Command Drop to 0-2 in ClevelandMarch 23, 2012 - Arena Football League (AFL) Kansas City Command
The Command got the ball first to start the game and marched 44 yards in five plays as Nate Davis hit Syvelle Newton for a 31-yard touchdown pass. Cleveland answered with a nine-play, 27-yard drive to tie the game.
Cleveland took advantage of the first turnover of the game, a Davis interception by Denayne Dixon. The Gladiators scored on the next play for a 14-7 lead. The Command then scored two straight touchdowns as the KC defense forced a turnover on downs.
The score was tied at 20 when Newton got his second touchdown catch of the game but the PAT was blocked. Cleveland got the last points of the half with a last-second field goal of 41 yards, but Kansas City led at the break 26-23.
Eerily similar to last week, the third quarter was disastrous for the Command. Cleveland took a 30-26 lead on a six-yard touchdown pass from John Dutton to Robert Redd to begin a stretch of 20 straight points for the Gladiators. The Command offense in the third had two straight four-and-outs and an interception, failing to record a single first down in the period.
Meanwhile, Dutton hit Dominic Goodman and Thyron Lewis for short touchdown throws, taking advantage of short fields after the Command turnovers. The Gladiators led 43-26 going into the fourth quarter.
"What's funny, I've always felt that's been one of our strengths is making adjustments at halftime," said Command coach Danton Barto. "But obviously it's not working. We've got to figure it out and we will."
The Gladiators had opportunities to clinch the game, but an interception by JC Neal and a fumble recovery by Erick Harris kept KC alive. Jackie Chambers got the first two touchdown receptions of his career in the fourth quarter, the second of which drew the Command within 10 points with 2:08 to play. The two-point try that would have made it a one-possession game fell incomplete.
The Command had the ball again after a Derik Steiner fumble with 55 seconds left, but a Davis desperation heave was intercepted as time expired.
"Obviously we're not playing well on offense," Barto said. "We've got to correct a lot of things."
Davis threw five touchdown passes but three interceptions. He completed less than 50 percent of his throws, although dropped passes by receivers were a factor as well. Davis finished 17 of 42 for 194 yards. The Command finished with 215 yards of total offense.
The defense held Dutton and the Gladiators to 170 passing yards and 182 total yards. The Gladiators had three touchdown drives of less than 10 yards.
"Defense has played well enough to win two games," Barto said. "They've held both teams under 50 points and you're supposed to win those. But if you're struggling to score 40 points, you're not gonna win."
The Command will next face Arizona at Sprint Center Thursday night at 7:30pm. The Rattlers are currently 1-1 with a bye this weekend after getting to the ArenaBowl last season.
Arena Football League Stories from March 23, 2012
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