The SWARCO Raiders Talib Wise (4) leaps over a defender en route to the end zone. Photo by Schellhorn.
- Raiders Auf Deutsch
The SWARCO Raiders winning streak came to an end. In week 4 of the 2011 Austrian Football League (AFL) season the marketing teammate of The Oakland Raiders lost their first game of the year, falling 28-24 (0-0; 10-14; 7-7; 7-7) in a close game to the Raiffeisen Vikings at Vienna.
"Today we made enough mistakes for two games and still had the chance to win the game in the end," said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "Our offense had problems finding its rhythm today and our defense was on the field too often."
Reliable as always was the play of WR Talib Wise. He caught 12 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. He also had two rushes for 14 yards and a score. In addition Wise gained 124 yards on returns. Despite his numbers Wise was disappointed. "We started slow and needed some time to get going," he said. "We made too many mental errors, which you can't do against a team like the Vikings."
QB Kyle Callahan completed 19 of 30 passes for 267 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. RB Florian Grein gained 52 yards on 9 carries. WR Pascal Maier had 3 catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. WR Jakob Dieplinger hauled in 3 balls for 59 yards.
The SWARCO Raiders defense allowed only 246 total yards to the Vikings and held QB Christoph Gross, the AFL's best signal caller to date, to 127 passing yards.
Both teams started nervous. Vienna punted on the opening possession and the Tyroleans gave the ball right back when Callahan's first pass was picked off. After another Vienna punt the SWARCO Raiders got the ball at their own 14. On third down Callahan threw a 33-yard pass to Wise. Next Grein ran 25 yards to the Vikings 30. The drive stalled at the 26 and K Christian Kellner's 43-yard field goal try was short.
The Vikings relied on RB Tony Hunt and the former Philadelphia Eagle gained two consecutive first downs. An 18-yard pass from Gross to WR Timothee Bach gave Vienna a first down at the Tyroleans 27. With the first play of the second quarter Hunt scored on a 7-yard touchdown run. The PAT gave Vienna a 7-0 lead.
After a good kickoff return by Wise the SWARCO Raiders started their next series at their 35. A pitch from Callahan to Wise gained 18 yards and a penalty against Vienna added 15 yards. Then Wise caught a 19-yard pass. The drive ended with Kellner's 26-yard field goal with 8:52 left in the second quarter. Vienna lead 7-3.
After a Vienna punt it was their defense that came up with a big play. On first down from the SWARCO Raiders 30 Callahan lost the ball and DE Brandon Collier recovered the fumble and rumbled 30 yards for the score. The PAT was good and gave the Vikings a 14-3 lead with 3:54 left in the second quarter.
The SWARCO Raiders tried a fake punt on their next possession, but failed. Their defense bailed them out, forcing Vienna to punt, too. With 80 seconds left in the first half the Tyrloeans got the ball back at their own 11. Callahan opened the drive with a 28-yard pass to Wise. After a 5-yard penalty moved the ball back, he connected with Dieplinger for a 42-yard gain. On the very next play Callahan threw a short pass to Wise who sprinted down the right sideline, then hurdled a defender on the way to the endzone. The 24-yard touchdown pass cut the Vikings lead to 14-10 at the half.
The second half started with a bang. Starting at their own 35-yard line Callahan gained 33 yards on a keeper. On the second play of the drive he threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Maier. The extra point was good and the Tyroleans had their first lead of the afternoon, leading 17-14 with 11:12 minutes left in the third.
Vienna wasn't shocked at all. After a good kickoff return Gross opened the drive with a 31-yard pass to Bach. Later he found Bach again, this time for 32 yards at the SWARCO Raiders 3-yard line. Moments later RB Josiah Cravalho scored on a 1-yard touchdown run that gave Vienna a 21-17 lead with 7:37 left in the third.
The following SWARCO Raiders drive ended with a turnover when Callahan and Grein mishandled a hand off and the Vikings recovered the ball at the opposing 30-yard line. Again the defense stepped up, allowing only a field goal try. Then the special teams blocked the 42-yard kick.
Starting at their own 24-yard line two pitches from Callahan to Wise gained 16 yards. Then Callahan threw a 10-yard pass to Wise. On the next play Grein sprinted 27 yard to the Vikings 23-yard line. On third down from the Vienna 27 Callahan found Wise again, this time for 14 yards. A penalty against Vienna gave the SWARCO Raiders a first down at the 6-yard line. The Tyroleans finished off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run from Wise, who leaped into the endzone. After the PAT the SWARCO Raiders were back in front, leading 24-21 with 11:54 left in the fourth.
The Vikings had to punt on their next drive. Then the Tyroleans also were forced to punt. But a low snap allowed Vienna to tackle Maier before he could get the ball off. Vienna took over at the SWARCO Raiders 27. Moments later RB Florian Hess scored from 1 yard out. The extra point gave the Vikings a 28-24 lead with 7:08 left in the fourth.
Wise returned the kickoff to the Vikings 43-yard line. On third and long Callahan tried to connect with Maier, who leaped to catch the ball. Unfortunately he couldn't control the ball, which bounced off his chest right into the arms of DB Peter Tutsch. He returned it to the Vikings 34. The SWARCO Raiders defense forced one more punt, but their offense couldn't turn things around one more time. Callahan's last throw ended up on the ground.
The SWARCO Raiders have a bye-week on the Easter Holidays. They host the Danube Dragons on May 1 in an Austrian Bowl re-match.