JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Spokane’s defense forced four turnovers, all committed by former Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley, as the Shock cruised to a 62-40 win over Jacksonville on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Arena.
Spokane (12-4) won for the second time in seven days in Florida and improved its overall road record to 7-2. The Shock, who return home for the last two games of the Arena Football League regular season, can secure the No. 3 seed with a pair of victories.
The second-ranked Shock never trailed in routing the fourth-ranked Sharks (10-6) for the second time in five weeks. Jacksonville dropped to 0-5 against West Division opponents.
Spokane broke open the game in the second quarter when Terence Moore and Paul Stephens had interception returns for touchdowns on consecutive plays. Both were 9-yard returns, the latter by Stephens giving Spokane a commanding 35-13 lead.
“Nothing against (Rowley), but he doesn’t have a very strong arm and we thought we could beat his ball to the flat,” coach Andy Olson said in a postgame radio interview. “That’s something we talked to Stephens about all week. The pressure (up front) helped.”
The Shock led 41-20 at halftime on a touchdown catch by reserve receiver Arvell Nelson, who saw extended time with the ejection of Brandon Thompkins and finished with four TD receptions.
“I feel comfortable,” Nelson said. “I’ve been doing it all season, stepping in when I have to.”
Terrance Sanders intercepted a Rowley pass early in the third quarter and quarterback Erik Meyer’s TD pass to Nelson extended Spokane’s lead to 48-20.
Spokane collected three sacks, one by Diyral Briggs forcing a Rowley fumble that was recovered by defensive lineman Terrance Taylor.
Meyer passed for 182 yards and six touchdowns, boosting his season total to 102. He also had a 1-yard touchdown run. Kamar Jorden led the receivers with eight catches for 72 yards. Chris Pino, the 325-pound tight end, had a touchdown reception – this one covering 26 yards – for the second straight game.
“I have no idea why they keep throwing me the ball,” Pino joked. “I’m supposed to be blocking, but if I’m open I’ll take it.”
Rowley had 237 yards passing and four TDs.