Talons bitten by Rattlers, 69-20
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Monday, March 28, 2011
Tulsa Talons fans saw first-hand what happens when a franchise allows a veteran core to slip away and has to start almost from scratch with first- and second-year players.
And a lot of the fans weren’t happy.
There were smatterings of boos by the end of the first quarter of Monday’s 69-20, landmark loss to the Arizona Rattlers in the 2011 Arena Football League home opener before an announced crowd of 9,311 at the BOK Center.
Most of the fans tried to stay positive. They cheered when the Talons scored their first touchdown on rookie quarterback Bobby Reid’s 6-yard pass to T.J. Williams with 8:45 left in the third quarter. But it was little solace.
Mostly, the fans started leaving early, which is unusual for a franchise that has won nine consecutive division titles. But those were the days when the Talons were almost never out of a game.They were out of this one quickly.
Arizona led 42-0 at halftime, well on the way to handing the Talons the most lopsided loss in franchise history. The previous worst loss was to the Quad City Steamwheelers 66-27 in Tulsa’s inaugural season of 2000 in the old af2 developmental league.
“It was a disappointing night,” Talons head coach Mitch Allner said. “We had a great crowd show up, and obviously in a home opener you want to show up and put on a better performance than we did tonight.”
“We need to get better in a lot of areas, and it’s on (the coaching staff) to get things straightened out. We’ll have another home game coming up here in a couple of weeks and the game will be much better than (Monday’s),” Allner said.
It may take a miracle for the Talons, 0-3 for the first time in franchise history, to pull things together for their next home date, April 16 against the San Jose SaberCats – not to mention Saturday’s game at the expansion Pittsburgh Power.
They made one mistake after another Monday night. They had busts in pass coverage and penalties that wiped out positive plays.
And they lost six turnovers, including four interceptions by Reid, who played his worst game in three pro starts. The league’s leading rusher was held to 29 yards on the ground and 108 passing yards.
“When I work up this morning, I didn’t know it was gonna be like this,” Reid said. “Things just weren’t going right for me. What’d I have, three or four interceptions? That’s unacceptable. You can’t win games turning the ball over like that.”
Arizona (3-0) led 13-0 when Reid airmailed a pass to Rattlers linebacker Kevin McCullough, who returned it 10 yards untouched for a score and it was 19-0.
Reid’s first pass on the next possession was also intercepted when Marquis Floyd made a leaping, one-handed grab along the sideline and held on when he crashed down on the retaining wall.
Rattler’s quarterback Nick Davila threw 38 yards to Trandon Harvey, one of Harvey’s four TD receptions. Next, Reid was tackled in the end zone for a safety and Davila followed with a 5-yard toss to Rod Windsor.
Adding insult to injury, the Rattlers raced 45 yards in the final minute of the half to make it 42-0.
Former Oklahoma State quarterback Bobby Reid, now the Talons QB, throws against the Rattlers during the Talons' home opener at the BOK Center. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World