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2003 Season Opener

Washington Federals (1-0)       7  3  7  6 -- 23
New Jersey Generals (0-1)       0  6 10  0 -- 16

First Quarter
Washington - James 3 run (McGuire kick), 10:35

Second Quarter
Washington - McGuire 33 FG, 6:33
New Jersey - Vanderjagt  39 FG, 9:53
New Jersey - Vanderjagt  32 FG, 14:20

Third Quarter
New Jersey - Bates 19 pass from Griese (Vanderjagt  kick), 2:32
Washington - Bradford 19 pass from Hasselbeck (McGuire kick), 7:38
New Jersey - Vanderjagt  37 FG, 14:06

Fourth Quarter
Washington - McGuire 54 FG, 6:39
Washington - McGuire 18 FG, 12:14

Washington Kicks off the 2003 season with a tough defensive battle against New Jersey.  Newly signed, New Jersey QB Brian Griese, the former Denver Gold QB, struggled mightily against the Washington Federals pass defense (17/33 161yds 1TD 2INT) and could not gain any rhythm with his new team.  Washington QB Matt Hasselbeck was efficient (13/19 128yds 1TD) and HB Edgerrin James, back from his season ending injury last season, gained tough yards and moved the chains when needed (26 car, 95 yds, 1TD, 1FUM).



Offensive Player of the Game - Washington K Derek McGuire (3/3 FGs, 2/2 XPs)
Defensive Player of the Game - Washington S Kiwaukee Thomas (Sack, Interception, 0/4 when targeted in passing game)


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Philadelphia Stars (0-1)        3  0  0 15 -- 18
Boston Breakers (1-0)           0 10 10 10 -- 30

First Quarter
Philadelphia - Graham  26 FG, 6:44

Second Quarter
Boston - Hall 37 FG, 0:04
Boston - Ward 77 punt return (Hall kick), 14:48

Third Quarter
Boston - Hall 53 FG, 4:12
Boston - Hoover  1 pass from Culpepper (Hall kick), 7:21

Fourth Quarter
Philadelphia - Reed 27 pass from Brady (Graham  kick), 0:08
Boston - Hoover  2 run (Hall kick), 6:51
Philadelphia - Morris 44 pass from Brady (Stecker  run), 13:13
Boston - Hall 50 FG, 13:39

Boston begins what I personally feel will be a strong season with a win against the still hapless Philadelphia Stars.  Though none of the offenses set the world on fire (Boston 291 total yards, Philly 235 total yards), the two defenses played great (Bostone LB Steve Foley was an animal this game) and the score would have been closer had Philadelphia K Shayne Graham not missed 2 field goals.  Boston QB Daunte Culpepper struggled (14/27 164yds 1td 1int) and Philadelphia QB Tom Brady struggled more (24/51 255yd 2td 1int).  The two running games were not successful (Boston gained 3.2 yards per carry, Philly gained 3.8 yards per carry).  Really, the only offensive player on either team that had a nice game was Philadelphia WR Josh Reed (7cat 92yds 1td).

Though I am sure Boston is headed for a playoff-caliber season based on their tough defense, the same can not be said for Philadelphia.  They could not sign any of the premium free agents this year and their rookie class are going to need multiple development years to be able to help the team, so I suspect Philadelphia is going to struggle again.


Offensive Player of the Game - Boston K Jeff Hall (3/3 FGs, 1/1XP)

Defensive Player of the Game - Boston LB Steve Foley (4 sacks, 1 tackle for loss, 2 run stops, 1 pass deflected)

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Chicago Blitz (0-1)          3 14  0  3 -- 20
Michigan Panthers (1-0)      0 13 14  7 -- 34

First Quarter
Chicago - Edinger 41 FG, 9:37

Second Quarter
Michigan - Lindell  35 FG, 0:12
Chicago - Edwards 23 pass from Hamilton (Edinger kick), 5:07
Michigan - Lindell  52 FG, 7:04
Chicago - Davenport 1 run (Edinger kick), 10:00
Michigan - Smith 12 pass from Brooks (Lindell  kick), 12:34

Third Quarter
Michigan - Jackson 1 run (Lindell  kick), 3:45
Michigan - Alexander 45 run (Lindell  kick), 12:03

Fourth Quarter
Michigan - Bryson 1 run (Lindell  kick), 0:42
Chicago - Edinger 27 FG, 4:49

Michigan begins their title defense with a huge 3rd and 4th quarter to defeat Chicago at home.  Michigan ran all over the Chicago defense behine HB Shaun Alexander (17car 187yds 1td) and HB Shawn Bryson (10car 87yds).  Michigan QB Aaron Brooks was efficient and moved the chains (14/21 217yds 1td) thowing for 8 1st downs.  Michigan's defense was led thier front four, most notably by free agent signee DE Jevon Kearse (signed away from Boston) and perrenial all-pro DT Anthony McFarland.

Chicago's running backs put in monstrous performances both on the ground (HB Jamal Lewis 15car 147yds) and through the air (HB Sammy Morris 6cat 112yds), but it wasn't enough to make up for the shoddy run defense.  QB Joe Hamilton (21/37 280yds 1td 1int) played well, but the interception was an end zone interception that could have gotten the team within a touchdown in the 4th quarter.  I think Chicago will win more than the 3 games they won last season if they can tighten their run defense up.


Offensive Player of the Game - Michigan HB Shaun Alexander (17car 187yds 1td)

Defensive Players of the Game - Michigan DE Jevon Kearse (1 sack, 1 QB hit, 3 tackles for loss, 3 run stops)

                                                         Michigan CB Renaldo Hill (2 forced fumbles, 1 run stop, 1 pass deflected)

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Tampa Bay Bandits (1-0)        7 21  7  7 -- 42
Birmingham Stallions (0-1)     7 14  0  7 -- 28

First Quarter
Birmingham - Wayne 15 pass from Manning (Dawson  kick), 9:59
Tampa Bay - Burress 1 pass from Bulger (Brown kick), 10:32

Second Quarter
Tampa Bay - Burress 55 pass from Bulger (Brown kick), 2:59
Birmingham - Manning 2 run (Dawson  kick), 9:56
Tampa Bay - Taylor 2 run (Brown kick), 10:25
Birmingham - Branch 88 kickoff return (Dawson  kick), 10:46
Tampa Bay - Burress 13 pass from Bulger (Brown kick), 13:54

Third Quarter
Tampa Bay - Burress 29 pass from Bulger (Brown kick), 8:14

Fourth Quarter
Tampa Bay - Taylor 55 run (Brown kick), 3:13
Birmingham - Collins 6 pass from Manning (Dawson  kick), 11:54

This was a very weird game.  Birmingham's pass rush PUMMELED  Tampa Bay QB Marc Bulger (19/31 236yds 4td 2int) all game long.  Bulger was sacked 8 times and hit 11 /different times.  In all of my years playing this game, I have never seen a pass rush so relentless.  So why did Birmingham lose?  For one, Birmingham's secondary was trash this game.  When Bulger did have time to throw, he connected with WR Plaxico Burress (6cat 119yds 4td) for 4 touchdowns.  Another reason was allowing big plays despite the severe pass rush Tampa Bay was facing. 

Tampa Bay had a forgettable season last year, but they always had the pieces on offense to destroy defenses.  WR Randy Moss, WR Plaxico Burress and HB Fred Taylor are all Hall-of-Fame type talents and if Tampa Bay has improved their defense enough (they really did not add anything via free agency, but drafted a bucnh of defensive players that will contribute down the road), they will be in the playoff hunt.

Birmingham's offense did not support their defense.  QB Peyton Manning was pedestrian (16/33 179yds 2td 2int) and despite a good running game (144 total yards and 4.8 yards per carry), Birmingham could not keep up with the scoring onslaught of Tampa Bay's offense.  Birmingham had an up and down season last year and as QB Payton Manning goes, so goes the team.  If he plays well, they usually win, especially with the good defense the usually have.  If he plays poorly, they do not have the horses on offense to make up for that, so they usually lose.


Offensive Player of the Game - Tampa Bay WR Plaxico Burress (6cat 119yds 4td)

Defensive Player of the Game - Tampa Bay DT Ron Edwards (2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 3 run stops, 1 QB Hit, 1 forced fumble)

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Arizona Wranglers (0-1)          7  6  0  3 -- 16
Oakland Invaders (1-0)          14  7  7  0 -- 28

First Quarter
Oakland - WR Torrey Holt 6 pass from QB Drew Brees (Feely kick), 3:07
Arizona - FB Robert Thomas  54 run (Gramatica kick), 5:26
Oakland - WR Jabbar Gaffney 26 pass from QB Drew Brees (Feely kick), 13:19

Second Quarter
Arizona - Gramatica 29 FG, 2:12
Arizona - Gramatica 41 FG, 7:26
Oakland - WR Andre Johnson 7 pass from QB Drew Brees (Feely kick), 12:24

Third Quarter
Oakland - HB Jamel White 4 run (Feely kick), 13:40

Fourth Quarter
Arizona - Gramatica 41 FG, 3:50

The main story of this game is Oakland scored touchdowns while Arizona scored field goals.  Oakland pretty much dominated the time of possession (34 minutes to 26 minutes) via the running game (Oakland gained 219 total yards on the ground)  behind the stellar efforts of HB Rueben Droughns (16car 135yds).  Oakland's starting QB, after sitting on the bench for two whole seasons, is 3rd year vet QB Drew Brees, who played well despite two turnovers (26/40 270yds 3td 2int).  Though Oakland's defense did not play particularly well (gave up 132 yards on the ground), they did hold the Arizona offense to 186 total passing yards.

Arizona QB Donovan McNabb struggled mightily (20/40 203yds 0td 1int) and could not convert in the red zone.  On defense, Arizona coould not get off the field allowing 6/11 3rd down conversions.   Hopefully, they can play better as the 2KFL West conference will be a meat grinder like it was last season with Denver and Oakland being quality teams.


Offensive Player of the Game - Oakland HB Rueben Drougns (16car 135yds, 4cat 56yds)

Defensive Player of the Game - Arizona LB Larry Foote (2 sacks, 2 QB hits, 2 passes deflected)

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Los Angeles Express (0-1)      0 13  3  0 -- 16
Denver Gold (1-0)              7  0  0 13 -- 20

First Quarter
Denver - QB Shaun King 3 run (Janikowski kick), 5:31

Second Quarter
Los Angeles - Brown 20 FG, 3:17
Los Angeles - Brown 33 FG, 7:41
Los Angeles - WR Javon Walker 12 pass from Batch (Brown kick), 13:25

Third Quarter
Los Angeles - Brown 31 FG, 7:36

Fourth Quarter
Denver - Janikowski 27 FG, 0:12
Denver - Janikowski 19 FG, 7:53
Denver - HB Anthony Thomas 5 run (Janikowski kick), 14:06

A furious 4th quarter comeback is what it took for Denver to begin their 2003 campaign on a winning note.  An early 1st quarter fumble at the goalline for Los Angeles, denied them a TD and that early error ended up costing them the game.  Denver's offense was led by former Chicago QB Shaun King, who was desperately signed after last year's starting QB (Brian Griese) was signed away by New Jersey.  Just like the offenses he led in Chicago, QB Shaun King struggled and could not push the ball down the field (16/30 182yds 0td 1int).  Los Angeles actually out gained Denver in total yardage (305 to 274), but their starting QB Charlie Batch was just as bad as King (15/29 143yds 1td 1int).  

The defenses were the story of this game and Denver's LB Brian Urlacher was making plays all over the field and was the defensive player of the game.  On the other side, Los Angeles LB Keith Bulluck (4 run stops, 1 QB hit, 2 tackles for loss, 1 pass deflected) was instrumental in Los Angeles hold Denver's offense in check until the 4th quarter meltdown. 

Denver is going to have a hard time getting back to the championship game with QB Shaun King at the helm.  Though his ratings are decent, he has low endurance, which affects his throws in the 4th quarter.  His backups are QB Giovanni Carmazzi and rookie QB Rex Grossman, so I am sure the coach will be looking to make a change if King  contines to struggle.


Offensive Player of the Game - Los Angeles HB Clinton Portis (21car 129yds, 2cat 17yds)

Defensive Player of the Game - Denver LB Brian Urlacher (1 sack, 2 tackles for loss, 3 run stops, 1 pass defelcted)

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 2KFL League Standings
         Week 1
                            W    L    T    PF    PA    Str        
            Boston          1    0    0    30    18    W1      
            Washington      1    0    0    23    16    W1        
            Philadelphia    0    1    0    18    30    L1         
            New Jersey      0    1    0    16    23    L1         
                            W    L    T    PF    PA    Str          
            Tampa Bay       1    0    0    42    28    W1         
            Michigan        1    0    0    34    20    W1         
            Birmingham      0    1    0    28    42    L1         
            Chicago         0    1    0    20    34    L1         
                            W    L    T    PF    PA    Str        
            Oakland         1    0    0    28    16    W1         
            Denver          1    0    0    20    16    W1        
            Los Angeles     0    1    0    16    20    L1         
            Arizona         0    1    0    16    28    L1         



Offensive - Tampa Bay WR Plaxico Burress (6cat 119yds 4td)

Defensive - Tampa Bay DT Ron Edwards (2 sacks, 2 tackles for losses, 1 QB hit, 3 run stops, 1 forced fumble)

Rookie - Arizona DE Terrell Suggs (2 tackles for losses, 2 QB Hits, 2 run stops)



        Oakland (1-0)         at    Philadelphia   (0-1)  
        New Jersey (0-1)      at    Michigan (1-0)        
        Denver (1-0)          at    Chicago (0-1)         
        Washington (1-0)      at    Birmingham  (0-1)     
        Boston (1-0)          at    Los Angeles (0-1)     
        Tampa Bay (1-0)       at    Arizona (0-1)   



Week 1 Major Injuries and Suspensions

Boston starting DE Lamar King fractured his tibia and will be out for 5 weeks.  Boston will not sign anyone to take his place.

Chicago starting CB Patrick Surtain sprained his ankle and is questionable for the next 3 weeks.

New Jersey starting C Jeff Saturday hyper-extended his knee and will be out for the next 4 weeks.  New Jersey will not sign anyone to take his place.


Edited by Truck_Turner

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Doing something a tad different this season.  Using the PREVIEW utility, I will be providing predictions this season.  Preview utilizes stats and matchups to provide a score prediction:


        Oakland (1-0)         at    Philadelphia   (0-1)  Prediction -  Oak 29 Phi 20
        New Jersey (0-1)      at    Michigan (1-0)        Prediction -  Mch 32 NJ 18       
        Denver (1-0)          at    Chicago (0-1)         Prediction -  Den 27 Chi 21
        Washington (1-0)      at    Birmingham  (0-1)     Prediction -  Was 33 Bir 25
        Boston (1-0)          at    Los Angeles (0-1)     Prediction -  Bos 25 LA 20
        Tampa Bay (1-0)       at    Arizona (0-1)         Prediction -  TB 35 Ari 25


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Oakland Invaders (2-0)          0 21  3  3 -- 27
Philadelphia Stars (0-2)        3 10  0  7 -- 20

First Quarter
Philadelphia - Graham  42 FG, 8:00

Second Quarter
Oakland - Betts 64 pass from Smith (Feely kick), 4:22
Oakland - Droughns 2 run (Feely kick), 11:13
Philadelphia - Smith 86 kickoff return (Graham  kick), 11:34
Oakland - Gaffney 51 pass from Smith (Feely kick), 13:47
Philadelphia - Graham  52 FG, 15:00

Third Quarter
Oakland - Feely 22 FG, 5:58

Fourth Quarter
Oakland - Feely 19 FG, 0:51
Philadelphia - Moss 42 pass from Brady (Graham  kick), 15:00

A 2nd quarter explosion by Oakland pretty much put the game out of reach as the final score does not reflect the domination that Oakland enjoyed.  Oakland outgained Philadelphia 415-301 in total yardage behind the hard running of HB Rueben Droughns (27car 148yds 1 td) and the effective play of new Oakland starter QB Akili Smith (former starter QB Drew Brees had a blowup with the coaching staff this week and was demoted for the rest of the season) who got the ball out quickly and accurately while avoiding turnovers (16/21 205yds 2td).  Defensively, Oakland safeties menaced the Philadelphia WRs only allowing 2 catches out of 11 total targets while deflecting 6 of those targets.  Additionally, rookie LB E.J. Henderson was stout in run defense while earning defensive player of the game honors with good all-around play.

For Philadelphia, its more of the same.  QB Tom Brady was awful (11/32 181yds itd 1int) and severely hampered the Stars offense despite a thowback game for 10 year vet HB Thomas Jones (24car 124yds), who was outstanding.  Brady thrw a 3rd quarter interception in the endzone that could have decided the game.  Philadelphia's defense 2nd quarter play was backbreaking for the team, putting them in a hole they could not climb out of.  Philadelphia DE Adawale Ogunleye, returning from being out most of last year from injury, had a breakout performance (1 sack, 2 QB hits 1 tackle for loss, 1 run stop), but his performace was not enough to matter in the end.  Philadelphia is in for a long season yet again.


Offensive Player of the Game - Oakland HB Rueben Droughns (27car 148yds 1td)

Defensive Players of the Game - Oakland LB E.J. Henderson (1 sack, 1 QB Hit, 1 tackle for loss, 4 run stops)

                                                          Oakland S Lance Schulters (1 interception, 1 sack, 2 run stops, 2 passes deflected)

Edited by Truck_Turner

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New Jersey Generals (1-1)       0  0 14  7 -- 21
Michigan Panthers (1-1)         0  3  3  0 --  6

First Quarter
No scoring

Second Quarter
Michigan - Lindell  45 FG, 0:05

Third Quarter
New Jersey - WR Quentin McCord 21 pass from Griese (Vanderjagt  kick), 5:08
Michigan - Lindell  40 FG, 10:24
New Jersey - HB Earnest Graham 27 run (Vanderjagt  kick), 15:00

Fourth Quarter
New Jersey - HB Earnest Graham 7 run (Vanderjagt  kick), 8:43

In kind of a must win game, New Jersey traveled to Michigan with a novel approach; run the ball down Michigan's throat and see if they could stop us.  That gameplan proved successful, as New Jersey ran the ball 46 times and only passed the ball 10 times.  New Jersey QB Brian Griese, did not have to do much (8/10 105yds 1td) as New Jersey HB's Travis Henry (20car 86yds), Dominic Rhodes (18car 104yds) and rookie Earnest Graham (5car 35yds 2td) were the stars of this game, along with the New Jersey offensive line plowing holes through the Michigan front 7.  Defensively, New Jersey's Linebacking Corps (Bart Scott, Jeff Posey and Antonio Pierce) controlled Michigan HB Shaun Alexander as well as intercepted 2 passes in the passing game.  The Linebacker position is so important in the 2KFL and New Jersey having the best one in the league (LB Bart Scott) makes their defense so much more potent than other teams.  The defense also held Michigan to 3/11 on 3rd down, which was critical throughout the game.

Michigan QB Aaron Brooks did not play well (13/26 135yds 0td 2int, 4car 28yds) and HB Shaun Alexander  was held in check all game (17car 68yds, 4cat 27yds).  Michigan's offense just could not gain any continuity turning the ball over 3 times (2int 1fum).  On defense, Michigan allowed  New Jersey to run all over them (238 yards) and could not get off of the field on 3rd down, allowing New Jersey to convert 6/13 3rd downs into 1st downs.  Bad all-around game for Michigan at home. 


Offensive Players of the Game - New Jersey Running backs

Defensive Player of the game - New Jersey LB Bart Scott (1 sack, 1 interception, 1 QB hit, 1 run stop, 1 forced fumble)

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Denver Gold (2-0)           7 28  0  6 -- 41
Chicago Blitz (0-2)         7 10  0  3 -- 20

First Quarter
Denver - FB Rocky Cartwright 1 pass from King (Janikowski kick), 2:51
Chicago - HB Sammy Morris 55 pass from Hamilton (Edinger kick), 5:56

Second Quarter
Denver - HB Anthony Thomas 14 pass from King (Janikowski kick), 1:25
Chicago - WR Travis Taylor 21 pass from Hamilton (Edinger kick), 3:46
Denver - WR Brandon Stokley 11 pass from King (Janikowski kick), 7:20
Denver - FB Rocky Cartwright 1 pass from King (Janikowski kick), 10:29
Denver - HB Kevin Faulk 3 run (Janikowski kick), 12:02
Chicago - Edinger 40 FG, 14:32

Third Quarter
No scoring

Fourth Quarter
Chicago - Edinger 25 FG, 4:11
Denver - WR Brandon Stokley 16 pass from King (kick failed), 14:30

Denver QB Shaun King  (former starting Chicago QB that was unceremoniously benched last season) had to have had this game marked on his calendar after signing with Denver in the offseason. He must have been intent on enacting revenge on his former team and boy did he do it.  King was AMAZING (24/31 323yds 5td 1int, 7car 45yds).  This was the best performance of his career, BY FAR, and he absolutely shredded the Chicago secondary all game long.  If Denver get this kind of Quarterback play the rest of the season, they will win the title, no doubt about it.  Denver defense forced 3 turnovers (2int, 1fum) which allowed them to stop a pretty good Chicago offense.

Chicago QB Joe Hamilton played decently (23/34 251yds 2td 2int), but was responsible for those 3 turnovers, killing his team's chance to win.  One of his strengths last season was taking care of the ball (only 1 interception in 6 games started).  This season has been another story with the turnovers so far (3int, 1fum) and he has to clean that up for Chicago to have any chance to win; their defense just isn't strong enough to cover for his mistakes, like he had in the second quarter allowing Denver to score 21 straight points off of his turnovers.  Chicago's defensive secondary was awful and some changes may have to be made of this continues.


Offensive Player of the Game - Denver QB Shaun King (24/31 323yds 5td 1int, 7car 45yds)

Defensive Players of the Game - Denver LB Rosevelt Colvin (1 sack, 3 run stops, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries)

                                                          Denver CB Artrell Hawkins (1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 2 passes deflected, 0/4 in pass defense targets)

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