting average, this week booting four kicks for an average of 43.0 yards with a net average of 36.3. His four punts included two that came down inside the Berlin 20-yard line and a 65-yarder that was downed at the six.
Cologne became the first NFL Europe team to win on the road in 2005, winning the Rhein Cup in their victory over the Fire, which featured four Packers on their roster.
For the second straight game, quarterback Scott McBrien piloted the Fire on their lone touchdown drive, this time hooking up with receiver Jeris McIntyre on a 58-yard scoring pass. McBrien, who again split time under center with starter Andy Hall, completed 10 of 18 passes on the day for 141 yards with the touchdown and an interception, giving him a QB rating of 76.4 on the day. He also ran with the ball twice for seven yards and led his team to a field goal on their other scoring drive of the afternoon.
Defensive back Chris Day once again proved to be one of the league's top kickoff returners, averaging 20.6 yards on five runbacks in Week 2. He also got on the stat sheet on defense, recording a solo tackle and a pass defense, as well as another stop on special teams.
Guard Steve Morley and defensive tackle Doug Sims each participated in rotations along the line on their respective sides of the ball for the home team.
G Joe Hayes (Berlin), S Chonn Lacey (Frankfurt), G Joe Quinn (Rhein), and S Wendell Williams (Cologne) missed their teams' games for the second straight week due to injury.
The action in Week 3 will feature all six teams in action Saturday, highlighted by the league's first game in its newest market as the Hamburg Sea Devils host the Rhein Fire in a game that will see one of the two pick up their first win of the season.
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Week 2 Results
Frankfurt 23, Amsterdam 14 (Attendance: 31,644)
Berlin 15, Hamburg 13 (Attendance: 14,312)
Cologne 23, Rhein 10 (Attendance: 25,304)
Week 3 Schedule
Saturday, April 16
Frankfurt at Cologne 11:00 AM CDT (DirecTV)
Berlin at Amsterdam 12:00 PM CDT
Rhein at Hamburg 12:00 PM CDT (NFL Network)