SALT LAKE CITY – Spokane probably couldn’t have played much worse offensively, but it still had a chance to win in the closing seconds.
Facing fourth down at Utah’s 5-yard line, Shock quarterback Erik Meyer threw behind open receiver Adron Tennell, allowing defender David Hyland time to break up the pass and preserve the Blaze’s 52-48 victory Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena.
“I just missed the throw,” Meyer said in a postgame radio interview. “Tennell got open and I left it inside.”
Spokane (5-2) has lost two straight games and dropped from No. 1 in the Arena Football League to second place in the West Division. Arizona (6-1) knocked off top-ranked Jacksonville 58-48 to take over first in the West.
Meyer, who finished with 276 yards passing and three touchdowns, had tossed at least seven touchdown passes in each of the Shock’s first six games. Spokane was just 2 of 7 on third down and 1 of 4 on fourth down.
Defensive backs Cameron McGlenn and Paul Stephens returned interceptions for touchdowns and Patrick Stoudamire returned a kick for a score, accounting for three of the Shock’s seven touchdowns.
Spokane had four scoreless possessions – two fumbles, stopped on downs and a missed field goal after three penalties on offensive linemen stalled a drive – and trailed 27-21 at half.
“Our defense played very well,” head coach Andy Olson said. “Our offense played very average. Fumbles, dropped balls, penalties … it was just sloppy.”
The Shock took their first lead of the game, 34-33, on McGlenn’s 17-yard interception return early in the fourth quarter. Spokane led 41-40 on Stephens’ 53-yard interception return and 48-46 after Tennell’s 14-yard touchdown reception with 6:18 remaining.
Utah (3-3) went back in front on Tommy Grady’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Mario Urrutia with 1 minute remaining. The Shock recovered Utah’s onside kick. They ran the ball three straight plays to take time off the clock but failed to convert on fourth down.
“The guy was literally wide open and we missed him,” Olson said. “I don’t think I’ve seen that from our quarterback.”
Kamar Jorden led Shock receivers with 10 catches for 112 yards. He recovered one of his two fumbles. Urrutia finished with 122 yards receiving and Aaron Lesue added 117.