The Memphis Showboats give the undefeated Breakers their first loss of the season


Birmingham, Ala. – When Memphis Show Boots Coach Todd Haley lost his first three games of the season and asked his defensive coordinator, Carnell Lake, to talk to the team about 1989. Steelersfor whom he played as a junior safety.

Pittsburgh opened the 1989 season with a 51-0 loss to Brownfollowed by a 41-10 loss to L.C Bengals. But they slowly and steadily improved, not only making the playoffs with a 9-7 record, but winning the wild card game against them. Houston.

These show boats are just beginning to build their turnaround, but they took a huge step on Sunday, delivering the undefeated New Orleans Breakers their first loss of the season, 17-10with Lake’s defense leading the way.

“We played great complementary football today – the defensive created the turnovers, the attack committed when we needed it, but then, when we needed it most, we had a great drive and finished it off and kind of put the game into our own possession.”

Memphis quarterback Cole Kelly Barely witnessed the biggest play of the winning drive. Down 10-9 with three minutes to play, the Showboats had a third-and-five at the Breakers’ 16-yard line, sure in goal range but wanting more. The Blitzer launcher came unchecked in the middle, Kelly was hit when he threw, and he threw the bunt and landed on his back when a pass landed high into the outstretched arms of the tight end. Jay Jay Wilsonwho got to the 3-yard line, and put together a much easier Kelley touchdown throw to a wide opening Joan Washington to get a green light score.

Wilson wasn’t the intended receiver on sight, but Kelly was thrilled to see it land in the right place at the right time.

“First, I’m on the ground, so I don’t even see, but I look up and see the ball just floating up and I see Jay Jay running under it, wide open. I probably wouldn’t have thrown it more neatly if I tried to throw it to him,” Kelly said.

New Orleans (4-1) led the league in total offense and tied for the lead in scoring, but Memphis held them to 10 points, including three turnovers. They had a chance to tie the game in the last two minutes, but the Showboats wouldn’t let them go past 30, and they got a fourth stop to seal the win.

“It starts with our defensive team coming up with a great game plan for what they do,” said Aman Troy Warner, who led Showboats by 12 tackles. “We just executed, and that’s been the big thing about this turnaround over the last few weeks, just taking care of the little things and the details and executing at a high level.”

New Orleans gained 206 yards and a quarterback touchdown MacLeod Bethel-Thompson, but only the one touchdown, facing steady pressure resulted in four sacks. running back Wiss Hillswho led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns, was held out of the end zone and was held to 38 yards on 14 carries.

“Offensively, it wasn’t a good day,” said coach John Devilippo after his first defeat of the season. “We didn’t take advantage of the turnovers our defense got and the field position our defense got. It just wasn’t who we were all season, and I look forward to watching our team recover.”

Losing New Orleans, along with HoustonWins Birmingham On Saturday, the NFL’s Southern Division stressed – Memphis, who finished last at 2-3, will be tied for first place in the charged North Division, but they’re just back for second place and a playoff berth, in the middle of the NFL’s Stallions and Gamblers. regular season.

Haley, whose father Dick was the Steelers’ player manager in 1989, remembers well the Pittsburgh team and how well they performed their season, and hopes to achieve the same result with his showboats.

“Everyone in Pittsburgh was burning their horrible towels,” said Haley, who later became the Steelers’ offensive coordinator. “They came up with a way to turn the situation around and the most important thing is we kept working and started to gain confidence through really good practices,” he said. The ball will get to them.”

Greg Aumann is FOX Sports’ NFC South correspondent, covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, and Saints. He’s in his 10th season covering the Bucs and the NFL full time, after spending time at the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter at @tweet.

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