The conclusion of the first week of the 2022 USFL season has been pushed to Monday, with Sunday’s game between the Pittsburgh Maulers and Tampa Bay Bandits postponed due to the weather. It gave football fans a great taste of football on Monday night, and the thieves ran away with a 17-3 victory.
Tampa Bay leaped into rapid advance and never looked back. Tampa Bay’s No. 2 overall raised the pick of quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, he went 68 yards in eight plays on his first drive, and BJ Emmons hit him from three yards to the first score of the game. Ta’amu later found Jordan Lasley in his first USFL touchdown at the end of the second quarter to push the lead to 17. Overall, he completed 18 of 30 passes for 164 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Maulers started slow but bounced back in the second half to score some good things on the bar. He played both Josh Love and Kyle Lauletta’s quarterbacks, but Love got the majority of the cast. He finished the first week and completed 9 of 16 passes for 121 yards. This offense didn’t get into rhythm, though, and it went 0 out of 3 in the red.
Birmingham Stallion 28, New Jersey 24 generals
Houston Gamblers 17, Michigan Panthers 12
New Orleans Breakers 23, Philadelphia Stars 17
Tampa Bay Bandits 17, Pittsburgh Mollers 3
Why did the bandits win?
Coming to this new spring league, everyone was wondering about playing in the middle. The best soccer teams in any league are run by signal callers, so this week was all about figuring out the best bowlers. Ta’amu had a solid game, completing 18 of 30 passes for 164 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was mostly accurate in throwing the ball and did some plays with his legs – to escape potential sacks. We didn’t get to see the former Ole Miss star pushing that much in the second half because of the bandits’ lead, but overall, he was a solid performer.
Tight end Cheyenne O’Grady looks like he could make the difference in this offense. Grab seven of the 10 goals for 78 yards.
The other main reason the Thieves found themselves victorious on Monday night is that they got big boosts from their offensive and defensive fronts. The Maulers averaged only 2.8 yards per lunge, 3.3 yards per game and allowed three bags. This bandit defense led by Pepper Johnson looked great.
Why did the Maulers lose?
The Maulers got off to an incredibly slow start. They played both midfielders in the first half, but did not attempt a pass in the first two innings. The offensive line struggled to clear the running lanes for Madhuri London and Garrett Groschek – both exciting when they have plenty of room to maneuver. Groschik lunged 16 times for 55 yards.
Pittsburgh loved to run away from play, and he gave love a great appearance in some plays, but it turned disastrous on others. Love didn’t get a chance to reset and roll his eyes down on some of those calls before he had defenders in his face.
The defense was solid in the second half as evidenced by the lack of any points allowed in the last two quarters, but the attack never found a rhythm.
The Maulers remained in the game until the fourth quarter. After making them a field target within 14, they had some life left. However, Pittsburgh was unable to do anything in the red.
In fourth and fifth from inside Tampa Bay’s 10-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, the Maulers couldn’t move sticks or score their first touchdown. The bandits’ defense is credited with motivating themselves through the night.
play the game
The Thieves will serve as the home team against the New Orleans Breakers 1-0 this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET. As for the Maulers, they will be the visiting team for the 0-1 Philadelphia Stars on Saturday noon EST.
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