07/15/2011 11:04 PM -
The Jacksonville Sharks (13-4) dropped a heart-breaker in the Midwest to the Kansas City Command (6-11) 48-49 in overtime. Though the loss is meaningless towards the playoff picture, this loss gives the Sharks their first-ever three-game losing streak in franchise history and their fourth loss of the season.
The Sharks started the game on offense and worked their way down the field, scoring on a nine play drive over 43 yards that was capped off by a 4 yard catch by receiver Jeff Hughley. The Garcia-Hughley connection would be a constant throughout the game. Kansas City responded with a 6 play drive of their own, but could not put any points on the board after a field goal attempt was ruled no good. The Sharks, however, could not add to the lead as the Sharks had the first of four turnovers on an Aaron Garcia interception. The Sharks defense would force a second consecutive stop to start the game with Micheaux Robinson's 11th interception of the year as the first quarter quickly wound down.
Having held the Command scoreless in the opening period, the Sharks' turnover woes continued as the Sharks lost the handle on the football, fumbling the ball to the Command who would score quickly with a one-play drive for 16 yards. The Command would connect on the extra point and take a one-point lead, 6-7. The Sharks and Command would find offensive consistency with the remaining time in the opening half as both teams traded touchdowns, each with three, ending with a Sharks score as time expired. The Sharks went to the locker room with a 6 point lead at the half.
The Sharks tee'd up the ball and kicked away to the Command to begin the second half. The Command continued to methodically move down the field as the had in the second quarter. A seven-play drive of 45 yards ended in a Brett Smith touchdown reception from quarterback Steve Wasil. On the ensuing kickoff, Command kicker Brian Umstead ricocheted the ball off the upright posts, allowing Bradley Chavez to recover the awkward bounce for a touchdown. The Sharks would finish the third quarter scoreless - the first scoreless period for the Jacksonville club all season. Jacksonville's last two third quarter drives would end in an interception and fumble, respectively.
The fourth quarter, with the Sharks trailing by 6 points, the offense came to life. The Sharks scored two touchdowns in two drives while holding the Command to only a field goal. With the clock winding down to the 1:00 warning, Sharks' linebacker Aaron Robins came up with his second fumble recovery of the game. The Sharks found themselves down three points with under a minute remaining and all three timeouts. The Sharks capped off a seven-play drive with a 13 yard field goal by Marco Capozzoli as time in regulation expired. The Sharks had forced overtime for the first time in franchise history.
Overtime rules in the Arena Football League allow both teams' offenses to posses the ball for at least one drive. If the score remains tied after the initial possessions, the game turns to sudden-death format. The Sharks won the coin toss and deferred to the Command. Kansas City was able to score a touchdown on a three-play, 45 yard drive ending with a converted point after attempt. For the Sharks to remain in the game, they would have to score a touchdown and match the extra point. The Sharks scored with only four plays and signal caller Aaron Garcia remained on the field. The Sharks would attempt a two point conversion, but fall just short and lose by a single point.
Even in a loss, the Sharks had several stand out performances:
Quarterback Aaron Garcia threw for a club record 419 yards, connecting on 37 of 48 attempts. He now stands only 98 yards shy of 50,000 passing yards in his illustrious career.
Receiver Jeff Hughley broke his existing franchise record with 18 catches. He tallied 176 receiving yards and 225 all-purpose yards with 3 touchdowns - all through the air. He is now 2 receiving touchdowns shy of 50 in his career.
Three receivers had over 100 yards this game. Hughley's 176 on 18 catches led the team. Jomo Wilson's added ten catches for 129 yards with one touchdown. Sale' Key returned to the lineup after a four-week stint on the Injury Reserve list with eight catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
Micheaux Robinson stole his 11th pass from an opposing quarterback and added to his already record setting single season pass break up record. He also led the team with 6 tackles, all solo.