Sunday’s slate of USFL games kicked off with the Pittsburgh Maulers going head to head with the New Orleans Breakers. New Orleans has been a much better team in the first half of the season, and that was clearly evident today.
Last week, the Maulers picked up their first win of the season, on a last second touchdown. On the other hand, the Breakers lost a tough one to New Jersey, looking out of sorts in the second half.
Let’s take a look at what happened in today’s matchup, as both teams went head to head on a hot Sunday afternoon in Birmingham.
To open up the game, New Orleans received the football, but could not find a rhythm on their first drive. Pittsburgh’s possession followed suit, as Vad Lee just missed Tre Walker on what would have been a large third down gain.
New Orleans put together an incredible march. Backed up on their own six yard line, Sloter marched the team down the field efficiently, before Anthony Jones punched it in from a yard out.
Interestingly enough, Kyle Sloter did not play on their next drive. Zach Smith came in, and the Breakers did not see nearly as much success, leading to a punt. Pittsburgh was stuck in a rut, however, giving the ball right back to New Orleans.
Pittsburgh’s defense played impressively well, making Sloter uncomfortable in the pocket. A crucial sack by Ethan Westbrooks on third down forced a punt, as the Maulers regained possession of the football.
Pittsburgh got off to a good start in the second half, getting deep into Breakers territory. The team caught a break, as a field goal attempt was fumbled – but New Orleans had jumped offsides, gifting the Maulers with a first down. Pittsburgh still had to settle for a field goal, and it was a 10-3 game.
The Breakers responded quickly. An exceptional drive down the field, powered by Jordan Ellis and Anthony Jones, put New Orleans in scoring position. Ellis ran it in from a few yards out, which put the team up 17-3.
As the third quarter wound down, Pittsburgh put together a couple of nice plays – giving them momentum heading into the final fifteen minutes.
The Maulers swiftly marched down the field, putting themselves in a position to make it a one score affair. Unfortunately, that would not be the case. A miscommunication between Lee, and Bailey Gaither, resulted in Ike Brown intercepting the ball just outside of the endzone – and returning it to the house for six.
Pittsburgh’s defense held up strong, forcing a punt from the Breakers. This gave their offense another chance to pull the game within one score.
Vad Lee is a fighter. Despite going down 20 points on the pick six, Lee put the team on his back, marching his squad down the field with some excellent decision making. On third and goal, Lee smashed his way into the end zone – and the lead was cut to 23-16.
VAD LEE DOESN'T QUIT 😤🔨@_VL2 makes it 7 point game with 5 minutes left to play 🔥
New Orleans ground game continued to be a force. After Pittsburgh looked like they could overcome the deficit, Jones and Ellis ran the ball aggressively, effectively putting the game away. A field goal from Taylor Bertolet made it a 10 point game with under a minute left to play.
Sunday’s first game of the day proved to be lopsided, as New Orleans was clearly the favorite from the get go. Pittsburgh continues to struggle week in and week out, as Wilson’s play calling leaves the fans wanting more from their offense.
Vad Lee made some impressive efforts down the stretch, but it was not enough. Kyle Sloter and the Breakers offense put the game away, ending Pittsburgh’s comeback attempts.
With this win today, New Orleans improves to 4-2 on the season, securely staying as the No. 2 seed. On the other hand, Pittsburgh drops to 1-5, and remains in last place in the North.
What did you think of Pittsburgh vs. New Orleans? Which players do you think performed the best? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!