Infusion of hope
Quarterback Meyer’s comeback reignites Shock’s spirit
The Spokane Shock needed a pick-me-up. They got it with quarterback Erik Meyer’s return to the starting lineup and a visit from the struggling San Antonio Talons.
Meyer accounted for six touchdowns and the Shock cruised to a 70-30 Arena Football League victory in front of an announced crowd of 8,489 Friday at the Arena.
“It just felt like Shock football,” head coach Andy Olson said. “I think that’s the first game this season that I really felt like it was Shock football. Everyone went out there with a ton of attitude, just extremely focused from start to finish.”
Spokane (7-7), which snapped a two-game losing streak, visits the LA Kiss (3-9) on June 28. San Antonio is 1-13.
Meyer exited after his third rushing touchdown, giving him 16 on the season and breaking his single-season record set in 2013. It put Spokane ahead 56-21 late in the third quarter. Backup quarterback Brian Zbydniewski fired a touchdown pass to Nichiren Flowers for Spokane’s final offensive touchdown.
Meyer, who missed five weeks after having surgery to repair a broken collarbone, scored on two scrambles and a quarterback sneak, a strong indication that he feels comfortable with his recovery. He was sacked once and he was knocked over the dasherboards by former teammate Micah King on a play that drew a personal foul.
“Everything felt good. There were no limitations,” Meyer said. “I wasn’t worried about the collarbone and obviously when I saw an opening I was going to take off and run.”
Spokane built a 28-0 lead with the game barely more than 10 minutes old, despite the fact that San Antonio was on the receiving end of the opening kick.
Meyer zipped a 13-yard touchdown pass to Rashaad Carter and then rambled 11 yards on a scramble for another TD to put Spokane on top 14-0.
The Talons had issues throughout on kick returns with bobbles and penalties while dealing with Taylor Rowan’s five bar balls. They seemed to start every possession backed up near their goal line. It only got worse from there as, in the first quarter alone, quarterback Shane Boyd tossed two interceptions and fullback Mykel Benson fumbled after a collision with a teammate.
Shock linebacker Terence Moore snagged a Boyd pass and returned it 9 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead. Boyd also offered up a sideways-spinning pass that was picked off by defensive back Jimmy Williams, setting up one of Meyer’s touchdown runs.
Spokane led 42-14 at half.
“The defensive line did their job and got pressure on the interception and I did my job by being in the right place,” said Moore, who has six interceptions this season and also scored on a 27-yard fumble return in the closing minutes.
Meyer finished 16 of 23 for 171 yards. Carter had two touchdown receptions and Mike Washington added six receptions for 74 yards. Spokane enjoyed its first turnover-free game since a 70-21 win over the LA Kiss on May 4.
“We knew they were struggling. We had to make sure we came in and handled our business,” Meyer said. “This is a great start to get some momentum going.”
Boyd had a tough night. He completed 19 of 40 attempts for three touchdowns but was intercepted four times.
“The defense is playing out of their minds,” Olson said. “They continue to believe they can get a stop no matter what happens.”
Spokane’s defense came up with six turnovers and repeatedly set up the offense in advantageous field position.
“We needed this win really bad,” Moore said. “It just felt good to be happy as a unit. We have that winning spirit back and that’s big for us right now.”