Veras

History of a Fictional Football League (1986 Postseason: Quarterfinals)

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My predictions for the quarter-finals:

Cincinnati to defeat Minnesota - The Guardians are just too strong.

Colorado to defeat Portland - Tom Blitz will still have a really good game against the Dragons - he will be the difference.

Houston to upset Pittsburgh - the Miners are the better team but I sense Houston causing an upset despite the Hurricanes' dependence on Tom Hudson and possibly because of Krause's lack of evolution in game style even though he is the best ever coach in AFA history.

Miami and Baltimore is a toss-up - I will go with the Suns just because they're at home though I wouldn't be surprised if the Royals win.

 

Good luck to all teams in the AFA quarter-finals!

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Stickman    0

Interesting first round results, Cleveland's early exit does seemingly make Cincinnati's road to repeating a bit easier, of course with this series, that means all of the lower seed will win next round.  

 

I'd like to see a first timer win it too, though other than maybe Baltimore (for their experience in playoff games) I don't see it happening.  My internet money's on Colorado personally.

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Dan O'Mac    192

My picks:
Minnesota (because I can't pick against my Angels)
Colorado
Houston (and puts more questions on aging and legendary Willie Krause's ability to lead a team in current times)
Miami

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Hey, the comets did much better this year! We had the same record as the whales, a team that made the playoffs last year. I'm gonna predict an upset by the Royals in the Victory Bowl

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Veras    428

 

1986 Quarterfinals

Cincinnati vs Minnesota

86r2g1CINvMIN.png.83c16d70c4cbd991109807e72f084bd6.png

Despite coming in under massive pressure, the Angels opened the game calm, cool, and collected.  After receiving the game’s opening kickoff, they marched down the field for a touchdown as QB Tim Kewley took it in himself on a keeper.  The teams traded field goals at the end of the first and beginning of the second, but then Minnesota seized control.

 

They jumped to a 17-3 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by RB Tommy Howard with five minutes remaining in the half.  The Guardians answered well, driving deep into Minnesota territory on the ensuing drive.  However, facing 4th and goal from the 4 yard line, they elected to go for the touchdown rather than take the easy 3 points.  The play almost worked to perfection, as Reggie Hart rolled to his right and delivered a perfect strike to a wide-open Vic Meredith, only to see the superstar tight end bobble and drop the ball.  The Angels managed to use the 1:06 remaining on the clock to set up a 48-yard Martin Jasso field goal, entering halftime with a shocking 20-3 lead.

 

The Guardians offense picked up where they left off, opening the third with another red zone drive.  However, they once again turned the ball over, this time on a pick at the 1 by FS Matt Gazdecki.  Cincinnati DT Andrew Gray was able to make the best of the situation, tackling Howard in the end zone 2 plays later for a safety.  The Guardians offense came back onto the field, and four minutes later, they were finally able to find the end zone as Reggie Hart hit WR Bill Alexander for a 7-yard touchdown pass.  As if that sequence of events wasn’t odd enough, K Loyd Hammond then tripped on the extra point attempt, falling face forward onto his holder in a play that will be on every blooper reel from now until the end of time.

 

The Angels made it a two-touchdown game on their next drive, as Jasso connected on his second field goal of the day, making the score 23-11.

 

Midway through the fourth, Meredith atoned for his earlier drop by taking a short dump off pass 19 yards into the end zone to cut the deficit to 5.  However, Cincinnati didn’t have what it took for the comeback.  The Angels managed to run the clock down to 4:21 before adding another field goal to extend their lead to 8, and the Guardians failed to put up any points.  Their hopes were finally dashed when, with 54 seconds to play, Scott D’Angelico clinched the game with a pick at the Minnesota 40.

 

The 10th seeded Angels are now one win away from the Victory Bowl, while the 1986 Guardians join the 1984 Miners and 1979 Centennials as teams hyped as historically great, only to drop their first postseason game.

COLORADO vs PORTLAND

86r2g2COLvsPOR.png.e96d6be02a8a472331700a21640cad2c.png

The first drive of the game started exactly as most analysts expected.  The Cents got the ball first and repeatedly fed it to Tom Blitz, who ran roughshod over the undersized Dragons front 7.  It wasn’t until Colorado was deep in enemy territory that the Portland defense showed some resolve, forcing a 3rd and 6 from the 22.  Tom Baker took the snap and attempted to hit Blitz in the middle of the field for the first down, but LB Tim King read the play perfectly and dove in front of Blitz for the interception.  The Dragons marched down the field, and less than four minutes later, K.C. Baker hit Curtis Tyre in the corner of the end zone from 9 yards out to put the Dragons on the board first.

 

The rest of the first half was back and forth, as Tom Blitz and Curtis Tyre each played the games of their lives.  Blitz tied the game at 7.  Portland K Doug Shoemaker retook the lead on a 48 yard field goal, but it would hold for just 5 minutes before Colorado’s Drew Summers connected from 47.  Finally, two minutes before the half, Blitz scored again, sending the Cents into the locker room leading 17-10.

 

A pick by LB Paulie May midway through the third set up the Cents deep in Portland territory, and they took advantage, as Blitz recorded his third touchdown of the day.  Their lead then went from 14 to 7 and back to 14 as Curtis Tyre slipped past the Colorado secondary for a 56-yard touchdown reception and Tom Baker scored for the Cents on QB sneak from a few inches out.

 

Colorado held a 31-17 advantage until momentum rapidly shifted with just under 8 minutes to play when hard-hitting safety Steve Thorpe smashed his helmet into Tom Blitz’s wrist, forcing a fumble that the Dragons recovered at their own 37.  It took just over a minute for them to make it into the end zone, with FB Marv Lofton scoring from the 1.

 

Colorado got the ball back, but their offense was unable to get going.  Blitz had suffered a broken wrist on his previous carry, and while he didn’t miss a single snap, he could no longer make effective use of his devastating stiff arm.  Thus, Colorado’s usually clock-killing offense was twice forced to punt.  Still, as the game’s final minute came, the Dragons trailed by 7.

 

The fourth quarter came to a dramatic close, as Portland had the ball at the Colorado 10 with 3 seconds on the clock.  K.C. Baker took the snap, stepped forward to avoid a blitzing Bob Jonas, and then rolled to the left as LE Mark Nymeyer flushed him out of the pocket.  He attempted a desperate, off balance throw to Thomas McLaurin, who managed to make the catch and drag his toes in the end zone.  The extra point tied the score at 31, forcing overtime.

 

With Tom Blitz not at his best, the Cents offense looked awful in the extra period, and it was only a matter of time before the Dragons scored.  With just over 9 minutes to play, Curtis Tyre beat CB Mel Spencer and made a reception near midfield.  He dodged Spencer’s tackle, and advanced all the way to the 21 yard line before being forced out of bounds.  Doug Shoemaker came onto the field and knocked the ball through the uprights, sending the Dragons to the semifinals for the second time in team history.

MIAMI vs BALTIMORE

86r2g3MIAvsBAL.png.699f87ade441a30fe8009bfbb2b041a7.png

The general consensus going into the game was that Miami was the more talented team, while Baltimore had more experience.  It didn’t take long for the Suns to start choking.  The first points of the day came after Baltimore was able to pin the Suns inside their own 10 yard line with a punt.  Then, on 2nd and 8, the offensive line errored so badly that it was difficult to say who, specifically made the mistake.  The end result was that star RE Joe Oldham came through the line untouched, slamming into QB Bob Obradovic and RB Dick Elston as they attempted a handoff.  The ball shot back toward the goal line.  DT Mike Young scooped it up at the 4 and lumbered into the end zone.

 

The Royals would add a pair of field goals to their total before Miami managed to erase the goose egg on their scoreboard with a field goal of their own 5 and a half minutes before the half.  Even a miss from 45 yards by Baltimore K Steve MacQueen in the waning seconds of the quarter couldn’t dampen their spirits, and the Royals entered the locker room with a 17-3 lead, and nursing a great deal of confidence (despite the fact that their offense had yet to score a touchdown).

 

The second half was dominated by the defenses.  Ten minutes into the third, the Royals gave MacQueen a second shot at a 45 yard field goal, but where the first one had been wide right, this time he missed to the left (he would finally connect on a chip shot at the beginning of the 4th quarter after the offense came up inches short of the end zone).  Other than that, the only thing of note in the second half was a pair of interceptions thrown by Obradovic.

 

With the easy win, the Royals will head to the semifinals for the third time in four years, and are hoping to break through and earn their first Victory Bowl berth since 1949.

PITTSBURGH vs HOUSTON

86r2g4PITvsHOU.png.6cff865d2b8b82f4dfb8837cc6f663e8.png

Where Miami’s young, inexperienced team looked entirely out of their depth, Houston’s young, inexperienced team played like they were too naïve to know that they didn’t have a chance at winning.

 

The Hurricanes got the ball first, and it took less than three minutes for Tom Hudson to find WR Doug Quinn (a former Miner) for a 13-yard touchdown.  The ensuing Pittsburgh drive ended when Rob Connery underthrew Rod Kirby (a former Hurricane, who was, in fact, traded for Quinn), allowing an easy pick by CB Myron Slaughter.  Houston was able to convert the turnover into points two minutes later on one of the luckiest plays in AFA history.  Pittsburgh LB Russ Osborne blitzed up the middle on the play, and rapidly advanced into the backfield after dodging an attempted low block by LG Rick Smith.  He met RB Tom Cotten a yard behind the line of scrimmage, hitting him with enough force to jar the ball loose.  Cotten and Osborne both tried to grab the ball before it hit the ground, which resulted in it being knocked forward through the air a few yards, where it landed on the lap of Rick Smith in the end zone.  And with that, it was 14-0 Hurricanes.

 

They would add a field goal near the end of the first, and then a Cotten touchdown run early in the second, putting up 24 unanswered points to start the game.  Meanwhile, Rob Connery had looked awful, throwing for just 55 yards and 2 interceptions (one of which was admittedly not his fault).

 

Pittsburgh was able to start turning the tide before the half, however, when Connery found rookie wideout Joe Wise in the end zone with 3 seconds left.  The score held at 24-7 through the first 12 minutes of the third quarter, until Rob Connery dumped the ball off to RB Jeff Johnston, who scampered 7 yards into the end zone to pull the Miners to within 10.

 

Houston bounced back, however, putting the score at 27-14 with a 42 yard field goal early in the final quarter.  The Miners’ offensive woes then reappeared, and as time wore on, it looked as though Houston would pull off the upset.  Pittsburgh finally got back into the end zone with 1:48 to play on 4th and 3 from the 10.  TE Mike Howell caught the ball along the sideline at the 5 for the first down, and caught the defense napping as they failed to force him out.

 

This set up a dramatic onside kick, on which Houston’s Don Tackett tried to play the ball too early.  He touched it, but did not gain control, allowing the Miners to recover.  One minute and twenty seconds later, Connery hit Kirby in the back of the end zone to give Pittsburgh a 28-27 lead.  The Hurricanes had 22 seconds to work with, and couldn’t get it done.  After overcoming a 24-0 deficit for the comeback, the Miners are back in the semifinals for the first time in 8 years.

 

1986_postseason_bracket_by_verasthebruja

 

AFA Magazine Semifinal Previews

 

Pittsburgh Miners vs Minnesota Angels

 

Picking the winner in this game puts two competing principles against one another:  don’t bet against Willie Krause, and don’t bet against the team that has knocked out the last two Victory Bowl champs in two weeks.  The Miners have the better record and will get to host the game, but they escaped an inferior opponent by the skin of their teeth, while the Angels took down a Guardians squad that many thought was the best ever.  Both teams have a lot to play for.  Rob Connery and Lee Thomas are both nearing the end of their careers, and their teammates want to send them off with a ring.  Minnesota looks like a team on a mission – Angels win 24-21.

 

Baltimore Royals vs Portland Dragons

 

If you were to play out the 1986 season ten times, the Royals would probably have the better record eight or nine times.  That being said, when these two teams go head to head, it is a very good matchup for the Dragons.  Baltimore is among the league’s best at shutting down the run and disrupting the short passing game.  However, their secondary just doesn’t match up well against Portland’s star wideouts.  The teams have already met in Baltimore once this year, and the Dragons came away with a 23-20 overtime win.  Look for them to repeat the performance, and punch their first ever ticket to the Victory Bowl.  Dragons, 27-21.  Of course, this is the third week in a row that we’ve picked against Baltimore and they keep winning, so what do we know?

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Zandandido    2

Cincy got upset! The bloody defending champs. Even though my Grizz aren't in the playoffs. I'm rooting for Portland or Minnesota.

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Red Comet    35

No matter who wins, it'll be an aging dynasty looking for one last shot at glory going off against an upstart franchise looking to prove it belongs.

 

I'm thinking Angels-Royals and like the 2014 ALDS, the Royals shock the Angels.

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Veras    428
On 9/11/2017 at 10:56 PM, Zandandido said:

How does the Grizzlies' offseason look?

They'll definitely work to build the offense.  They actually still have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball, but their offense is a joke.  QB Rick Ivery has been a tremendous disappointment, and has been basically useless except for the year he took over for Connery.  RB Chuck Keil has been decent, but he's 28 and the team may try to trade him off for more draft capital.  Pretty much the only bright spot is WR Kirk Joseph, who had a tremendous rookie season.

 

They're in the middle of the pack in the draft, so it's difficult to predict who, specifically they will take, but they need the most help at offensive line.

 

On 9/12/2017 at 8:21 PM, Red Comet said:

6 of the last 7 Victory Bowl Champions wore some shade of blue as their main color, 5 out of 78 teams left in the playoffs have some shade of blue as the main color in their uniform. 

 

Looks like the trend is likely to continue unless we somehow get a Portland-Pittsburgh (or Baltimore) Victory Bowl. And I don't see Cincinnati going down to anyone, but Minnesota will be a fight. Again, though, Guardians win. 

 

Colorado's lucky white streak ends from a blistering aerial attack from the Dragons. 

 

Connery finally gets the monkey off his back as the Hurricanes get rocked. 

 

Miami juuuust gets past Baltimore. Really is a toss-up game. 

 

EDIT: Wow, totally forgot how to count or I was unconsciously referring to ancient meme by saying 5 of out 7. Also, forgot about Baltimore. 

Yeah, it's been a string of blue Victory Bowls, especially if you consider that Cleveland's purple is really just blue with some red in it.  The color streak that I consider more interesting, though, is the lack of champions with red as a primary color.  Red teams won 6 of the first 7, but have only picked up one title since then, and that was the 11th Victory Bowl.  Making it even crazier is the fact that 5 of those 7 titles were won while wearing a white jersey.  Only the 1951 Butchers and 1952 Comets have won a title wearing red.

 

Solid predictions, though.  2-2, but you gave Minnesota a fighting chance.  You were only really off on the Miami/Baltimore matchup.

 

On 9/13/2017 at 6:06 AM, Stickman said:

Interesting first round results, Cleveland's early exit does seemingly make Cincinnati's road to repeating a bit easier, of course with this series, that means all of the lower seed will win next round.  

 

I'd like to see a first timer win it too, though other than maybe Baltimore (for their experience in playoff games) I don't see it happening.  My internet money's on Colorado personally.

No kidding on the lower seeds always seeming to win.  The 1976 Miners are the only top-seeded team to win a title since the Grizzlies did it in 1970.  That's a pretty improbable streak.

 

4 minutes ago, Red Comet said:

No matter who wins, it'll be an aging dynasty looking for one last shot at glory going off against an upstart franchise looking to prove it belongs.

 

I'm thinking Angels-Royals and like the 2014 ALDS, the Royals shock the Angels.

I made a similar observation - this is going to feature a historically great franchise against a historically unsuccessful one.  The Miners and Angels are both founding members of the league, and at least one of the two franchises have played in 15 different Victory Bowls (40%).  The Royals and Dragons have one appearance between them, which came in 1949, when the Willie Krause's Richmond Royals were upset by the Pittsburgh Miners.  To put that in perspective - the two teams in the early semifinals game have played one another in the Victory Bowl as many times as the two teams in the late game have been to the title game combined.

 

I think it's a safe bet that most AFA fans will be rooting for either Baltimore or Portland to topple a giant on February 1.

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1 hour ago, Veras said:

 

1986 Quarterfinals

Cincinnati vs Minnesota

86r2g1CINvMIN.png.83c16d70c4cbd991109807e72f084bd6.png

Despite coming in under massive pressure, the Angels opened the game calm, cool, and collected.  After receiving the game’s opening kickoff, they marched down the field for a touchdown as QB Tim Kewley took it in himself on a keeper.  The teams traded field goals at the end of the first and beginning of the second, but then Minnesota seized control.

 

They jumped to a 17-3 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by RB Tommy Howard with five minutes remaining in the half.  The Guardians answered well, driving deep into Minnesota territory on the ensuing drive.  However, facing 4th and goal from the 4 yard line, they elected to go for the touchdown rather than take the easy 3 points.  The play almost worked to perfection, as Reggie Hart rolled to his right and delivered a perfect strike to a wide-open Vic Meredith, only to see the superstar tight end bobble and drop the ball.  The Angels managed to use the 1:06 remaining on the clock to set up a 48-yard Martin Jasso field goal, entering halftime with a shocking 20-3 lead.

 

The Guardians offense picked up where they left off, opening the third with another red zone drive.  However, they once again turned the ball over, this time on a pick at the 1 by FS Matt Gazdecki.  Cincinnati DT Andrew Gray was able to make the best of the situation, tackling Howard in the end zone 2 plays later for a safety.  The Guardians offense came back onto the field, and four minutes later, they were finally able to find the end zone as Reggie Hart hit WR Bill Alexander for a 7-yard touchdown pass.  As if that sequence of events wasn’t odd enough, K Loyd Hammond then tripped on the extra point attempt, falling face forward onto his holder in a play that will be on every blooper reel from now until the end of time.

 

The Angels made it a two-touchdown game on their next drive, as Jasso connected on his second field goal of the day, making the score 23-11.

 

Midway through the fourth, Meredith atoned for his earlier drop by taking a short dump off pass 19 yards into the end zone to cut the deficit to 5.  However, Cincinnati didn’t have what it took for the comeback.  The Angels managed to run the clock down to 4:21 before adding another field goal to extend their lead to 8, and the Guardians failed to put up any points.  Their hopes were finally dashed when, with 54 seconds to play, Scott D’Angelico clinched the game with a pick at the Minnesota 40.

 

The 10th seeded Angels are now one win away from the Victory Bowl, while the 1986 Guardians join the 1984 Miners and 1979 Centennials as teams hyped as historically great, only to drop their first postseason game.

COLORADO vs PORTLAND

86r2g2COLvsPOR.png.e96d6be02a8a472331700a21640cad2c.png

The first drive of the game started exactly as most analysts expected.  The Cents got the ball first and repeatedly fed it to Tom Blitz, who ran roughshod over the undersized Dragons front 7.  It wasn’t until Colorado was deep in enemy territory that the Portland defense showed some resolve, forcing a 3rd and 6 from the 22.  Tom Baker took the snap and attempted to hit Blitz in the middle of the field for the first down, but LB Tim King read the play perfectly and dove in front of Blitz for the interception.  The Dragons marched down the field, and less than four minutes later, K.C. Baker hit Curtis Tyre in the corner of the end zone from 9 yards out to put the Dragons on the board first.

 

The rest of the first half was back and forth, as Tom Blitz and Curtis Tyre each played the games of their lives.  Blitz tied the game at 7.  Portland K Doug Shoemaker retook the lead on a 48 yard field goal, but it would hold for just 5 minutes before Colorado’s Drew Summers connected from 47.  Finally, two minutes before the half, Blitz scored again, sending the Cents into the locker room leading 17-10.

 

A pick by LB Paulie May midway through the third set up the Cents deep in Portland territory, and they took advantage, as Blitz recorded his third touchdown of the day.  Their lead then went from 14 to 7 and back to 14 as Curtis Tyre slipped past the Colorado secondary for a 56-yard touchdown reception and Tom Baker scored for the Cents on QB sneak from a few inches out.

 

Colorado held a 31-17 advantage until momentum rapidly shifted with just under 8 minutes to play when hard-hitting safety Steve Thorpe smashed his helmet into Tom Blitz’s wrist, forcing a fumble that the Dragons recovered at their own 37.  It took just over a minute for them to make it into the end zone, with FB Marv Lofton scoring from the 1.

 

Colorado got the ball back, but their offense was unable to get going.  Blitz had suffered a broken wrist on his previous carry, and while he didn’t miss a single snap, he could no longer make effective use of his devastating stiff arm.  Thus, Colorado’s usually clock-killing offense was twice forced to punt.  Still, as the game’s final minute came, the Dragons trailed by 7.

 

The fourth quarter came to a dramatic close, as Portland had the ball at the Colorado 10 with 3 seconds on the clock.  K.C. Baker took the snap, stepped forward to avoid a blitzing Bob Jonas, and then rolled to the left as LE Mark Nymeyer flushed him out of the pocket.  He attempted a desperate, off balance throw to Thomas McLaurin, who managed to make the catch and drag his toes in the end zone.  The extra point tied the score at 31, forcing overtime.

 

With Tom Blitz not at his best, the Cents offense looked awful in the extra period, and it was only a matter of time before the Dragons scored.  With just over 9 minutes to play, Curtis Tyre beat CB Mel Spencer and made a reception near midfield.  He dodged Spencer’s tackle, and advanced all the way to the 21 yard line before being forced out of bounds.  Doug Shoemaker came onto the field and knocked the ball through the uprights, sending the Dragons to the semifinals for the second time in team history.

MIAMI vs BALTIMORE

86r2g3MIAvsBAL.png.699f87ade441a30fe8009bfbb2b041a7.png

The general consensus going into the game was that Miami was the more talented team, while Baltimore had more experience.  It didn’t take long for the Suns to start choking.  The first points of the day came after Baltimore was able to pin the Suns inside their own 10 yard line with a punt.  Then, on 2nd and 8, the offensive line errored so badly that it was difficult to say who, specifically made the mistake.  The end result was that star RE Joe Oldham came through the line untouched, slamming into QB Bob Obradovic and RB Dick Elston as they attempted a handoff.  The ball shot back toward the goal line.  DT Mike Young scooped it up at the 4 and lumbered into the end zone.

 

The Royals would add a pair of field goals to their total before Miami managed to erase the goose egg on their scoreboard with a field goal of their own 5 and a half minutes before the half.  Even a miss from 45 yards by Baltimore K Steve MacQueen in the waning seconds of the quarter couldn’t dampen their spirits, and the Royals entered the locker room with a 17-3 lead, and nursing a great deal of confidence (despite the fact that their offense had yet to score a touchdown).

 

The second half was dominated by the defenses.  Ten minutes into the third, the Royals gave MacQueen a second shot at a 45 yard field goal, but where the first one had been wide right, this time he missed to the left (he would finally connect on a chip shot at the beginning of the 4th quarter after the offense came up inches short of the end zone).  Other than that, the only thing of note in the second half was a pair of interceptions thrown by Obradovic.

 

With the easy win, the Royals will head to the semifinals for the third time in four years, and are hoping to break through and earn their first Victory Bowl berth since 1949.

PITTSBURGH vs HOUSTON

86r2g4PITvsHOU.png.6cff865d2b8b82f4dfb8837cc6f663e8.png

Where Miami’s young, inexperienced team looked entirely out of their depth, Houston’s young, inexperienced team played like they were too naïve to know that they didn’t have a chance at winning.

 

The Hurricanes got the ball first, and it took less than three minutes for Tom Hudson to find WR Doug Quinn (a former Miner) for a 13-yard touchdown.  The ensuing Pittsburgh drive ended when Rob Connery underthrew Rod Kirby (a former Hurricane, who was, in fact, traded for Quinn), allowing an easy pick by CB Myron Slaughter.  Houston was able to convert the turnover into points two minutes later on one of the luckiest plays in AFA history.  Pittsburgh LB Russ Osborne blitzed up the middle on the play, and rapidly advanced into the backfield after dodging an attempted low block by LG Rick Smith.  He met RB Tom Cotten a yard behind the line of scrimmage, hitting him with enough force to jar the ball loose.  Cotten and Osborne both tried to grab the ball before it hit the ground, which resulted in it being knocked forward through the air a few yards, where it landed on the lap of Rick Smith in the end zone.  And with that, it was 14-0 Hurricanes.

 

They would add a field goal near the end of the first, and then a Cotten touchdown run early in the second, putting up 24 unanswered points to start the game.  Meanwhile, Rob Connery had looked awful, throwing for just 55 yards and 2 interceptions (one of which was admittedly not his fault).

 

Pittsburgh was able to start turning the tide before the half, however, when Connery found rookie wideout Joe Wise in the end zone with 3 seconds left.  The score held at 24-7 through the first 12 minutes of the third quarter, until Rob Connery dumped the ball off to RB Jeff Johnston, who scampered 7 yards into the end zone to pull the Miners to within 10.

 

Houston bounced back, however, putting the score at 27-14 with a 42 yard field goal early in the final quarter.  The Miners’ offensive woes then reappeared, and as time wore on, it looked as though Houston would pull off the upset.  Pittsburgh finally got back into the end zone with 1:48 to play on 4th and 3 from the 10.  TE Mike Howell caught the ball along the sideline at the 5 for the first down, and caught the defense napping as they failed to force him out.

 

This set up a dramatic onside kick, on which Houston’s Don Tackett tried to play the ball too early.  He touched it, but did not gain control, allowing the Miners to recover.  One minute and twenty seconds later, Connery hit Kirby in the back of the end zone to give Pittsburgh a 28-27 lead.  The Hurricanes had 22 seconds to work with, and couldn’t get it done.  After overcoming a 24-0 deficit for the comeback, the Miners are back in the semifinals for the first time in 8 years.

 

1986_postseason_bracket_by_verasthebruja

 

AFA Magazine Semifinal Previews

 

Pittsburgh Miners vs Minnesota Angels

 

Picking the winner in this game puts two competing principles against one another:  don’t bet against Willie Krause, and don’t bet against the team that has knocked out the last two Victory Bowl champs in two weeks.  The Miners have the better record and will get to host the game, but they escaped an inferior opponent by the skin of their teeth, while the Angels took down a Guardians squad that many thought was the best ever.  Both teams have a lot to play for.  Rob Connery and Lee Thomas are both nearing the end of their careers, and their teammates want to send them off with a ring.  Minnesota looks like a team on a mission – Angels win 24-21.

 

Baltimore Royals vs Portland Dragons

 

If you were to play out the 1986 season ten times, the Royals would probably have the better record eight or nine times.  That being said, when these two teams go head to head, it is a very good matchup for the Dragons.  Baltimore is among the league’s best at shutting down the run and disrupting the short passing game.  However, their secondary just doesn’t match up well against Portland’s star wideouts.  The teams have already met in Baltimore once this year, and the Dragons came away with a 23-20 overtime win.  Look for them to repeat the performance, and punch their first ever ticket to the Victory Bowl.  Dragons, 27-21.  Of course, this is the third week in a row that we’ve picked against Baltimore and they keep winning, so what do we know?

The Colorado/Portland game is what happens when you entire strategy is focused on one man.

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rjrrzube    15
1 hour ago, Veras said:

The teams traded field goals at the end of the first and beginning of the second, but then Minnesota seized control.

I think you mean at the end of the first half. 

 

Wow, upsets galore. I like it. I want the Dragons to win and stave off relocation talk. That's (almost) what happened to the Bills. Getting to the SB pretty much kept them in Buffalo. Nevermind that they lost. 

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Veras    428
57 minutes ago, nick_crenshaw82 said:

The Colorado/Portland game is what happens when you entire strategy is focused on one man.

Yeah, though they don't really have much of a choice.  They're getting more out of Tom Baker at QB than they have from John Vessey or Frankie Farragut over the past few years, and rookie wideout Keith Williams looks like he could be the first viable receiving threat that the team has had since Danny St. Mark was in his prime, but that isn't a high mark for Baker and Williams is still just above average.  Even playing behind a strong O-line, the Cents just don't have that many other weapons.

 

48 minutes ago, rjrrzube said:
2 hours ago, Veras said:

The teams traded field goals at the end of the first and beginning of the second, but then Minnesota seized control.

I think you mean at the end of the first half. 

 

Wow, upsets galore. I like it. I want the Dragons to win and stave off relocation talk. That's (almost) what happened to the Bills. Getting to the SB pretty much kept them in Buffalo. Nevermind that they lost. 

No, it was the end of the fist and beginning of the second quarter.  FG MIN - 41 yards by Jasso (3:43) in the first and FG CIN - 23 yards by Hammond (13:45) in the second.

 

Portland is also safe from relocation, as long as the city comes through on the new stadium.

 

16 minutes ago, Cardsblues02 said:

Choke, Guardians, Choke...

They got too cocky.  They went through the entire season without ever seriously being challenged, and then they fell apart when they had to play a game that mattered.

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Wow Chokeinatti is back already...hopefully the team'll stay together and they can bounce back next year, but wow. Congrats to the Angels. 

 

Looking forward to Detroit's offseason. Hoping for a turnaround soon.

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I'm predicting a Pittsburgh-Portland Victory Bowl, with Portland pulling out a win. It'll be out of nowhere, it'll be isolated (ala Chicago Bears), and my team will fail to repeat the return to the big game for decades. 

 

But we'll always have the Dragon Dance (which I'm sure is big on late night TV). 

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My predictions for the quarter-finals drew a big blank - 0/4 were correct

 

And Veras, I have a query:

Do you have files for the team anniversary logos (as shown with the Miami Suns here)?

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