It’s amazing what a little change can do for a struggling offense.
One week after being shut out in the first half and scoring 14 points in Chicago, the Pittsburgh Power (1-3) decided to bring in an offensive consultant to help on the bench. Jon Lyles, the former offensive coordinator of the Bossier-Shreveport Battlewings of the AF2 league, got some immediate results out of the Power and quarterback Jordan Jefferson.
Pittsburgh crossed the 40 point barrier for the first time this season, and used strong defense to make the point total hold up as they defeated the New Orleans VooDoo (1-3) on the road 46-43.
The story of the game was a rejuvenated Power offense behind embattled starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Once again he showed great mobility on some long runs, but his arm was also up to the task in this one. He finished 19 of 30 for 223 yards passing, 30 yards rushing, and five touchdowns with no interceptions. His receivers also dropped a few passes which could have padded his numbers a bit more.
All four Power players with receptions found the end zone. P.J. Berry led the way with 4 catches for 95 yards and two scores against his former team. Perry Baker had 6 catches for 75 yards and a score and is emerging as a popular target for Jordan Jefferson. Mike Washington had a team high 9 receptions for 61 yards and a score and Christian Wise scored the first touchdown of the day for the Power on a 14 yard catch which was his only grab of the game.
The Power defense finally came through with some big plays to help win the game. Sergio Gilliam helped start a 19-0 run of points by the Power with an interception return for a touchdown. Back to back fumbles by Donovan Morgan were recovered by the Power and helped them rebound from a 23-7 hole.
The Power held the VooDoo to 107 net offensive yards but that low total may have been because the Power also took 17 penalties for 115 yards. Coming into the game the Power had only been penalized 15 times for 88 yards on the season.
In addition to the penalties, Power kicker Josh Czajkowski struggled once again on PAT attempts, converting only 4 of 7. Points in these games are crucial and this is an area the team might need to address soon.
VooDoo starting quarterback Kurt Rocco finished the first half 7 of 13 for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns plus an interception but did not return in the second half because of an MCL sprain. Zack Eskridge entered the game but was only 8 of 15 for 29 yards, 1 touchdown, and he took 3 sacks.
Overall I liked the variety in the play calling for the Power, although they still seemed a touch conservative at times. The team faced a bit of adversity in this one when an apparent first down catch by P.J. Berry was overturned by replay. The ball never seemed to touch the ground but the ball went over to the VooDoo. Give credit to the Power for battling until the end despite all the penalties.
Pittsburgh will return home this week to face the San Antonio Talons, another team with a solid defense but a struggling offense. The matchup will look rather similar to this one, so perhaps the Power can start to build some momentum.
Russell Athletic Player of the Game – P.J. Berry
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – James Bryant
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – Derek Lee
Cutters Catch of the Game – P.J. Berry, 47-yard TD
AFL Highlight of the Game – Quorey Payne Kickoff Return TD
Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Power Facebook Page