In the rapid, unpredictable tempo of the Arena Football League, an undefeated team can only maintain their status for so long.
With bad blood still running from the 2010 season, the Arizona Rattlers traveled to Spokane, Washington to battle with the division-rival Shock. It was the third week in a row the Rattlers had to battle a back-and-forth game.
In 2010 the Rattlers could not prevail against the Shock in their two regular-season meetings or in their playoff encounter. This led to a rivalry that was played out in a slugfest on the field tonight.
The Rattlers traveled to Spokane with Rod Windsor, who must have been cleared to play by the Cleveland Browns while the lockout troubles still have to be determined. He didn’t miss a step while hauling catches and touchdowns, bringing the needed points to maintain pace with the blitzkrieg led by Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley.
With Rowley passing at his pleasure, the only thing the Rattlers defense could do was get multiple pass interference calls in the end zone, as they were easily beaten in the race by the Spokane receiving corps.
With 1:30 left in the third quarter, an-ill fated Oddie Armstrong fumble recovered by the Shock defense at the Rattlers 5-yard line left the Shock to control the pace of the game going into the fourth quarter.
The Shock began the fourth quarter with a seven-point lead and possession of the ball. It only took a few seconds for the Shock to grab a 14-point lead.
After a long fourth quarter for the Rattlers plagued with flags and mistakes, it came down to just over 2:30 on the clock and the Shock with a lead of seven points. The Rattlers attempted an onside kick, but lost it to Raul Vijil, who took the ball well before it could make it 10 yards and he marched into the end zone to lead the Rattlers by 14 points with two minutes left in the game.
Arizona has overcome some big deficits this season, and when they reached the one-minute warning down by two touchdowns, it was still in the Rattlers' reach to execute a come-from-behind victory.
They began their attempt with Rod Windsor pulling down a touchdown with 52 seconds on the clock. The Rattlers followed by recovering their first onside kick of the season. Nick Davila and his receivers were able to drive the ball to the Shock 10-yard line.
In a 4th-and-4 situation, the Rattlers were about to lose the game on downs but were revived by a flag against Spokane. A short touchdown run by Oddie Armstrong brought the Rattlers within one point.
Head coach Kevin Guy wanted the win and called for a two-point conversion, but Nick Davila could not connect with Trandon Harvey, leaving 11.9 seconds on the clock.
With 8.5 seconds left, the Rattlers recovered a second onside kick. After a failed reception, the Rattlers called for their field-goal team with 4.5 seconds left. Fabrizio Scaccia, on loan from the 49ers, who had been hot all night, had his kick blocked because of a high snap.
The game and the Rattlers' perfect season ended after they brought the game to within one point. The Rattlers now have four straight losses against the Shock in the last two seasons.
With the Shock traveling to Phoenix on July 2, there will definitely be fireworks that weekend, as the chip on the Rattlers’ shoulder just got heavier.