March 23, 2008


Dennis Crowley (SEATTLE) - 1st back to back Super Bowl Winner in USFFL History

Opponent: Tony DiNardo (INDIANAPOLIS)

Wow. That's all I can say after this one. A great back and forth battle that came down to the end. This writeup will fall short of the drama, but I will do my best. The Colts got the ball first. And they were able to drive to midfield. But facing a 4th and 1 at the 50-yard line. The Colts punted it away. The Seahawks went three and out and also lost starting guard Chris Gray in the process. The Colts second possesion was a nice march right down the field. Ten plays and 69 yards ending in a seven-yard TD strike to Reggie Wayne. Tony caught me with some short gains against my 3-3-5 defense (as I was doing my best to stop Peyton Manning. I also left a few flat zones open and Tony again made me pay.

I got the ball back and also put a good drive together, but the drive stalled at the 13-yard line and Josh Brown shanked a short field goal. Also the Colts lost starting DT Anthony McFarland for the rest of the first half at the end of the drive. Score after 1st Qtr: Colts 7 - Seahawks 0 Reggie Wayne dives for the end zone to put the Colts up 7-0.

The Colts took over after the missed field goal and looked ready to put the Seahawks in an early hole. But the Seahawks secondary stepped up and SS-Michael Boulware picked off Peyton Manning to stop the drive. This was despite the played being guessed wrong and only three men in the short zone. The pick came off a split roll of 3. (2-4, 12 INT, 5-11 INC). The Seahawks took over on the 45 but on second and five from the Seahawks 40-yard line Dwight Freeney came up with a big sack to make it 3rd and 15. The Seahawks punted on 4th and 12, netting -7 yards on the drive (+5 from a pen). Some more good defense and on 3rd and 5 the Colts got a failed dumpoff to halt their drive and force another punt. Two good offensive teams, but the defenses were ruling early and the score was still 7-0. The Seahawks took over on their own 10-yard line and finally put together a great drive. 13-plays and 90-yards. No yards from penalties just a nice combination of running and passing and three huge third down conversions. Shaun Alexander found the end-zone from 12-yards out to tie the game. Colts 7 - Seahawks 7. Shaun Alexander caught the Colts on a run blitz to the outside and took it up the middle for a 12-yard TD. That was the score at halftime: Colts 7 - Seahawks 7

The Seahawks got the ball to start the second half. But only were able to gain 12-yards on four plays and were forced to punt. The Colts got the ball back and put together their second excellent drive of the game. Nine-plays and 85-yards. The big plays on the drive were two Joseph Addai runs for 31-yards combined and a double-teamed bomb completed to Marvin Harrison for 28 yards. Dominic Rhodes punched it in from two-yards out and the Colts were back on top: Colts 14 - Seahawks 7. Joseph Addai's runs of 18 and 13 yards set the tone early in the third quarter.

The Seahawks took over knowing that they needed to answer. We worked the ball to the Colts 45 and were facing a 4th and 4. Knowing the Colts offense, I did not think a punt was a good idea with the possibility of going down two scores. So I decided to go for it. Tony went to a Short Yardage Defense and I threw to Deion Branch. Receiver card catch for 11-yards. The Seahawks continued to drive and had a first and goal at the three-yard line. Easy TD right? Wrong. Three straight runs by me, and three straight correct calls by Tony and all three landing on my cards not the porous Colts cards. So facing a 4th and 3 and knowing that I would need a FG at some point I went ahead and got the three points. Colts 14 - Seahawks 10. Deion Branch made a clutch catch on 4th and 4 to keep the drive alive. But a field goal is all it ultimately produced.

So the job is now to figure out a way to stop Peyton Manning. It didn't look good at first as the Seahawks. Peyton and Addai drove the Colts across midfield and had a first and 10 at the Seahawks 35. The Colts spread it out to a 3-wide formation and I doubled Stokely. But the pass was to Dallas Clark who was covered by 0-rated Michael Boulware. But Boulware came up with his second huge interception of the game stopping the Colts drive and giving the ball back to the Seahawks. Boulware's second pick of the game could not have come at a better time. Score after three quarters: Colts 14 - Seahawks 10

The Seahawks offense starts to click and they get the ball across midfield. But an incomplete pass on third-down at the Colts 29-yard line had the Hawks trotting out the field goal team. Josh Brown has already missed one and the Colts fans are raising a rucous. Sure enough Brown gets the yips and SHANKS it! But wait, I see a yellow hankie on the field! The Colts were offsides! First down Seahawks! The Seattle offense takes advantage of that huge break and on second and goal at the two, the Seahawks finally stop trying to pound it in and go up top. Matt Hasselbeck connects with D-Jack for a two-yard TD. Seahawks take their first lead of the game with 10 minutes left in the game. Seahawks 17 - Colts 14. Darrell Jackson finds the end-zone from two yards out to put the Seahawks up 17-14.

The Colts take over on their 20 and it is Peyton time. On second down Peyton is tired of going short and decides to go over the top of the Seahawks cover-two zone. He audibles at the line and Dallas Clark breaks free. Peyton winds it up and hits him in stride for a Long Gain of 40-yards. The Colts get 13-yards on a nice flat pass. On first and down at the 27, the Colts are flagged for illegal motion to make it first and 15 at the 32. The Seahawks sniff out an end run to Addai and correctly key. That makes it second and 17. A four yard gain on another run and a the Colts face a third and 13. The pass is incomplete and the Adam Vinatieri trots out to tie the game at 17. Colts - 17 - Seahawks 17. Peyton audibles for a bomb to Clark to tie up the Super Bowl at 17.

The Seahawks take over with 7:12 seconds left on their own 24 yard line. Ok, time to open it up I think. First play, I go short to Darrell Jackson hoping to hit his receiver card guessed wrong. Well, no dice, INTERCEPTED! It hit Hasselbeck's card guessed right on 11. (Pick on 2-10, inc 11 and 12). But AGAIN the refs bail me out with an offsides penalty on the Colts to nullify the pick. So back to work. Mixing runs and passes I get the ball to the Colts 35-yard line and am facing a 4th and 4. Josh Brown is good from 2-6, but it's too risky and I will likely give the Colts the ball in great field position if I miss. So I decide to go for it. I go end run to Alexander hoping to catch Tony in a pass call with so many yards to get. Nope, Tony isn't buying it, he calls run and keys on Alexander on a linebuck. Luckily it lands on the Colts card on a 7. short gain! Fifteen yards and a first down. Now it gets really interesting. There is two minutes exactly left and I am at the Colts 20. I want to use up as much clock as possible and find the end-zone if possible. An incomplete flat pass and two runs leave me facing a 4th and 1 at the Colts 11-yard line. There is 1:15 left. I debated kicking the field goal, but my kick coverage is awful and I just know Peyton would burn me taking over near midfield with two timeouts left. And the Colts defense on a linebuck has me making it (or a good chance to make it) on almost every roll but a 3. (OG challenge). So I would rather have the game decided right here. If I pickup the first I can run out the clock and kick a FG. So I decide to do a QB sneak (Matt makes it on his card 2-7, and Tony hasn't keyed on Hass on earlier 3rd and 4th and 1 calls). So here we go. The roll is a 7!!! First down (barely, an 8 and it's Tony's ball). Three runs later Josh Brown comes out and nails a 24-yard field goal as time expires! Whew!!! What a game!!! Probably foolish not to just kick the field goal. But I didn't want to give Peyton another chance. The big plays in the game were the two picks on Peyton, and the two flags on the Colts (one wiping out a shanked FG and giving me a first down. And the other wiping out a Hasselbeck pick deep in his own territory).

Tony called a great game, and I had to have all the breaks to bring home the trophy again. Great game Tony!!!!