Power dealt historic loss in televised game
Neither the lure of national television nor co-owner Lynn Swann's pre-game assertion to season-ticket holders that the team is here to stay could motivate the Power on Saturday night.
The Power, playing in front of the second-largest crowd of the season at Consol Energy Center (7,132) and a cable TV audience, stretched their losing streak to seven and fell to 3-13 in a historic 78-20 loss to the San Jose SaberCats.
The margin of victory was an Arena Football League record for a road team and the third-largest in history.
“We could have lost by one, and it would have been bad,” coach Derek Stingley said.
Sloppy, inattentive play plagued the Power in their final home game of the season, allowing the SaberCats (12-4) to score touchdowns on their first eight possessions.
San Jose kicker Nick Pertuit recovered his own onside kick after the first score. An errant pitchout by Power quarterback Shane Austin led to the third.
Austin also threw interceptions on consecutive possessions, and the SaberCats quickly turned them into two more scores.And that was only in the first half.
Stingley insisted his players didn't quit, but he admitted the loss was “somewhat embarrassing.”
“We can't allow just the play call to make the play successful,” he said. “As a player, you have to make the play successful.”
During the game, Swann said in an interview with CBS Sports Network that he hopes Stingley remains with the team for “a long time.” The Power is 6-18 since Stingley replaced fired coach Chris Siegfried last season.
Austin started his first game this season in place of Steven Sheffield, who suffered a concussion June 29 and aggravated it last week in Cleveland. Doctors didn't clear him to play Saturday.
Meanwhile, Austin and backup Derek Cassidy were sacked eight times. Austin often was out of sync with his receivers, throwing behind or too far for Mike Washington three times in the first half. On another attempt, the football simply slipped out of Austin's hands while he dropped back to pass.
Overall, Austin, the team's 12th starting quarterback in three seasons, completed 21 of 42 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns, both to Washington, who was double-teamed throughout the game.
When Austin's third interception was returned 49 yards for a touchdown by Clevan Thomas in the fourth quarter, he was benched.