New QB Jefferson struggles in Power loss to Utah
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Mike Washington could see the raw results of the Power's opening-night 64-33 loss to the Utah Blaze in his teammates' eyes. He tried to remain positive anyway.
“You could see the droopy faces,” he said, “but some guys were still fighting.”
The Power, who finished 5-13 in a disappointing season a year ago, found out they have a long way to go before they can contend for a title in their third season in the Arena Football League.
The best part of Saturday night was the attendance of 8,390 at Consol Energy Center, better than any crowd the team attracted last season. But the Power — now winless in three consecutive home openers — gave fans little reason to celebrate.
Jordan Jefferson, a former LSU quarterback who made his first start since the 2012 national championship game against Alabama, struggled in his indoor football debut. He fumbled three times, leading to 15 Utah points, and threw two interceptions, robbing his team of momentum during its comeback attempt.
The Power, which trailed, 41-27, at halftime, was scoreless in the second half — a rare occurrence on the AFL's 50-yard field — until Jefferson threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Perry Baker on the last play.
“That's crazy,” Washington said of his team's inability to score.
Coach Derek Stingley was frustrated by what he called “too many unforced errors.” But he wasn't discouraged.
“I told the players in the locker room, ‘Nobody wins championships in Week 1,' ” he said.
The defense improved in the second half, but it allowed Utah to score on its first five possessions of the game.
“That's not like the defenses I coached,” Stingley said.
The Power stayed within striking distance of the lead for a brief time, stopping the Blaze on two consecutive possessions spanning the second and third quarters.
First, Power defensive back Sergio Gilliam intercepted a pass in the end zone on the last play of the first half. The defense also stopped the Blaze from scoring in the third quarter after Utah defensive back David Hyland returned an interception to the Power 22.
But the offense couldn't take advantage of its defense's gifts, and Jefferson threw his second interception on the next Power possession.
Utah defensive back Maurice Leggett returned the theft 33 yards to the Power 13, and Ben Stallings' second short scoring burst pushed the Utah lead to 48-27 with 1:43 left in the third quarter. The Power never threatened again.
Jefferson completed 19 of 34 passes for 196 yards and five touchdowns, including two to Washington and two to Christian Wise, but he was sacked four times.
“I think he did some good, and there was some bad — and the majority of it was protection breakdown,” Stingley said.
Jefferson said he shared some blame for the sacks.
“I have to hold myself accountable, as well,” he said. “We can't put the whole thing on the protection. I have to get the ball out of my hands earlier.”
Jefferson said he wasn't bothered by differences in the indoor game.
“Football is football,” he said. “I've been playing football since I was 6. You still have to throw the ball. You still have to protect the quarterback and rush the passer and get the ball to the receivers.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Elites, media & character
- High risk, reward with 1st-round quarterbacks in NFL Draft
- Rossi: Penguins’ best bet is on Martin
- Pitt AD Barnes has enjoyed varied career in college sports
- From injuries to front office, Penguins’ season didn’t lack drama
- Military draftees ignore Ukraine’s call to arms
- Spirit Airlines lifts fortunes of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport
- Burnett’s stellar start paves way for Pirates’ victory over Diamondbacks
- Penguins president: General manager, coach won’t be fired
- Young defensemen make case for future with Penguins
- Ex-Freeport star dealing with ‘scary’ ailment returns to Mercyhurst baseball team