Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Setting the scene – Detroit at Chicago

A look ahead at a possible Detroit at Chicago A11 Professional Football League game, provided these are two of the eight charter franchises beginning in March of 2015.

Week 1 of the first-ever season of the A11 Professional Football League saw a Midwest battle royale between Detroit and Chicago at legendary Soldier Field.

Chicago took the opening kickoff and raced down the field behind first-year quarterback Jordan Lynch, the Northern Illinois Heisman Trophy candidate whose only National Football League shot came as a safety/special teamer. It didn’t take long for Lynch to get re-acclimated to being in the shotgun, gaining 10 and 12 yards on option runs and throwing a 25-yard screen pass to running back Michael Turner, another ex-Husky who is rejuvenated after two-plus years away from the field.

Turner ultimately scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, and that 7-0 Chicago lead would hold up until just before halftime. That Detroit two-minute drill was played to perfection, thanks to a two-headed quarterback lineup featuring ex-Canadian Football Leaguer Dan LeFevour and former Jacksonville Jaguars “offensive weapon” Denard Robinson.

LeFevour pitched to Robinson for a 15-yard gain to midfield, then LeFevour then found wide receiver Ruvell Martin for a 22-yard gain to the Chicago 28. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, LeFevour then gave to running back Javon Ringer for a 12-yard run on a draw.

First-and-10. Chicago’s 16-yard line. Fifteen seconds left until halftime. Of course, this is the time for some “trickeration” – LeFevour throws a lateral out wide to Robinson, who proceeded to toss a touchdown pass to veteran tight end Tony Scheffler to tie the game just before halftime.

The third quarter was a wild one, seeing 21 points in short order. First, Chicago linebacker A.J. Edds picked up a Detroit fumble and raced 36 yards to give his team a 14-7 lead. Then, on the ensuing possession, LeFevour found Scheffler for a 22-yard scoring strike to re-tie the game at 14. Detroit’s special teams then got into the act when safety Haruki Nakamura fell on a blocked Chicago punt in the end zone to make it a 21-14 contest.

In the fourth quarter, Chicago took over, took the lead and never looked back. Lynch kept the ball on an option play and raced 27 yards for the tying score. Then, with 5:05 to play, kicker Rhys Lloyd’s 48-yard field goal gave Chicago a 24-21 advantage.

With one last chance to tie or take the lead, Detroit fell short when Chicago defensive end Alex Hall, a former Cleveland Brown and CFLer, sacked LeFevour on fourth down to turn the ball back over to the offense.

One week in, and at least one close thriller in the books. It’s what A11FL fans can come to expect in the weeks, months and years to come.

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.

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