Pittsburgh Power games might air on ThisTV these days, but perhaps Nick-At-Nite would be a better choice for a network. Every Power game I’ve watched this year seems to be a rerun and I think we all know how the show ends.
One week after taking a few steps forward on offense this time the Power (1-4) settled back into their usual struggling selves and lost a game that was easily within reach. This time the beneficiaries of their generosity were the San Antonio Talons (2-3) who defeated the Power 42-37 Sunday afternoon at Consol Energy Center.
Pittsburgh’s defense continued to play strong with two interceptions, two forced turnovers on down and they held Talons quarterback Nick Hill in check both in the air (189 yards) and on the ground (13 yards).
The problem was that every time the Power grabbed some momentum, the offense gave the ball back. A prime example was the first play from scrimmage following a Chris LeFlore interception. Running back Kirby Griffin coughed the ball up and the Talons recovered.
That’s the maddening thing about this team, they make crucial mistakes every time they have a chance to take control of a game. It doesn’t help a rookie quarterback to be under constant pressure though and Jordan Jefferson took four more sacks tonight. Even when he did manage to scramble away from the pass rush he’d miss some open receivers or they would drop the ball. Conversely San Antonio’s leading receiver, Jomo Wilson, found himself wide open in the end zone and Nick Hill did not miss.
Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is really that simple. Sometimes it’s a matter of having enough playmakers. The playmakers are abundant on defense but on offense they are few and far between.
Coach Stingley mentioned how they keep trying to make the offensive scheme simpler and easier to execute but, as we have seen, there doesn’t seem to be progress coming. At what point do you stop trying to dumb down the offense and instead find players who can do more than the very basics of AFL football?
The Power brought in an offensive consultant Jon Lyles to show Mike Tomczak the ropes and to the naked eye it sure seems as though he has taken over most of the play calling. Today’s offense failed because of execution.
Mike Washington admitted in the post-game press conference how it is frustrating to see the same players making the same mistakes repeatedly. While he would not clarify who he is talking about, you have to wonder how much longer this team can watch the same story and not change the channel, or at least change a few faces on this roster.
You need to do that just to show some accountability. I’ve heard numerous times in the past few years how players are always a phone call away from being replaced if they don’t perform. It’s clear as day some players on this team aren’t performing and yet we’ve seen very few roster moves to try and shake things up. Jordan Jefferson keeps trotting out there and making the same mistakes over and over again., the offensive line continues to get beat on the edges and receivers continue to make crucial drops.
The very fact this team hangs around and competes in these games is a testament to how good this Power defense has played. Imagine how good this team could be if the offense got up to even average AFL standards?
Shane Austin came into the game and once again the Power offense moved down the field and scored two touchdowns under his leadership. Isn’t it time to finally end this Jordan Jefferson experiment and go with Austin?
Like this Talons game, there is so much within reach of this Power team if they can fix some of these major issues and start winning some football games. Philadelphia has stumbled to a 2-3 start and sits just one game ahead of the Power and despite this awful start the Power remains tied for the fourth playoff spot in the American Conference.
This team can get where they want to go this season if they start making some tough choices right now. Stand pat and keep doing the same thing and we’ll be watching the same episode on Nick-At-Nite again, only it’s not quite as funny the 10th time you’ve seen it.