Last-Second Field Goal Gives Colonials 27-26 Victory Over Mountain Lions
SACRAMENTO - In a game defined by special teams, Taylor Mehlhaff was an unlikely hero Saturday night.
The Hartford Colonials kicker missed a 34-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter. In the third quarter, he missed from 22 yards. And when his 42-yard attempt sailed right of the posts in the final minute, it appeared what was already a bad game for him would have a worse ending.
But a roughing the kicker penalty gave Mehlhaff another chance at redemption. His 23-yard field goal as time expired gave the Colonials a 27-26 victory over the Sacramento Mountain Lions before an estimated crowd of 13,500 at Hornet Stadium.
The victory ended a four-game losing streak by the Colonials (2-4), who defeated Sacramento (2-4) for the second time this season.
"I was kicking the ball really well coming into this game," Mehlhaff said. "It's just a range of emotions. You miss a couple of kicks that you definitely should be making. There's no excuses. You get a chance to bounce back, and I'm just fortunate to get the opportunity to do so."
Mehlhaff was fortunate to get two opportunities to kick the winner. With 25 seconds left, Sacramento's Terrelle Maze was penalized for running into the kicker after Mehlhaff missed from 42 yards. The 12-yard penalty resulted in an automatic first down and gave Mehlhaff a second chance.
"I didn't yell at him [for the two earlier misses] All I said was, 'You got to make those kicks,' " Palmer said. "You can't kick a guy when he's down. He came back and redeemed himself."
In a 24-21 overtime loss to Las Vegas last week, Mehlhaff missed a 38-yard field goal that would have won it. Las Vegas took over and won it on a field goal in the closing seconds.
Hartford's four losses have been by an average of 5.5 points. Hartford led each game at halftime before losing late in the fourth quarter.
"Having to lose a game in Las Vegas in overtime with 17 seconds left and then to come in here and win the game on the last play, I think it just speaks volumes about the character of our team," Palmer said. "It's a hard way to make a living, I'll tell you that. I just think the way we hung in there after having lost so many close games, I'm very proud of our players."
Hartford's defense limited Sacramento to 53 total yards in the second half and 281 for the game. The Colonials had 478 total yards, including 180 on the ground.
Colonials running back Lorenzo Booker gained 147 yards on 17 carries and scored Hartford's first rushing touchdown of the season. Wide receiver Markee White had nine receptions for 152 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown from quarterback Ryan Perrilloux that gave Hartford a 21-20 lead with 11:39 remaining.
On Hartford's next possession, Josh McCown replaced Perrilloux at quarterback. On first-and-10 from his own 16-yard line, McCown threw a pass over the middle that was deflected in the air. Sacramento safety Andrew Sendejo came down with the ball and brought it back to the Hartford 1, setting up a touchdown by Cory Ross that made it 26-21. But the two-point conversation failed.
On their ensuing possession, the Colonials cut the deficit to 26-24 on a 33-yard field goal by Mehlhaff with 3:08 remaining. The Colonials defense forced the Mountain Lions to punt deep in their own end with just over 2 minutes remaining.
"At halftime, we challenged the defense," Palmer said. "I didn't think they played well very early in the game, and at halftime I said, 'For us to win the game, defensively we're going to have to step up.' They did."
Sacramento took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper found John David Washington out of the backfield on a 9-yard swing pass out for a touchdown. The Mountain Lions padded their lead when Aaron Woods returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown with 2:54 left in the first.
Booker's 2-yard touchdown made it 14-7 with 11 seconds left. After a field goal by Sacramento's Fabrizio Scaccia, Colonials running back Tory Harrison scored from 1-yard out to make it 17-14 midway through the second quarter. Scaccia connected from 25 yards out, giving Sacramento a 20-14 lead, before Mehlhaff missed from 34 yards in the closing seconds.
The Colonials received the kickoff to start the second half and drove 58 yards on 15 plays to the Sacramento 5 but came away with no points after Mehlhaff's 22-yard field goal attempt was wide right.
On Hartford's next possession, Palmer opted to go for it on fourth-and-8 from the Sacramento 19, but McCown's pass was incomplete. McCown was 19 of 34 for 219 yards. Perrilloux, splitting time at QB, was 4 of 5 for 98 yards and one touchdown, connecting with White on a 69-yard deep throw early in the fourth quarter that gave Hartford it's first lead, 21-20.
"I just think we had a total blowout in the second half, offensively," Sacramento Head Coach Dennis Green said. "We just didn't do a darn thing right."
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United Football League Stories from October 31, 2010
- UFL Transactions - Florida Tuskers
- Las Vegas Locos Clinch UFL Championship Game Berth - UFL
- Last-Second Field Goal Gives Colonials 27-26 Victory Over Mountain Lions - Hartford Colonials
- Colonials Beat Mountain Lions on Last Play - UFL
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