Rattlers dealt first loss of season by Shock
SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane Shock, returning home after a lengthy road trip, stayed perfect and gave the defending ArenaBowl champion Arizona Rattlers their first loss of the season Saturday night, a 66-49 defeat in front of a sellout crowd of 10,358.
Shock quarterback Erik Meyer built on his league-leading numbers, throwing for another eight touchdowns to give him 32 on the season with no interceptions. There were no defensive stops in the game until 3:45 left in the fourth quarter, when Spokane held the Rattlers on downs.
Arizona received the opening kickoff and wasted no time getting on the board, as quarterback Nick Davila took the Rattlers down the field for the opening touchdown of the contest. On the Shock’s first possession of the game, it took only two plays for Meyer to connect on a deep post-corner route to Duane Brooks for his first AFL reception and touchdown to tie the score at 7-7.
The Rattlers would go deep on their next drive, scoring on a 35-yard pass from Davila to wide receiver Rod Windsor. But the Shock answered again, as Meyer capped an impressive drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to make it 14-14 at the end of the opening quarter.
In the second quarter of play, the Rattlers went back on top, scoring in four plays to go up 21-14. The shootout would continue, with Meyer finding receiver Kamar Jorden, who was able to out juke and outrun the Arizona defenders, capping off the play with a dive into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown to tie the game at 21-21.
After the score, the Shock attempted and recovered an onside kick, taking a key possession away from the Rattlers. Meyer and Jorden would again connect on the ensuing drive, this time on an 18-yard pass to take the lead 28-21. The Rattlers dug themselves a hole on the next possession, getting backed up to their own goal line, but on a fourth-and-10, Davila would find receiver Kerry Reed for a 49-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 28 before the half.
The Shock opened the third quarter with a methodical drive that ended with Meyer connecting with Adron Tennell in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass, putting Spokane up 35-28. Arizona would keep the back-and-forth action going, driving the field for a 1-yard rushing touchdown by fullback Odie Armstrong.
Meyer would answer yet again, finding Jorden for the third time in the game on the slant for the 7-yard touchdown strike, giving the Shock a 42-35 lead.
In the final quarter of play, the Rattlers capped a five-play drive with a 6-yard scoring pass from Davila to Jared Perry. Meyer continued the high-scoring night with a 45-yard pass to Tennell, who bounced off the pads at the sideline and took it in for a touchdown, putting the Shock back up 49-42.
After a sack by the Shock backed the Rattlers up, Davila would find Windsor for his third receiving touchdown of the night, tying the score at 49 with fewer than nine minutes to go. But on the ensuing drive, Tennell would show off his athleticism and hands by bouncing off the pads in the end zone while pulling in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Meyer to put Spokane up 56-49.
The Shock defense came up big with less than three minutes to play, forcing a turnover on downs and giving their offense the ball back at the Rattlers 5-yard line. Kenny Spencer gave Spoke a 59-49 lead with 1:16 to play on a short field goal, but the Shock weren’t finished quite yet.
With Arizona driving and less than one minute to go, Spokane linebacker Beau Bell came up with the critical interception while spying Rattler quarterback Nick Davila and returned the pick 20 yards into Arizona territory, setting up a touchdown that finished off the scoring and kept the Shock unbeaten while dealing the Rattlers their first loss of the young season.