New Orleans Breakers Edge Out Houston Gamblers 23-16

New Orleans Breakers Edge Out Houston Gamblers in Close Matchup

Rounding out week 4 for the USFL is the Houston Gamblers taking on the New Orleans Breakers. Both teams are looking to rebound after losses last week, so it could turn out to be a competitive matchup. The Breakers are 2-1 after losing to the undefeated Birmingham Stallions.

On the other side of the field, Houston is still trying to get back into the win column since their week 1 victory.

1st Quarter

Houston started the matchup receiving the kickoff, giving Clayton Thorson a chance to get his team on the board first. Coach Sumlin tried a mix of running and passing plays, but it wasn’t enough to get any meaningful yards.

New Orleans will receive the punt, and get their first chance with possession this afternoon.

Shawn Poindexter continued to be a reliable receiver for Sloter an company, bringing them across mid-field. They couldn’t get the ball moving much more, but brought in Taylor BertoletΒ  for his first appearance for the franchise. Coach Fedora gave him a tall task, but Bertolet knocked it in from 50-yards out to give the Breakers an early 3-0 lead.

Thorson came back out for Houston, but they still couldn’t find their rhythm on the field. After a quick three and out, they gave the ball back to New Orleans.

Sloter and the Breakers came back on the field, and continued where they left off. They were moving the ball ell, but near mid field the Gamblers defense put on the pressure and forced a fumble and ultimately regained possession.

Although the defense came up with a big play for Houston, the offense still couldn’t get moving. Thorson almost gave it away himself, going long into traffic but luckily for them it was ruled incomplete. They were once again forced to punt it away.

2nd Quarter

The Breakers started the 2nd pinned back against their own goal line. Sloter was able to give himself some breathing room, but the Gambler defense were able to force another turnover. Beniquez Brown picked off Sloter to give Houston the ball at the 29, putting them in prime scoring position.

Houston almost wasted this opportunity, getting pushed back 22-yards by the Breakers defense. On 3rd down, they were hoping to make their field goal chances better, in hopes to tie it up. Instead, Thorson found Jojo Ward who was wide open to grab their first touchdown of the afternoon. With the extra-point good, they now lead the Breakers 7-3.

Houston liked the spot they were in, and the defense once again came out big. They continued to put a lot of pressure on Sloter, and the results spoke for themselves. New Orleans was forced to punt, but Houston blocked the punt, with Will Likely getting some good yards after the recovery.

The Gamblers were now back at the 30, hoping to add to their recent lead.

We saw some great plays on this drive, including an impressive one-handed grab from Anthony Ratliff-Williams.

Houston couldn’t find the end-zone this time around though, but Nick Vogel came in big with a 52-yard field goal attempt to add three. They now led the Breakers 10-3 roughly halfway through the 2nd.

New Orleans came out hoping to tie things up before the half. You could sense the urgency, Sloter started finding his receivers a bit better this time around. Johnnie Dixon was able to grab the ball and get some nice yards to move the chains and continue the drive on 3rd and 9 near mid-field.

This is where their luck stalled. Will Likely came in with another big play, this time picking of Sloter and giving the Gamblers the ball again with 5:31 left in the half.

Thorson was unable to get any meaningful yards, this time they were too far out to go for another field goal. With less than five minutes to go in the half, they punted back to New Orleans.

When presented with 3rd and long, Sloter made his best pass of the afternoon brining the Breakers near mid-field. He was looking much better on this drive, making another big play to bring them to the 25. But, Houston’s defense still continued to put pressure on him sacking him once more.

As New Orleans was making their way down the field, the broadcast showed Will Likely heading to the lover room early with a limp. Clearly, this should be concerning for the Gamblers as he’s been a big part of their success today.

On 3rd and short, Kyle Sloter handed off to Jodan Ellis who found the end-zone for the first time of the afternoon for New Orleans. The extra-point tied it up 10-10 with 28-seconds left in the half.

The Gamblers would have a shot to get back in the lead before the half ran out, but there wasn’t a lot of time to execute. Thorson was able to connect with Isiah Zuber who brought them past the 50 and moved out of bounds to stop the clock.

Thorson went long on the next play, only to be picked off by the Breakers, but after review there was a pass interference call. This gave Houston a chance to bring out their kicking unit, and it worked just as planned. Nick Vogel knocked it in from 41-yards out to give them a 13-10 lead going into the half.

3rd Quarter

New Orleans would start out the second half receiving the kickoff. Sloter came out hoping to get back on top, but Houston’s defense continued to shine forcing a quick punt.

Houston would have their first chance with the ball in the second half, and hope to pick up where they left off. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get into rhythm and had to punt it back to New Orleans.

Jordan Ellis gave the Breakers a nice play grabbing a lot of extra-yards after the reception to bring them near mid-field.

They weren’t done just yet, Sloter went long to Sal Cannella to bring them to the 7-yard line putting them to 1st & goal and a chance to retake the lead.

New Orleans looked like they may be able to get it done, but after heavy pressure they were forced to go for three. Taylor Bertolet knocked it through the uprights from 28-yards up to event the score.

The Houston offense continued to struggle to pick up the pace in the second half. They couldn’t get the ball moving, and the bad penalties started to pile on. With roughly 4-minutes left in the 3rd quarter they punted it back to the Breakers.

The Breakers came out strong on this drive, but the Houston defense proved to be too strong for them.

Sloter went long for the end-zone, only to get picked off once more for their 4th turnover of the afternoon. The Gamblers stop the Breakers from taking the lead, and give themselves a chance to get the slight edge.

Thins started out slow, but Isiah Zuber grabbed another big reception for the franchise to keep the drive alive.

4th Quarter

Going into the final quarter, it was still tied 13-13. Many expected New Orleans to run away with this one, but nobody expected the Gamblers defense to come out so strong.

It was a fast set of downs for Houston to start the 4th, ultimately giving it back to New Orleans with 14:13 left to go.

At this point in the game Jordan Ellis had secured his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, and the team would need to rely on him if they wanted to pull it out.

The good news, they didn’t throw another interception. The bad news, they were stuck in a 4th & short situation. Coach Fedora decided to go for it as they were just outside of field goal position.

New Orleans ended up shooting themselves in the foot, going offsides and pushing themselves back 5-yards. They still decided to go for it with 8-yards needed to keep the drive going.

Donald Payne broke up the pass, giving the Gamblers yet another turnover on the day.

 

This drive was important for Houston, a touchdown could seal the game for the team. Thorson was slowing things down a bit, taking his time and moving the ball time and time again.

Thorson was looking great, but an offensive pass interference call forced them to go for three. Nick Vogel came in and again did what he does best, knock it in from far. This time, he grabbed the lead from 53-yards out. They now lead the Breakers 16-13 with 3:01 left.

New Orleans would get the ball, and possibly their last possession of the afternoon. It could be now or never if they wanted to stay in this.

A big gain of 43-yards from Sloter put them in a great spot to get some points on the boards.

Houston then stepped up their game, putting the Breakers in a 4th-down position near the 30. Taylor Bertolet got is down from 45-yards out to tie it up 16-16 with 2 minutes left in the game.

Houston almost gave it away on a few occasions, but at the end of the drive they were forced to punt it back to New Orleans with less than a minute to go. Sloter found Sal Canella for another huge reception bringing them near the 30 again, and very close to being able to take the win with another field goal.

Sloter didn’t want a slight lead, he went for it finding Jonathan Adams in the end-zone for 23-16 lead and leaving only 10-second son the clock.

Naturally, the Gamblers didn’t have enough time to get it done. They once again had a tail of two halves, and now move down to 1-3 on the season. The Breakers rebound after a loss last week to move to 3-1, but the turnovers should be concerning for Coach Fedora.

Next week marks the halfway point of the season, so the playoffs are going to start coming in to play with each win.

What was your favorite USFL matchup this weekend? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.