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Chicago Rush game notes

May 24, 2005 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Chicago Rush News Release

The Quick Facts
TV: NBC … Allen Bestwick, Charles Davis
Radio: WCKG, 105.9 FM ... Tom Dore, James “Big Cat” Williams, Sharon Jackson
Overall Series Record: Los Angeles leads 3-1
Last Meeting: April 23, 2005, LA 52, Rush 49
Streaks: Los Angeles has won two games in a row
Coaches (regular season, postseason records):
Mike Hohensee (88-75, 6-8 — 12th season)
Ed Hodgkiss (38-24, 0-3 — 4th season)
Officials: Bill Athan (Referee), Rick Nelson (Umpire), Tim Podraza (Head Linesman), Dana McKinzie (Line Judge), James Cole (Back Judge), Bob McKelwee (Alternate)

2005 Chicago Rush Schedule
January 30 @ Dallas L (OT), 65-66 11,229
February 6 Philadelphia W, 51-41 16,036
February 13 @ Colorado* W, 51-48 16,620
February 19 @ Columbus L, 39-52 17,171
February 25 Orlando L, 35-48 14,126
March 6 Nashville* W, 45-38 15,881
March 13 @ Grand Rapids* W, 48-45 8,110
March 20 New Orleans L (OT), 40-46 13,614
March 27 BYE
April 2 @ New York W, 44-43 11,719
April 10 San Jose W, 55-39 14,865
April 17 Colorado* W, 75-51 12,953
April 23 @ Los Angeles L, 49-52 11,904
May 1 Las Vegas W, 63-62 12,994
May 6 @ Arizona L, 43-61 12,349
May 15 Grand Rapids* L, 40-51 15,198
May 22 @ Nashville* W, 45-21 8,806
May 29 [email protected] Los Angeles 2:30 p.m. NBC

*Central Division Game ... All times Central
y- AFL Playoffs

American Conference — Central Division
2005 Final Standings
W-L-T PF PA Division
Colorado 10-6-0 873 871 3-3
RUSH 9-7-0 789 764 5-1
Nashville 6-9-1 668 715 2-4
Grand Rapids 4-12-0 761 932 2-4
TAKE FIVE: The Rush secured its fifth-consecutive playoff berth with a 45-21 road victory over the Nashville Kats last week. With the win Chicago received the third-seed in the American Conference playoffs and will take on the second-seeded Los Angeles Avengers in the conference semifinals Sunday at Staples Center. The Rush is 1-3 all-time against Los Angeles, but has never faced the Avengers in the playoffs.

WIN IN NASHVILLE SECURES PLAYOFFS: The Rush defense was dominant, forcing eight stops and holding Nashville to just seven points in the game’s final 43 minutes, as Chicago ended its two game losing streak by knocking off the Kats 45-21 Sunday in Nashville. Rush DS Tony Lukins led all players with eight tackles, and the Rush defense batted down eight passes in the win.

AFL PLAYOFF PICTURE: Chicago’s road to ArenaBowl XIX Las Vegas starts in Los Angeles. By virtue of its regular season win over San Jose, the Rush secured the third-seed in the American Conference playoffs and earned the right to take on the Avengers in this week’s conference semifinals. John Elway’s Colorado Crush earned home field advantage throughout the playoffs in the American Conference, while the Georgia Force earned home field in the National Conference.

Here is a look at the AFL’s playoff pairings:
American Conference National Conference
1. Colorado 10-6 1. Georgia 11-5
2. Los Angeles 10-6 2. New York 11-5
3. Chicago 9-7 3. Orlando 10-6
4. San Jose 9-7 4. Tampa Bay 10-6

This Sunday’s games (all games 2:30 p.m. Central):
San Jose @ Colorado Tampa Bay @ Georgia
Chicago @ Los Angeles Orlando @ New York

Conference Finals: Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5
ArenaBowl XIX: Sunday, June 12

PLAYOFF CONSISTENCY: Only four teams – Chicago, Orlando, Tampa Bay and San Jose – have qualified for the AFL playoffs in each of the past five seasons. Chicago has advanced to the AFL semifinals twice, while San Jose has won two ArenaBowls (2002, 2004) and Tampa Bay has won one (2003) during the past four years.

Here is a look at Chicago’s all-time playoff results:
2001: W 41-26 at Orlando (Wild Card Round)
L 53-21 at Grand Rapids (Quarterfinal)
2002: W 60-47 vs. Dallas (Quarterfinal)
L 46-35 at Arizona (Semifinal)
2003: L 48-45 at New York (Wild Card Round)
2004: W 59-49 vs. Orlando (Quarterfinal)
L 49-35 at San Jose (Semifinal)
APRIL RALLY FALLS SHORT IN LA: A sloppy Rush team fell behind by 18 points in Los Angeles April 23 before mounting a furious late-game comeback against the Avengers. The rally was not enough, however, and the Rush fell 52-49 at Staples Center.

Chicago turned the ball over four times (two fumbles and two interceptions), lost a kickoff off the net, committed 11 penalties and dropped several passes in the loss.

The turning point in the game came with 30 seconds remaining in the first half and the Rush trailing 24-21. Rush QB Raymond Philyaw found offensive specialist Henry Douglas wide open in the end zone for an apparent touchdown. However, Douglas dropped the ball. On the very next play, Philyaw was pressured and tried to force a pass over the middle that was intercepted by Damen Wheeler – his second interception of the game. Wheeler returned the interception 34 yards for a touchdown and a 31-21 LA lead.

Then, on the ensuing kickoff Russell Shaw was unable to catch Remy Hamilton’s kick as it took an awkward bounce off the net. Greg Hopkins scooped up the ball at the Rush four-yard line and dove into the end zone with 13 seconds remaining, giving LA a 38-21 halftime lead. The teams would exchange scores for most of the second half, until Chicago began its comeback with 6:11 remaining.

CUTTING IT CLOSE IN ODD YEARS: Three times in the team’s history – 2001, 2003 and 2005 – the Rush entered the final week of the season with a playoff spot hanging in the balance. In 2001 the Rush defeated Orlando 55-41 to secure its first playoff spot, while in 2003 Keith Gispert’s 16-yard field goal in overtime lifted the Rush to a 46-43 win over Indiana and a spot in the postseason. This year, the Rush defeated the Nashville Kats 45-21 to earn its spot in the playoffs.

IN GOOD COMPANY: Since entering the league in 2001, the Rush has been one of the most consistent teams in the league. In fact, over the past five seasons, only four teams have won more regular season games than Chicago.

Here are the AFL’s best records since 2001:
San Jose 55-21
Arizona 47-29
Orlando 47-29
Tampa Bay 47-29
Chicago 44-32
Los Angeles 43-33

OWNING THE DIVISION: The Rush finished the 2005 season 5-1 in games against Central Division foes. The Rush has dominated its division opponents the past two seasons, going 11-3 vs. the Central since the start of 2004.

OT NOT KIND IN 2005: The Rush struggled in overtime in 2005, falling in both of its chances. The Rush lost the season opener in Dallas, 66-65, when Etu Molden’s game-winning two-point conversion attempt fell one-yard short of the goal line. Against New Orleans on March 20, Rush QB Raymond Philyaw threw his only interception of the game on Chicago’s first possession in OT, and VooDoo QB Andy Kelly capitalized, leading New Orleans on a 47-yard drive for the game-winning TD. Overall, the Rush is 2-3 in overtime games in its history.

BETTER AFTER THE BREAK: After going 4-4 in the first half of the season, the Rush posted five wins in the second half of the season for the fourth-consecutive year. Here is a look at the team’s record in the first and second halves of each of its five seasons:

First Half Second Half Final Record
2001 4-3 3-4 7-7
2002 4-3 5-2 9-5
2003 3-5 5-3 8-8
2004 6-2 5-3 11-5
2005 4-4 5-3 9-7

TURNOVER BATTLE: Last season the Rush went 11-5, won the Central Division title and advanced to the AFL semifinals. One key to the team’s success in 2004 was limiting its turnovers. In fact, the 2004 Rush tied Los Angeles for the AFL lead in turnover margin (+15). This year, however, the story was just the opposite as Chicago forced only 22 turnovers, while giving the ball away 28 times, for a turnover ratio of –6. Only Grand Rapids and Columbus, who combined to win just six games this season, had worse turnover margins than the Rush. Los Angeles, on the other hand, led the AFL again this year with a +17 turnover margin.

2005 RUSH BY THE NUMBERS: Here is a breakdown of how the Rush fared in certain situations this season:
Site: Home 5-3 Road 4-4
Time: Day 8-3 Night 1-4
Opponents: vs. American Conf. 7-3
vs. Central 5-1 vs. West 2-2
vs. National Conf. 2-4
vs. East 2-2 vs. South 0-2
vs. 2005 playoff teams 4-2

THE PHILYAW FILE: After tearing the ACL in his right knee in last season’s semifinal loss at San Jose, Rush QB Raymond Philyaw came back strong in 2005. Despite missing two games this season with a sprained MCL in the same right knee in which he had his off-season surgery, Philyaw set career highs in completions (324), attempts (480) and yards (3,669). His 67 touchdowns were one shy of his career high and his 67.5% completion percentage was the second-best of his career. One career high that Philyaw would rather not discuss, is his career-high 13 interceptions, four more than his previous career high in 2002 and nine more than he threw last season.

PHILYAW IN THE PLAYOFFS: Rush QB Raymond Philyaw has played in seven career playoff games – five with the Firebirds and two with the Rush. Last season with Chicago, Philyaw led the Rush to a win over Orlando in the quarterfinals before injuring his knee in the second quarter of the semifinals in San Jose.
Here is a look at Philyaw’s career playoff numbers.

Comp Att Pct. Yds. TD Int Rating
109 169 64.4% 1,192 24 3 113.3

THE OLD MAN CAN STILL PLAY: Backup QB Todd Hammel played in six games for the Rush this season (two starts), including the 150th game of his career April 17 vs. Colorado. Hammel has shown that after 14 years he still can throw the ball, completing 55 of 76 passes for 754 yards and 15 touchdowns and posting a passer rating of 126.8. He finished 2-0 as a starter this year and was named Offensive Player of the Game after completing 21 of 25 passes for 348 yards and six touchdowns and leading the Rush to a 48-45 win in Grand Rapids March 13.

COOKIE A MONSTER: Rush FB/LB Charlie Cook was named AFL U.S. Army Ironman of the Week this week for his performance in the team’s 45-21 playoff-clinching win Sunday at Nashville. Cook, who moved from OL/DL to FB/LB earlier in the season, recorded three tackles, carried the ball twice for 10 yards and a touchdown, and caught a 16-yard touchdown pass in the win.

MOLDEN APPROACHING CHATMAN RECORDS: With his five receptions and one touchdown last week in Nashville, Rush WR/LB Etu Molden tied former offensive specialist Antonio Chatman’s franchise records for career receptions and touchdowns. For the second-consecutive season, Molden led the team in all receiving categories, catching 96 passes for 1,158 yards and 25 touchdowns. Overall, Molden scored 30 TDs this season (25 receiving, 4 rushing, 1 return).

Career Numbers Chatman Molden
Games 30 31
Receptions 197 197
Yards 2,676 2,438
Receiving TDs 52 48
Total TDs 62 62

MOLDEN, BLEISATH, SHAW STAYING PUT: Late last week the Rush inked three more members of its core to contract extensions through the 2007 season. WR/LB Etu Molden, OL/DL D. J. Bleisath and WR/DB Russell Shaw all will remain in Chicago for two more years.

Molden finished the year as the team’s leading receiver, catching 96 passes for 1,158 yards and 25 touchdowns – numbers almost identical to the 101 catches, 1,280 yards and 23 TDs he registered in his All-Rookie season last year. In addition, Molden scored four rushing touchdowns, added 28 tackles and tied for the team lead with three interceptions.

Bleisath, in just his second season in the AFL, ranked second among Rush linemen with 21.0 tackles. He also recorded 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one pass broken up in 14 games.

Given an opportunity to play for the first time in his five-year AFL career, Shaw made the most of his opportunity, setting career-highs by catching 44 passes for 488 yards. In addition, Shaw finished as the team’s second-leading tackler, recording career-highs on defense with 53 tackles, nine passes broken up and three interceptions.

The trio joins linemen Frank Moore and John Moyer, kicker Keith Gispert and WR/LB DeJuan Alfonzo as players who have recently re-signed with the team.

FREE AGENTS TO BE: With the team’s flurry of contract extensions prior to the conclusion of the regular season, the Rush is left with seven players who will be free agents at the end of the season – Colin Greczek, Todd Hammel, Jon McCall, Jeremy McDaniel, Jamie McGourty, Charles Pauley and John Sikora. McGourty is the last original member of the 2001 Rush, having played with the team in each of its five seasons in Chicago.

MOYER 8TH ALL-TIME: Rush lineman John Moyer recorded six sacks this season, giving him 34 for his career – including 29 as a member of the Rush. This season Moyer moved past Joe March into eighth place on the AFL’s all-time list for career sacks.

In fact, in the four years Moyer has been with Chicago no player has recorded more sacks than the Rush star.

Here is a look at the AFL’s leaders in sacks since 2002:
1. John Moyer - 29
2. EJ Burt - 24
3. B.J. Cohen - 23
4. Tom Briggs - 21
5t. Jermaine Smith - 19.5
5t. Silas Demary - 19.5

Here are Chicago’s season and career sack leaders:
Player Season Player Career
John Moyer 10.0 (2004) John Moyer 29.0
John Moyer 9.0 (2003) James Baron 10.0
John Moyer 6.0 (2005) Anthony Hutch 6.5
Anthony Hutch 5.5 (2001) Jamie McGourty 5.5
John Moyer 4.0 (2002) Riley Kleinhesselink 5.0
James Baron 4.0 (2003) Tony Henderson 4.0
Tony Henderson 4.0 (2001)
James Baron 3.0 (2004)
James Baron 3.0 (2002)
Jamie McGourty 3.0 (2004)

MOYER NOT JUST A PASS RUSHER: Everyone knows that Moyer is one of the game’s best pass rushers, recording 27.5 tackles and six sacks this season, but what makes Moyer special is his ability to excel on offense and special teams in addition to defense. One of the best pass protectors in the AFL, Moyer only has allowed one sack in the past two seasons. His footwork and hands have made him a dangerous receiver as well, catching eight passes for 34 yards and six touchdowns this season. On special teams, Moyer has blocked four kicks this season, and nine dating back to the start of the 2004 season.

BLOCK THAT KICK: Rush lineman John Moyer blocked a Peter Martinez 59-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter May 15 against Grand Rapids. The blocked kick bounced out of the back of the end zone for a Rush safety. It was Moyer’s fourth blocked kick of the season and his ninth since the start of the 2004 season. May 6 in Arizona, Moyer blocked a PAT attempt by Gary Kral. It was the second time this season Moyer had blocked a Kral kick. The first time came on the final play of the first half March 6 against Nashville, when Kral was still with the Kats. In the season opener against Dallas, Moyer blocked a Carlos Martinez 22-yard field goal attempt – also on the final play of the first half.

PROTECT THAT QB: The Rush offensive line again was one of the best in the league, allowing only eight sacks all year – tied with New Orleans for fourth-fewest. Austin led the league, allowing only four sacks all season.

THOMAS PAYS DIVIDENDS: OL/DL John Thomas re-signed with the Rush May 12 and made an immediate impact on the defensive line. In two games Thomas recorded five tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and a pass broken up. Thomas spent his rookie season in Chicago in 2004, recording five tackles and one sack in 11 games. He signed with the New York Dragons as a free agent prior to the start of the 2005 season, but his stay in the Big Apple was marred by injuries, playing in only eight games and recording five tackles before being released.

McMILLEN TOPS 1,300 YARD MARK: Rush FB/LB Bob McMillen rushed for 178 yards this season and 1,328 for his career. He is the only player in AFL history to rush for 100 or more yards in seven-consecutive seasons and currently sits in second place all-time on the league’s career rushing list. Les Barley is the AFL’s all-time leading rusher with 1,382 career yards.

The AFL’s All-Time Rushing list
Player Seasons Team Yards
Les Barley 1992-2001 — 1,382
Bob McMillen 1995-present Chicago 1,328
Bo Kelly 1996-present Arizona 1,251
Andre Bowden 1991-2004 — 1,241

McMILLEN THIRD IN RUSHING TDs: Bob McMillen finished the season with nine rushing touchdowns – the second highest single-season total of his career. McMillen has 74 career rushing touchdowns, ranking him in third place all-time behind Barry Wagner (125) and Andre Bowden (93).

ROOKIE’S STOCK RISING: Rookie offensive specialist C.J. Johnson has made the most of his limited opportunities to play this season. After only playing in one of the team’s first 12 games, Johnson worked his way into the lineup in each of Chicago’s final four games. Johnson finished the year by catching 26 passes for 390 yards and nine touchdowns. He also has added a rushing touchdown and 17 kick returns for 285 yards this year and was named Offensive Player of the Game for his effort against Grand Rapids May 15 when he caught 9 passes for 175 yards and four touchdowns.

INJURY UPDATE: The Rush has five players on its injured reserve list, including three who are out for the season. Here is a list of the team’s IR players and their status.
- OL/DL Colin Greczek is out for the season after fracturing the Fibula in his left leg April 17 against Colorado.
- OL/DL Jon McCall had surgery to repair tendon and ligament damage in his left middle finger on March 24. He is expected to miss the rest of the season.
- WR/DB Charles Pauley is out for the season after suffering a fractured Radius in his left arm May 1 against Las Vegas.
- WR/LB Carlos Wright injured his left quad in practice March 9. He is eligible to return.
- OL/DL Johnathan Taylor suffered a back contusion in practice and was placed on IR May 13. He is eligible to return.

HOHENSEE NOW IN 3RD PLACE ALL-TIME: With Chicago’s 51-48 win in Colorado February 13, Rush head coach Mike Hohensee moved into sole possession of third place on the AFL’s all-time wins list. Hohensee, in his 12th season as a head coach in the AFL, was hired as the first coach in Rush history on September 26, 2000. He
- has a regular season record of 88-75 (including a
44-32 mark with the Rush).
- has a career 6-8 mark in the postseason.
- has led the Rush to five-consecutive playoff berths and two Central Division titles (2002 and 2004).
- is 1-4 all-time vs. Los Angeles

All-Time Winningest AFL Coaches
Including Postseason
Coach Team Wins This Week
Tim Marcum Tampa Bay 176 @ Georgia
Danny White 141
Mike Hohensee Rush 94 @ Los Angeles
Perry Moss 86
Mike Dailey Colorado 85 vs. San Jose
Darren Arbet San Jose 82 @ Colorado

KICKIN’ KEITH: Rush kicker Keith Gispert continues to be one of the AFL’s most consistent kickers. Gispert connected on 90 of 103 extra-point attempts (87.3%) this year, including his last 19 in a row, and 11 of 18 field goal attempts (61.1%). Gispert finished the season second in the AFL in field goal percentage, eighth in scoring among kickers (123 points) and ninth in PAT percentage. His strong leg also helped the Rush finish second in the league in kickoff coverage, holding opponents to an average of 16-yards per return.

THE OLD GUYS: In addition to the six rookies on the Rush roster, the team also features many players with a wealth of AFL experience. Todd Hammel leads all Rush players with 152 career games, followed by Bob McMillen (127), John Moyer (96), John Sikora (92) and Frank Moore (91).

Chicago Category Los Angeles
16 Games 16
49.2 (13) Scoring Offense 53.8 (5)
47.8 (4) Scoring Defense 50.8 (10)
295.2 (4) Total Offense 274.3 (12)
290.7 (11) Total Defense 307.6 (16)
65-77, 84.4% Red Zone Offense 72-85, 84.7%
51-65, 78.5% Red Zone Defense 67-87, 77%
273.6 (6) Pass Offense 253.5 (11)
267.8 (12) Pass Defense 286.3 (16)
21.6 (5) Rushing Offense 20.8 (7)
22.9 (11) Rushing Defense 21.2 (10)
788 (13) Scoring 861 (5)
123 (8) Scoring (Kicking) 185 (1)
99-1653-3 Kickoff Returns 79-1259-0
16.7 Kick Return Average 15.9
9-162-1 Missed Field Goal Returns 4-52-0
18 Missed FG Return Avg. 13
-6 (15) Turnover Margin +17 (1)
11-18, 61.1% Field Goals 29-39, 74.4%
91-104, 87.5% PAT Kicking 98-108, 90.7%
13-41 yards Sacks By 23-121 yards
8-45 Sacks Against 23-115
42-89, 47.2% Third Down Conversion 57-114, 50%
13-26, 50% Fourth Down Conversion 7-13, 53.8%
126-794 Penalties (#-Yards) 109-612
127-832 Opp. Penalties (#-Yards) 128-829
BOLD – AFL Leader

INDIVIDUAL LEAGUE LEADERS: The following Rush players finished the season among the 2005 AFL league leaders:

Henry Douglas: all-purpose yards (7th-2243 yards), MFG returns (3nd -6), MFG return yards (3nd-138 yards), MFG return average (3rd-23.0), MFG return TD (T-1st-1), kick return TD (8th-2)

Keith Gispert: scoring (kicking) (8th-123 points), touchbacks (6th-30), field goals made (7th-11), field goal percentage (2rd-61.1%), PAT made (9th-84), PAT percentage (9th-87.4), PAT attempts (10th-103)

Bob McMillen: rushing (7th-178 yards), rushing touchdowns (8th-9), rushing yards (7th-11.1)

Etu Molden: touchdowns (T-8th-29), first downs (11th-55)

John Moyer: sacks (5th-6), fumbles recovered (T-2nd-3), tackles for loss (4rd-9)

Raymond Philyaw: average gain per pass (9th-7.4), pass rating (6th-113.8), completion percentage (2st-67.5), passing yards per game (7th-262.1), pass attempts (10th-480), pass yards per attempt (9th-7.6), completions (9th-324)

RUSH GAME AWARD WINNERS: The following Rush players have won individual game awards for their play this season:

Offensive Player of the Game:
Raymond Philyaw (2/6 vs. Philadelphia, 4/10 vs. San Jose, 5/1 vs. Las Vegas)
Henry Douglas (2/13 @ Colorado, 4/2 @ New York)
Etu Molden (3/6 vs. Nashville, 4/17 vs. Colorado)
Todd Hammel (3/13 @ Grand Rapids)
C.J. Johnson (5/15 vs. Grand Rapids)

ADT Defensive Player of the Game:
Russell Shaw (2/6 vs. Philadelphia, 4/17 vs. Colorado)
Todd Howard (3/6 vs. Nashville, 3/13 @ Grand Rapids, April 2 @ New York)
Jeroid Johnson (3/20 vs. New Orleans)
Charles Pauley (4/2 @ New York)
Etu Molden (4/10 vs. San Jose)
Tony Lukins (5/22 @ Nashville)

U.S. Army Ironman of the Game:
Henry Douglas (1/30 @ Dallas)
John Moyer (2/6 vs. Philadelphia)
Etu Molden (3/6 vs. Nashville, 3/13 @ Grand Rapids, 4/17 vs. Colorado)
Bob McMillen (3/20 vs. New Orleans, 4/10 vs. San Jose, 5/1 vs. Las Vegas)
Charlie Cook (5/22 @ Nashville)

RUSH WEEKLY AWARD WINNERS: The following Rush players have won AFL weekly awards for their play this season:

Offensive Player of the Week:
Raymond Philyaw (Week 11 vs. San Jose)
Etu Molden (Week 12 vs. Colorado)

Ironman of the Week:
Charlie Cook (Week 17 @ Nashville)

INJURY REPORT: The following players appeared on this week’s injury report to the AFL.
Out – Colin Greczek (left fibula fracture), Jon McCall (finger), Charles Pauley (left arm fracture), Johnathan Taylor (back contusion), Carlos Wright (left quad)

Practice for the week of May 16:
Monday, May 23 – Off
Tuesday, May 24– Off
Wednesday, May 25 – 12:35 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Thursday, May 26 – 8:35 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Friday, May 27 – 8:35 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Saturday, May 28 –Meetings only in Los Angeles.

All practices this week will be held at the team’s Hoffman Estates practice facility, Poplar Creek Sports Centre.

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