Rattlers dominate Shock to stay perfect

PHOENIX — The Arizona Rattlers closed out the first half of the regular season with a resounding 70-38 victory Sunday over the Spokane Shock in front of 9,437 fans at US Airways Center.

The Rattlers (9-0), one of only two undefeated teams remaining in the Arena Football League, made it two in a row this season over the Shock (5-4) after also claiming a 68-49 win back on March 23 at US Airways Center, where they are 35-5 (including playoffs) since 2011.

For the second straight week, Arizona’s defense turned in a dominating performance, coming away with five interceptions, four pass breakups and one fumble recovery. In last week’s 61-32 victory at Portland, the Rattlers created four first-half turnovers, including three interceptions by defensive back Marquis Floyd, and turned all of them into touchdowns.

This time, defensive back Arkeith Brown led the way with two interceptions, while Floyd and rookie Demar Dorsey had one apiece. The fifth interception drew some of the biggest cheers from the crowd — the second-largest of the season — as defensive lineman Isaac Remington returned the ball 27 yards for his first career touchdown.

Jeremy Kellem added a 43-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown with 48 seconds left before halftime. The defensive back also led all players with six tackles and one pass breakup.

Nick Davila, who had thrown for seven or more touchdowns in every game this season coming in, had six touchdown passes — including four to wide receiver Rod Windsor — before turning over the reins to Jason Murrietta early in the fourth quarter. Davila completed 16 of 27 passes for 175 yards, but he also was intercepted twice on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter by Shock linebacker Terence Moore.

It was the first time since April 26, in the second quarter against the San Antonio Talons, that Davila had been intercepted. Still, in his last five games, the fifth-year player has thrown 44 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. 

Incidentally, Davila moved into sole possession of eighth place on the AFL’s all-time passing touchdowns list with 513.

Windsor, who had eight receptions for 111 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s victory at Portland, had even bigger numbers in this one, catching 12 passes for 138 yards to go along with four more touchdowns. Wide receiver Kerry Reed had two touchdown catches. 

Spokane remained unsettled at the quarterback position with veteran Erik Meyer on injured reserve. The Shock started the game with Rashaad Carter, who’s listed as a wide receiver on the roster and depth chart, but in the second quarter went back to rookie Donovan Porterie, who went 17 of 29 for 161 yards and two touchdowns to go with four interceptions. He also rushed for one score.

The Shock never held a lead or even posed a serious threat. At one point, they failed to score on seven straight possessions from the first through third quarters.