Back with my unedited game story from Spokane's 63-49 win over Chicago. Sorry for the delay, but my computer acted up. Read on.
By Jim Meehan
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Friday’s game was one of those times.
In a seesaw battle with
The injury-depleted Rush (10-6) gave top-ranked
“It felt like a playoff game in a playoff atmosphere,” said Rowley, who tossed seven touchdown passes. “By nature, I don’t usually enjoy it during the process, but I’ve kind of learned to stay in the moment and enjoy the crowd and the amazing gift I’ve been given to play in front of these fans. Every once in a while I take a snapshot.”
The lasting images of this one will be of the Shock scoring on every possession except their last one – and that was by design as they were simply running out the final few seconds.
And the defining pictures:
Two running plays nudged the ball to the 1 and Syvelle Newton was stuffed as he tried the middle of the Shock defense. On fourth down, quarterback J.J. Raterink pump-faked a couple of times before firing a pass that sailed high and into the crowd with 3:47 left.
“Their quarterback had tremendous pocket presence,” Shock defensive end Jeremy Geathers said. “That sack I got, any one of us could have got that, but I think it got us fired up and we played our hearts out on the goal line.”
Rowley hit Greg Orton for 31 yards, and then connected with Orton on a 16-yard touchdown pass that hiked
“We talked at halftime and we talked about it midway through the fourth quarter: Who is going to break first?”
Raterink, filling in for the injured Russ Michna, passed for 294 yards and six touchdowns. He didn’t throw an incompletion until the second quarter.
Both offenses lit it up in the first half. Raterink zipped a 4-yard scoring pass to Nichiren Flowers with 17.3 seconds left in the second quarter, but the receiver spiked the ball toward defensive back Travis Williams and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Brookins returned the ensuing kickoff to the 21 and, after the penalty was enforced,