The week started out slow for the USFL with the New Jersey Generals outlasting the Michigan Panthers 10-6. Since then, we’ve seen A LOT of offense out of the league. Saturday saw the first 3-point attempt and conversion in league history, followed by the longest pass this season from J’Mar Smith on his way to securing victory number two.
Today, we see another pair of undefeated teams looking to continue their winning ways. Unfortunately, only one franchise can come out on top.
Jordan Ta’amu and the Bandits would start out the matchup with possession of the ball.
Unlike last weekend, the Bandits couldn’t get the ball moving. After a quick three and out, Sloter came onto the field to hopefully give the Breakers an early edge.
Coach Fedora relied on his running game, and it was moving the chains. New Orleans, now within 20 of the end zone, Sloter found an open man bringing them to first and goal.
After two failed handoffs, Sloter took the game into his own hands to sneak it in to grab the first points of the afternoon. The kicking woes continues with the kick going slight right. There’s still a lot of time left in the game, but the Breakers have the 6-0 lead to start things out.
The Bandits offense took the field again, hoping to event things up or even take the lead. Once again, the team couldn’t find their rhythm being forced to punt it away.
New Orleans was again having success moving the ball down the field. They found themselves at 1st & goal again, hoping to repeat the success of their last drive. This time, Sloter handed it off to TJ Logan to find the end zone.
Coach Fedora wanted to makeup for the missed extra-point opting for two. Sloter passed it high to Jonathan Adams Jr, who skinned the cat to pull it in and put them up 14-0 with 8 seconds remaining in the 1st.
Coach Haley didn’t like what he saw out of his offense in the first. Brady White would come in at QB for the Bandits to start out the second to hopefully give the offense a kickstart. This next drive was much of the same with the New Orleans defense forcing another quick punt.
The Breakers ended up with good field position after he punt, and even moved the chains on the first play putting them well within striking distance. Sloter was hitting all his marks. As they got closer to the goal line, the Bandits defense started to come in big for Coach Haley.
The Breakers were forced to settle for three, but Austin MacGinnis had his field goal attempt blocked keeping the score 14-0.
Ta’amu was now back in for Tampa Bay, hoping to make something happen on offense and not let his team get too far behind. He definitely had made some adjustments, as the drive was night and day compared to the others.
Jordan moved the ball with his arm and feet. He ran it long to bring them near the 20. The O’Grady secured it to bring them to 1st & Goal. Ta’amu almost singlehandedly secured the TD, but came up a few yards short. The drive ended with the team grabbing three with Ty Rausa knocking it in from 22-yards.
Sloter picked up where he left off, keeping the chains moving. Jonathan Adams showed off on this drive as well when he pulled in a one-handed catch in traffic. This put the Breakers within 20-yards of another touchdown and plenty of time in the half to get there.
On the very next play, Sloter found Shawn Poindexter for another score. Austin MacGinnis came in and secured the extra-point this time around. With 2:28 left in the half New Orleans held a commanding 21-lead over Tampa Bay.
The Bandits offense came out strong, moving the ball the way they were hoping. Ta’amu had an impressive run, getting them close to a first down. On the next play they had a long reception, but it ended with the Breakers defense forcing a fumble and regaining control.
The Breakers took this drive easy, making sure to not make any mistakes going into the half. With a little over a minute left they punted back to Tampa Bay to give them one more chance to add some points before the clock ran out.
Jordan Ta’amu started the drive witha long pass attempt, but couldn’t find his receiver. From there, the Breakers defense was just too much for them to handle. Coach Fedora was confident with their lead, he sent Sloter to the locker room early to get rested and ran out the clock when they got possession again.
New Orleans would start the second receiving the kickoff, giving them a chance to expand on their lead. The commentary team questioned if we’d see Sloter in the second half because of a minor groin injury. Those questions were put to bed when Sloter was shown joking out of the locker room ready to go.
Tampa Bay came out with a few big defensive stops, forcing New Orleans to punt it away quick.
Ta’amu was moving the offense well to begin, but the Breakers defense shut them down near their own 40 forcing them to go for it on 4th & 2. It was close, nd ultimately the chip technology came in handy to see exactly where the ball landed. After review, the Bandits got a fresh set of downs and another chance to grab some more points.
They were once again stuck with a 4th down, and again Coach Haley decided to go for it with 6-yards needed to keep the drive going. Ta’amu was flushed out by the Breakers defense, and couldn’t get enough to move the chains.
New Orleans didn’t have much luck on their next drive either, quickly punting it back.
On the first play of the 4th, Sloter slung it into the endzone, but his receiver could only get one foot inbounds. They were unable to add another touchdown, settling or another field goal attempt from Austin MacGinnis.
New Orleans came on the field with the goal of running down as much time as possible. The offense was still moving well and once again brought them near the goal line giving them another chance to score. Sloter made it happen, once again making it look easy. He found Johnny Dixon this time for another six. MacGinnis secured the extra-point making it 31-3.
Brady White came back in at QB for the Bandits. It’s unlikely that they could turn the game around now, but it could serve White to get some more real-time playing experience. They still couldn’t find their footing and were forced to punt it away.
New Orleans went out there and drew a good 4-minutes off the clock before sending it back to Tampa Bay. On the punt, the Bandits defense committed a foul, roughing the kicker, giving New Orleans another set of downs.
They went back to doing their best to run the clock down, at this point it would be nearly impossible for Tampa Bay to come back. They ere able to shave another minute or so off the clock before sending it back to Tampa Bay.
New Orleans did not let up off the gas, their defense showing that last week was not a fluke with yet another interception.
The Breakers capitalized on the interception, adding another three from Austin MacGinnis.
Brady White came back out for Tampa Bay’s final drive of the game.
At the end of the day, the Breakers defense was too much for the Bandits to handle. On the offensive side, it looked like Sloter was unstoppable. New orleans will go 2-0, but next week they’ll meet the Birmingham Stallions and J’Mar Smith. The Bandits will look to rebound against the Houston Gamblers who are also reeling off of a loss. Both of which will air on FOX next Saturday.
Week two of the USFL started out slow, but sine that first game we saw a good amount of points put on the boards. With the changes to the k ball, we’ve seen the kicking woes slightly improve, but there’s still some work to be done on that front.
What was your favorite game of the USFL rivalry weekend? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.