GREENWICH, CT – This weekend was full of surprises, well that is unless you saw my prediction last week. Let’s break it down by the numbers.
Take a quick look at this Handy-Dandy [tm] Glossary before continuing:
- Average Penalty Points (APP) – Number of times points are scored off of penalties in the attacking half of the field divided by total penalties awarded in attacking side
- Defensive Hold Average (DHA) – Number of times a team repels its opponent within it’s own 22 meter divided by the number of times opponent enters within 22 meter line.
- Red Zone Point Average (RPA) – Number of times a team gets points when it goes inside the 22 meter line divided by the number of time that team is inside the 22 meter line.
- Attacking Plays – Offloads plus line breaks plus runs >20 meters
- Penalty Difference – Penalties awarded divided by penalties conceded
- Turnovers – Times the ball changes possession not including penalties. Ex. counter ruck, interception, stolen lineout, etc.
In the first game of the weekend, San Francisco was able to upset come of a two week recess and continue its momentum it had after beating Ohio in its last game. Statistically speaking, the Rush played a solid, but not an exceptional match. On offense, Denver had a respectable 29% RPA, and while in did not score on the majority of it’s opportunities, all it needed was it’s three tries to secure the victory. In fact the rush only had possession for 30% of the match. The main statistical highlight was the Rush’s 75% DHA. San Francisco was able to hold back the Breakers from touching the ball down until the second half but the league point leader, Kurt Morath, was 3/4 for kicks. His boot has been at the center of the Breakers offensive strategy, but on the flip side that has prevented San Diego from taking more risks and going for tries which might have made the difference in this weeks 24-19 loss and the match two weeks ago where Denver won by one point.
The biggest game of the week was the face off between Ohio and Denver. The Aviators were able to win in a convincing fashion 48-27. Ohio performed well statistically by registering 55% in RPA and possession time. The Aviators were also able to rack up 12 attacking plays and including five runs of 20 meters or more.
The victory was a team effort with all six tries coming from all different players. Defensively, the Aviators had a respectable 55% DHA. For the Stampede it looked like its players could not get momentum going until the second half when they scored their first of three tries. With only a 36% DHA, Denver was unable to contain Ohio’s multi-headed attack. Turnovers also stood out. Ohio only conceded 4 while Denver conceded 10. Potential scoring opportunities went to waste for Denver, as it couldn’t always maintain possession of the ball.
Next week Sacramento goes out to Denver and Ohio hosts San Francisco. Sacramento is coming off of a three-week break where its last finish was a 44-23 loss to San Diego. Sacramento struggled with penalties (-8 penalty differential the previous game) and a lack of efficiency at
offense 30% APP and RPA.
Denver sits atop the leaderboard and Sacramento at the very bottom so I’m calling a comfortable Denver victory. The Aviator versus Rush match will be interesting as both teams are riding a wave of momentum. Ohio last game was firing on all cylinders and if it can continue its high RPA and strong DHA should be able to defeat a San Francisco side that, despite its victory, does not look that consistent statistically (33% DHA and 44% APP two games ago and 75% DHA and 20% APP last game). The Aviators should be able to fly by the competition this weekend.
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Check out Ronan Nelson’s interviews with Mils Mulianina and Ryan Matyas.