Week Twelve Recap

Results

TeamScore
Raiders14
Patriots42

The Raiders and the Patriots are very similar teams. Both teams feel that they’re underachieving in the season, yet both teams are still in it for a first round bye. The game began with both teams playing solid defense on the first drive, and then the Patriots began to play like they’re capable of playing on offense gaining chunk plays in the middle of the field. This was still a game at halftime with the Patriots up 21-7. After halftime, the Patriots switched to man defense since the Raiders were missing Ammar Dayani and Taqi Baig. The Raiders had no answer as they struggled to move the ball down the field. We discussed previously that the Raiders were the highest scoring team in the league, but in recent weeks, the drop-bug has hit them once again and they have been putrid (only 4 TDs in the last 2 games).

Ali Haroon did a great job once again spreading the ball on offense with Farhan, Abuzar & Ali Merali all had 4 or more receptions. Mikael Ratansi & Mujahid Hemani both contributed with TDs (2 for Mik, 1 for Muj). It will be interesting to see if the Patriots employ the man defense more often this season. Two teams seemed to have switch to a man-defense scheme, trusting their individual skill; it’ll be a gutsy call, but one that may prove fruitful.

After the Patriots win, the standings are as close as it can get, and beyond the Steelers, any team can rearrange themselves from 2-6. Only 3 games remaining in the regular season, and the Raiders have already seen themselves drop from the 2nd seed to the 4th seed. If the Raiders lose to the Giants next week couple with a Cardinals win, the Raider will drop to the 6th seed. The Patriots are still vying for the 2nd seed and a bye in the first round of the playoffs. They may not want to look too far ahead, but they face the Bengals for the final game of the season, a match-up that could decide the bye between the two teams.

Results

TeamScore
Giants0
Cardinals28

We’re glad that we don’t have any game tape for this one – this game was U-G-L-Y. But this is the type of grind-it-out game that we can expect from most teams as we near the playoffs. Both teams played man defense, and it seemed that the Giants had a tough time in the offense acclimating Shaneali Kara. We expect that to change over the next few games as Shaneali has been known to find pay-dirt more often than not. The Giants man-defense wasn’t terrible in this one, as they only allowed 1 second-half TD on a tipped ball to Areeb Khan, and Said was 10/24 in this game (with 4 TDs, and no INTs).

We suspected in the power rankings that the Cardinals may switch to man defense since it worked well the previous week, and it worked beautifully against the Giants. The Cardinals held Taleb to 9/29 with 4 INTs and we’d venture to guess that this is his worst performance of his career. Khaleel Kassam was a stand-out on defense as he took on the challenge against Shaneali Kara and held him to one catch. Khaleel had 1 INT, and could have had a much bigger day as he dropped 2 would-be INTs, and a long TD pass in the second half. Said Samater also had a big game defensively, stopping Mujtaba from his torrid pace; limiting him to just 3 receptions (on what seemed like double digit targets). Said also had 2 INTs in the game, and Omar Khamissa was responsible for the other interception. This was the first shut-out this season.

Results

TeamScore
Steelers42
Bengals42

Heading into this game, the Bengals were trailing the Steelers by 2 games in the standings. With a win, the Bengals could pull within one game, and have a legitimate shot at the #1 seed if they were to run the table. The Steelers were missing their starting QB, and early on, they were getting by just fine. Captain Ahmed Al-Waili QB’d, his first attempt since Week 1 of the season, and in his first drive, he threw the longest pass of his career which was hauled in amongst two defender by Muzammil Rizvi. After that, Hamood struggled at QB as a lot of his passes weren’t crisp, and usually lacking direction. The Bengals are also without Hisham Ali for the rest of the season, and started Danial who filled in admirably. Danial showed great poise in the pocket, and was uber-efficient in the first half. His receivers were getting open for him with Ali Raza Rizvi (Offensive Player of the Week) being the biggest beneficiary. The Steelers cycled through receivers as Muzammil Rizvi also gave it a try, and after one successful drive, he realized QB’ing is much harder than it looks. Ultimately, Ali Jessa started QB’ing, and was brilliant. The Bengals were up 42-14 at one point in this game, and were up 42-21 with 7 minutes to go in the game.

The switch to Ali Jessa was a key one for the Steelers, as after early drives by Hamood and Shiny, their offense really bogged down. Ali Jessa moved the offense quickly, and outside of 1 INT thrown, he was flawless. On the Bengals side, this was a game that was won. However, some stingy D by the Steelers, and some boneheaded plays cost them the W. The Bengals were still up 42-35 with less than 2 minutes to go, and Danial Ali threw a ball towards the end zone and Alla Al-Salem made a clutch interception. It was an unneeded throw on 2nd down for the Bengals. On the ensuing drive, Mohamed Railey made a great diving catch on second down to put the Steelers in great position. The drive was finished off on a shoe-string catch by Ahmed Al-Waili and eventually ending the game in a tie. This was one of the best games of the year; emotions ran high, great plays were made on both sides, and ultimately there wasn’t much separating the two teams.

MFL Power Rankings (post-Trade Deadline)

1. Steelers (8-3-0)
While the Steelers may be 3-3 in their last 6, they have yet to lose back to back games this season. It’s a team filled with unheralded stars, and a collection of player who may have not gotten their due in previous season but are really shining. Speaking of shining, Muzammil Rizvi aka Shiny Face has taken his game to the next level this year, and will be in contention for DPOY, Most Improved and possibly putting himself in the conversation for MVP. The Steelers have 3 players on their team that can make a case for MVP as Ali Jessa and Alla Al-Salem have also led the charge for the team at various points in the season. The Steelers are second in points scored (only 2 points away from leading the league), and have been the best defense in the league by a significant margin. Zolfakar Al-Mousawy has also had a solid campaign, and will be in contention for the Rookie of the Year. The Steelers still have some work to do to lock up the #1 seed, but they’re the odds on favourite to win the Regular Season trophy.

2. Giants (5-6-0)
The Giants are the hottest team in the league, and after an abysmal start, they have turned around their fortunes and firmly entrenched themselves in a battle for the top 2 spots in the league. They will have their work cut out for them after losing Imran Ebrahim for the season. The Giants turned around their season relying on their individual talent, and believing that they can match-up with any other team 1-on-1. It has worked out beautifully for them as they are now a formidable opponent. Mujtaba Abidi continues to be threat in the end zone, and all of the other Giants have chipped in offensively, and more importantly, defensively. The Giants will hope that their replacement player integrates well with the team and they can continue their success into the last-third of the season.

3. Bengals (5-4-2)
The Bengals have looked as good as any team in the league at times, however with their QB out for the remainder of the season; this presents a serious challenge. With no natural QB on the roster, the Bengals may have to rely on Danial Ali to lead the charge. This takes away a weapon on offense, but Hisham’s replacement is no slouch (though he did look rusty in Week 1). The Bengals have a vast number of weapons on offense, and their defense stacks up against any of the other teams in the league. However, their Achilles heel may be going against man defense. The Bengals are one of the slowest teams in the league, and they were held in check when the Giants played man defense against them. Even with that, the Bengals remain in second place flip-flopping with the Raiders in recent weeks.

4. Patriots (3-5-3)
There’s good news and bad news for the Patriots. The good news is, they don’t lose many games (tied for third fewest); the bad news is they don’t win many games either (tied for fewest). They’re mastering the art of a tie, with 3 ties so far this season. The Patriots are an interesting team as they`ve gone through a major change with their offense in installing Ali Haroon as a quarterback once again. With Ali Haroon as the starting QB, the Patriots are 2-1-2, with another loss coming when Ali Merali played QB due to injury woes. Make no mistake, this is a championship caliber team – whether they fulfill on that promise, remains to be seen. The key for the Patriots is getting healthy, and shoring up the defense. We have seen glimpses of what it can be when they almost shut-out the Steelers, but since then, they’ve given up 42, 49 & 49 points.

5.Raiders (5-5-1)
The Raiders haven’t looked great since the injury to their QB, and they haven’t had their full team only once this season. If that wasn’t bad enough, they’ll be missing ROY-candidate Taqi Baig over the next couple of weeks. The Raiders continue to lead the league in scoring, and they may have to rely on out-scoring their opponents to win. That strategy may work in the regular season, but it will not work in the post-season. The Raiders have 4 games to fix their defense, or they’ll be looking at an early exit. The Radiers zone defense is like swiss cheese; lots of holes and not particularly good.

6. Cardinals (3-6-2)
The Cardinals started the season 2-0, and were looking like a team that would challenge the Steelers atop the standings. But with poor attendance, and an injury to Said Samater, Cardinals went on to lose 5 of their next 6 games. They have played a little better of late, but they’re going to have to find their early season magic to move up the Power Rankings. Omar Khamissa is leading the league in flag-grabs once again, and Nadeem Kassam (Most Improved Player candidate) is tied for the league lead in TDs. The Cardinals can surprise a lot of teams, and win the championship, but it won’t happen if their players don’t show up and build a rapport with their QB on the offensive end. Defensively, the Cardinals switched to Man Defense last game, and it’ll be interesting to see if they continue with that method moving forward.

Week Ten Recap

Results

TeamScore
Patriots21
Bengals49

We talked about a trend of 9am games being blowouts, and why would Week 10 be any different? While we commend Ali Merali for being out there for his team and trying to contribute, it was clear that he should not have been out there on the field. He was forced into QB duties, and while he showed great upper body strength on a lot of his throws, he was unable to get much zip on his deep throws getting picked a 5 times. Danial Ali had himself a game contributing everywhere going 3/3 with 1TD, 3 receptions, 7 flag grabs and a pick-6; earning himself a co-DPOW honours. Ahsan Raza also enjoyed himself another strong game with 6 receptions and 2 TDs. It seems any time the Bengals are in the redzone, they highlight Ahsan in the back of the end zone and take advantage of his height. Shoaib Mamdani also added a pair of TDs to continue leading the league in TDs – he’s been the MFL TD leader since Week 1. On the Patriots, Mujahid Hemani continues to be a leader on defense, leading his team in flag grabs for a second consecutive week. Hussein Mojtehedi also had a strong week with a receiving TD, and also a rushing TD where he looked like he was shot out of a cannon. We’d also like to shout-out Fayaz Ladha, who asked if there was a “worst player of the week award? – ‘cause he deserves it” – we got you, fam! The Bengals move into 2nd place with the win and the Patriots are now tied with the Giants in 4th place (ahead by 1 in pt. differential).
This will be Hisham Ali’s last game of the season as he heads for surgery, and we wish him all the best in his recovery. He will be replaced by Taha Ali, and the Bengals will have 5 games to adjust to a new player, and a new quarterback for the remainder of the season.

Results

TeamScore
Giants35
Steelers28

Through 5 weeks, this matchup would have been one of those games that would be easy to overlook as the Steelers were steamrolling teams, and the Giants were being steamrolled by every team in the league.  Four weeks later, the Giants are the hottest team in the league, and to do that, all they had to do was deploy man defense. Offensively, it can sometimes be a struggle for the Giants, and it mainly has to do with drops. However, they’ve simplified their plays, and their offense looks vastly improved from the start of the season. Taleb Zaidi is doing a better job of spreading the ball, and the key to Giants offense has been the lack of turnovers in recent games (Taleb is still leading the league in interceptions thrown). Kumail Ali has become a defensive weapon at attacking the QBs and getting timely flag grabs behind the line of scrimmage. Imran Ebrahim has played shutdown defense on the other team’s #1 receiver week in and week out. Rizwan has also been a defensive stalwart for his team tied with the team lead in interceptions at 5 INTs.

The game itself was a back and forth affair, with neither team putting much distance between each other. Allawi & AJ had strong games for the Steelers, and continue to be consistent on a weekly basis. The Steelers were 5-0 to start the season, and have sputtered to a 2-3 record in their last 5 games. The focus for the Steelers has to be squarely on the shoulders on Salim Ladha as he’s on pace to set a career high in interceptions thrown. With that said, the Steelers have not lost 2 in a row this season, and have blown out teams after a loss. On top of that, the Steelers face a Raiders team that they feel like they should have beat last time around, and will be looking for revenge.

Results

TeamScore
Raiders35
Cardinals56

The Raiders and the Cardinals did a little role reversal this week, where the Raiders had only 5 players on the field, and an injured QB. Whereas the Cardinals had 6 players, and Said looking more like himself this game. Due to injuries in the last couple of weeks, Kumail Meghani was only able to QB in the red zone, and while he looked good in short distance, it simply won’t be good enough to beat any team in the league at full strength. Bilal Mamdani took over QB-duties for the Raiders, and he was good in the short to intermediate range, he had too many turnovers (5 INTs) to overcome this game. Raiders’ bright spot was once again Taqi Baig (10 receptions w/ 1 TD) who has to be the favourite for the ROY.

The Cardinals played a complete game, something to legitimize their early season success. The Kassam brothers (Nadeem and Khaleel) both led the charge offensively and defensively for the Cardinals. Each had 3 receptions, 2 TDs and a pick-6. Said Samater could have been strong in terms of efficiency, but he did more than enough in the game going 15/27 with 6 TDs & 2 INTs-caught. Another difference in the game was flag-grabs. The Cardinals had 20 flag grabs whereas the Raiders only had 8. The Cardinals are expected to have 6+ players once again, and will face a Patriots team still on the mend.

Week Nine Recap

Results

TeamScore
Steelers42
Cardinals14

The trend of 9am games being blowouts continued this week with the Steelers blowing out the Cardinals. In the 9 weeks of 9am games, there has been only 1 game decided by 1 TD or less; all other games have been blowout. Just a little heads up for the Bengals and the Patriots. It was yet another week for the Cardinals where they were short-handed, and they were hoping second time was the charm with Farhan Ratansi as the replacement player… it was not. The Steelers were also missing their MVP-candidate Ali Jessa, however it didn’t seem to matter as they had their LVP lead the charge with 2 TDs this week. He claims to have the longest play in MFL history as they were backed up due to a swearing penalty. QB Said Samater struggled without having Nadeem Kassam in the game, however Omar Khamissa was still able to get his numbers (and increase the flag grab lead). The true star of the game was Zolfakar Al-Mousawy (Zolfie). A relatively unknown commodity heading into the season, he’s been a revelation, and has been dubbed by some as the ‘fastest player in the league.’

The Steelers rebound from an ugly loss to the Patriots, and the Cardinals fall into last place after starting the season 2-0; they are now on a 7 game winless streak, YIKES!

Results

TeamScore
Bengals35
Raiders49

Last time these teams faced eachother, the Bengals handled business as they thoroughly out-played the Raiders, and with the Raiders starting short-handed, you would think more of the same was in store. The Raiders started the game with 4 players, and got Ammar Dayani back shortly after, and were playing with 5 player for the majority of the first half. It didn’t matter as the Raiders got out to a 28-7 lead. The last of those TDs came as the clock expired in the first half on a Hail Mary play. The Raiders would then tout “just like we drew it up!” Once Shoaib Mamdani joined the game, the fortunes turned a little bit for the Bengals as he scored a long TD at the beginning of the second half. Others chipped in as well, as Asghar Molu made his return, and scored 2 TDs. Ahsan Raza also score a clutch TD to bring the Bengals within 1 TD (42-35) with less than 3 minutes to go in the game. The Raiders would march down the field, and QB Kumail Meghani would find Taqi Baig to put the game out of reach.

Taqi Baig had 11 receptions, 3 TDs, and 6 flag-grabs; this puts him squarely on the Rookie of the Year conversation, and maybe with a couple of more outputs like this, in the MVP conversation. Muhammad Ali has also quietly worked himself into the OPOY conversation as he’s second in receptions and tied for the team lead in TDs. The Raiders continue to be an enigma, as they lead the league in scoring, but also allow the most points in the league (by a significant margin). With the win, they leapfrog the Bengals into 2nd place, and the Bengals are suddenly only 1.5 games up from the 5th place Giants.

Results

TeamScore
Giants42
Patriots21

This was our game of the week – with the Patriots coming off an impressive victory over the Steelers and the Giants playing man-defense and obliterating teams. The Patriots missed Ali Merali in this game due to an injury, and he may miss a few more games and we wish him a speedy recovery. Fayaz was also dearly missed as he’s been a force in the red-zone this year. When you look at the final score and the box score of this game, you may see a blowout, however this game was a lot closer than you would think. For the Patriots, they’ll look back on this as a game of missed opportunities. They started the game off slowly, and with opportunities to recover, they weren’t able to do so. This was perfect encapsulated on back to back plays where both Farhan Ratansi and Mikael Ratansi dropped TD passes. On the other side, the Giants continue to punish opposing teams for missing flags, and Taleb Zaidi has a ridiculous 74.6% completion rate over his last three games. The Giants still continue to be a two-man team on offense with Mujtaba Abidi and Imran Ebrahim carrying most of the load, however during this winning streak, other players have stepped up. This game, Rizwan Jafri contributed on both sides with 1 TD & an INT.Mujtaba Abidi earned his first Offensive Player of the Week honours for this season with 10 Rec. & 4 TDs. Mujahid Hemani made a case for more playing time on defense with 6 flag-grabs. Abuzar Abbas also had a game with 8 receptions, and an-almost TD.

The Giants are now the hottest team in the league, and no longer the bottom-dwellers. In terms of personnel, Imran Dhalla may have been the lucky charm. His presence has given the team some much-needed optimism, and the Giants are now squarely in the mix for a bye-spot in the first round if they continue to string together wins. The biggest obstacle for the Giants will be to continue to channel their emotions in a positive manner. For the Patriots, this may just be a blip on the radar, or it could be a greater cause for concern. They got exploited on the defensive end without Ali Merali, and with him possibly missing a few more games, this could be their undoing in their quest for a first-round bye.

Week Eight Recap

Results

TeamScore
Raiders28
Giants56

When the Raiders and the Giants faced each other last time, it was a tightly-contested game, and the Raiders eked out a 28-21 victory in the dying minutes of the game. This game would be quite different.
On the second play of the game, QB Kumail Meghani was hurt on a lateral play, and continued the game on one leg. The result was a putrid performance with the Raiders QB only completing 14/32 passes, and numerous missed assignments on defense. The Raiders as a team weren’t much better as the second offensive play for the Giants was a short slant for Hussein Champsi, who scored a TD due to 4 missed flag-grabs (see video in the Highlights section of the website). Imran Ebrahim had a monster game last week, and continued that momentum into this week and scored a league-high 4 TD this week. He was also the primary reason why Ammar Dayani had only 1 catch. Taleb Zaidi had another efficient game with 8 TDs and 0 interceptions. For the Raiders, the lone bright spot was Muhammad Ali who is now 3rd in the league in receptions with 45 catches.

In the last 3 weeks, the Giants have switched to man-defense, and they are the only team in the league to deploy a man-defense consistently. The results have been encouraging as the Giants have outscored their opponents 119-63 in their last 3 games. The Raiders now have a 2 game winless streak which could have been 3, if the Steelers decided to end the game in a tie rather than going for 2.

Results

Team
Cardinals
Bengals

The Cardinals game was a miracle on Sunday; they had all 8 players present for the game. That is a rarity for an Omar-led team. The Bengals were missing Asghar Molu for a second consecutive week, and his leadership, and veteran presence is invaluable to the Bengals. The game was tightly contested, so much so that we saw Said Samater show some emotion after a TD.Said Samater has had a rough go in recent weeks, much of it can be attributed to his finger injury. However, he had his best overall game since the injury, and consistently put his team in good position to score. One of the players who took advantage of this was Nadeem Kassam. “Nads” had a 3-TD game this week, and is on a tear the last 3 games (15 Rec, 7 TDs) – he has quietly been one of the best receivers in the league this season. On the other side, another week and another highlight for Danial Ali (*yawn*). However, he decided to do more than his usual 1-2 Rec. w/ 1 Td. – he had 5 receptions with 3 TDs this week. Another player who chipped in was Ali Raza Rizvi, he had 4 receptions with 1 TD. Talking about highlights, the star play of the game was made by Asad Mewawala. On the Cardinals’ first drive in the second half, Asad baited the Cardinals QB into a poor throw, and set his team into great field positioning where they would eventually score. The game would end in an eventual tie as neither team was able to pull away; and would respond quickly to a TD by their opponent.

The Bengals are now winless in their last two, and for the Cardinals, this puts a stop to their 5 game slide. The Bengals will take on a struggling Raiders team, hoping to play better in their next matchup. The Cardinals will face the first place Steelers and will hope to have a full squad for a second consecutive week.

Results

TeamScore
Patriots49
Steelers14

On paper, this game looked like a lopsided match, especially when you consider the Steelers were missing their beloved “LVP,” putting themselves in a stronger position to win. But that’s why we don’t play the games on paper. We mentioned last week that it would surprise no one if the Patriots were suddenly a championship caliber team, and they showed us all the reasons why they can be just that. The Patriots are the best team in the league in spreading the ball around, and we mentioned that Ali Merali was building a strong rapport with Ali Haroon. This week,Ali Merali had minimal impact on the game offensively, but it didn’t matter. Fayaz Ladha had 3 TDs that tied him with the team lead. Farhan Ratansi had 6 receptions with 2 TDs (two fantastic catches – see highlights on our YouTube page). Hussein Modjtehedi also chipped in with 4 receptions and 1 TD. This game was decided early with an onslaught by the Patriots, and the only question would be if they could preserve the shutout.

While the Steelers were down 28-0, Muzammil Rizvi was heard on the sidelines saying “these guys really think we’re going to lose this game?”  The answer to that question was a resounding yes as the Patriots won the game 49-14 – the final score may be too generous for the Steelers. Perhaps, Steelers’ LVP is really their MVP, as he keeps the team together. The Steelers can do a better job of spreading the ball around as they had 3 players with no receptions in this one. The Steelers will face the Cardinals in their next matchup, while the Patriots will face the suddenly dangerous Giants.

Week Seven Recap

Results

TeamScore
Cardinals7
Giants49

The first game of the week was a snooze-fest. The Giants came into the winless, however they were facing a Cardinals team that was missing some marquee player including their Quarterback. With the Giants at full-strength, and the Cardinals playing short-handed (for a 3rd consecutive week), the Giants made no mistake putting this game to bed early. Mujtaba Abidi did damage on the offensive side early, as his first two catches both resulted in TDs. But the true star of the game was Imran Ebrahim (earning defensive player of the week honours). It has been a challenging campaign for Imran up to this point, and he’s hoping this game can propel him and his team forward. Imran had a complete game with 8 Rec. 2 TDs, and had 3 interceptions on the defensive end with one of them being returned for a defensive TD.
Everyone on the Giants had a solid game, with Rizwan Jafri & Hussein Champsi also recipients of touchdown passes from Taleb Zaidi. Kumail Ali had a strong game as a rusher once again, stopping numerous plays behind the line of scrimmage.Taleb Zaidi had an uber-efficient game going 20/24 with 6 TDs.

The Cardinals need to back to the drawing board as their 2-0 start is now a distant memory, and they have now lost 5 straight games. The biggest concern that the Cardinals have is their attendance. They were keeping their opponents close until recently, and now it’s starting to unfold. Captain Omar Khamissa may be forced to make some trades to ensure there’s adequate attendance moving forward. The Cardinals have a tough assignment on Sunday as they’ll face the 2nd-place Bengals in hopes to getting back in the win column.

Results

TeamScore
Bengals35
Steelers42

This was the marquee match-up of the week with the 1st seed squaring up against the 2nd seed. The Steelers were coming off their first loss of the season in a down to the wire game. This week, they would come out firing, as they jumped out to an early 21-7 lead. QB Salim Ladha and Ali Jessa have been on some kind of roll recently.Ali Jessa had another 3 touchdowns this week, which gives him 20 receptions and 8 TDs in his last 3 games (he is now tied for the league lead in TDs). The Steelers relied on the medium to long plays in this game, and it worked consistently as the Bengals found it tough to stop them. The Bengals are a chancy-defense and they look for interceptions at times over making the sounds fundamental defensive play. However, playing chancy brought the Bengals back in this game. With Hisham Ali struggling early, the Bengals were able to force Salim into a couple of interceptions.

This allowed them great starting field positions, but also allowed Hisham to get into a little bit of a rhythm. The Bengals would lead a balanced attack in their quest to make a comeback with Danial Ali, Shoaib Mamdani, Ahsan Raza and Raza Mawji all scoring a TD each. But that wasn’t all, as the Bengals used some trickery to give Hisham his first receiving TD of the season, and get them within 1 TD. However, the star play of the game belonged to Mohamed Railey. On a play where he should have been stopped for a short-medium gain; he turned on the after-burners and left the Bengals chasing smoke for his first TD of the season. With the win, Steelers sit comfortably atop the standings at 6-1, and will face a much-improved Patriots in their next matchup.

Results

TeamScore
Patriots35
Raiders35

While the last game may have been billed as the marquee game of the week, this was the most exciting game of the week. This game had a little bit of everything; exciting catches, drops, penalties, missed opportunities, and an exciting finish. Before the game, the Raiders acquired Bilal “Alcatraz” Altahan as he scored his first TD of the season in the first half, and also doubled his receiving output with 4 catches in Week 7. This is Ali Haroon’s second week at QB, and his teammates are starting to learn his style of QB’ing. The early benefactor has been Ali ‘Cheema’ Merali who had a monster game with 4 receptions and 3 TDs (more on him later). In the early going, the teams traded scores and the Raiders took a 21-14 lead into the second half. That’s when the Patriots turned up the defense, and scored on two consecutive drives to give themselves a 28-21 lead. The Raiders would march down with less than 5 minutes to go in the game and Ammar Dayani would score on a 4th down play where the Patriots defenders weren’t ready.
This is where the fun began. Soon after the TD, Ammar Dayani would be called for a swearing penalty because he heard someone call ‘False Start,’ and he thought it was one of the refs. With the Raiders missing their deep safety, Ali Haroon would dial up the deep bomb on the first throw to Cheema, and quickly take the lead back at 35-28. The Raiders were also able to respond quickly using the short passes, to set up a TD to Muhammad Ali to tie the game at 35. The Patriots had less than 2:30 to go in the game, and they would methodically drive down the field while killing the clock. On a 3rd down play, captain Farhan Ratansi got called for a controversial false start. Stopping the clock, and pushing it to 4th down. On a corner fade route, Cheema had an opportunity to haul in the catch for the 4th TD of the game – but the ball became loose as he was heading to the ground (on top of that, he’ll be serving a swearing penalty at the start of next game). The Raiders were unable to convert as they had no timeouts and only 17 seconds left in the game, and the game would end in a tie.
The Raiders were plagued by drops this week, and some silly, yet fixable mistakes. The Patriots were also marred by some drops, however they seemed to find a way to improve within a game, and the chemistry between the QB and the receivers is getting better.This game will be remembered as a game of missed opportunities, and it was telling that both QBs felt like they lost this game, rather than treating it as tie. It would surprise no one if these two teams were to meet each other in the Finals.

Week Six Recap

Results

TeamScore
Steelers48
Raiders49

The Steelers were undefeated heading into this matchup, leading the league in points scored, and points allowed. On the flip side, the Raiders were also coming off an impressive victory from the previous week over the Cardinals. It was their most complete win of the season with a season-high in points, and a season-low in points allowed. In the early going, Salim Ladha picked up where he left off last week by converting the first 4 drives into TDs for the Steelers. The early damage being done by players affectionately known as Zolfy, Allawi & Hamood. Ahmed (Hamood) Al-Waili had a fantastic catch in the end-zone picking the ball off the ground, and securing it with both feet inbound to give his team a two touchdown lead that they would maintain into halftime. It was Ahmed’s first TD of the season.

The second half would be a different story and Muhammad Ali may want to bottle up whatever was said at halftime, as the Raiders looked like a different team coming out of halftime. After not being able to offer any resistance in the first half, and giving up chunk yardage, the Raiders tightened up their defense forcing two picks (Bilal Mamdani with a crucial INT in the beginning of the second half to give the Raiders some life). The Raiders are beginning to have some chemistry and it’s a balanced attack between Muhammad Ali, Ammar Dayani, Taqi Baig and Bilal Mamdani. It’s similar for the Steelers as Zolfy, Allawi and AJ have all been significant drivers for their strong start with Salim’s efficiency at QB. This game was going to be decided by the slimmest of margins, and the Raiders took a late lead with Taqi Baig getting behind the defense to give the Raiders a 49-42 lead. Not to be outdone, the Steelers made one final drive scoring a TD on their own. The Steelers had ambitions of an undefeated season, and went for a 2-point conversion. The Raiders defensive backs stayed strong in their zone, and were able to knock the ball down to secure their second consecutive victory.

Results

TeamScore
Giants14
Bengals28

The Bengals and Giants seemed like a lopsided matchup, and it’s hard to see a matchup where the Giants aren’t an overwhelming underdog this season. The Bengals scored an early TD to take a 7-0 lead, and the score would remain the same until late in the first half. The Giants squandered a few opportunities in this game to tie the game early, or perhaps, take the lead. But once again, there were a lot of drops on the Giants; Mujtaba Abidi, Hussein Champsi and Rizwan Jafri being the main culprit this week. The one area that the Giants shined was on defense, as they switched to a man defense against the Bengals and it seemed to work. The game was tied 7-7 at half, and the Bengals’ receivers were having trouble getting open, and when they were open, they were dropping wide open TDs (*cough* Asghar Molu *cough*).

In the second half, the Bengals took a 14-7 lead on a TD by Asghar Molu, and it was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, albeit unconvincingly. Later in the second half, Danial Ali would score his 1st of 2 TDs on a deep bomb beating Imran Ebrahim, who had the coverage. His second TD was an absolutely stunner with a sideline catch and extending just enough for the TD. This may qualify as the third straight highlight of the week by Danial Ali. The Bengals were strong defensively, as they rarely give up any big plays, and kept Taleb inefficient in the game.

The Giants had several players who played well defensively. Imran Ebrahim had a strong game deflecting numerous passes. Taleb Zaidi had a fantastic one handed interception. Kumail Ali had a nice showing on the defensive end with a sack on QB Hisham Ali, and constant pressure. With the win, the Bengals extend their unbeaten streak to 4 games and will face a Steelers team looking to get back in the win column. The Giants will face the Cardinals, who have lost 4 in a row after starting the season 2-0.

Results

TeamScore
Cardinals42
Patriots49

The Patriots and Cardinals were two struggling teams trying to get their season back on track, and it was the last game before the bye week for all teams due to the Family Day long weekend. The Patriots made the long-awaited switch to QB Ali Haroon, and on the other side, the Cardinals were hoping for a healthier Said Samater this week. The Cardinals were playing short-handed with 5 players on the field, however early on, it didn’t seem like it. Farhan Jafri had a major impact in this game, and the call-out in last week’s email seemed to have motivated him. Even though his offensive stats don’t have counting stats (i.e. no TDs), he consistently put his team in a position to score. The main beneficiary was Nadeem Kassam, who had 7 receptions and 3 TDs and earned himself his first offensive player of the week and also giving him the team lead with 8 TDs this season. The game was 21-14 for the Cardinals with a few seconds left in halftime, and Farhan Jafri tipped an errant passed and returned it for a touchdown to give the Cardinals a 28-14 lead.

Ali Haroon had 2 INTs in the first half, however he quickly put the first half behind him as he played a near flawless second half. The Patriots would score 5 TDs in the second half, and Ali did a great job by distributing the ball as 6 different receivers had a touchdown. A lot of players were hyped to see Hussein Mojtehedi get his second TD of the season, and also see Mujahid Hemani make an impressive catch on the sidelines. Both players played a big role in the comeback win for the Patriots. Newcomer Ali Merali continues to impress as he had a multi-TD game with 4 receptions. Farhan Ratansi earned his first defensive player of the week with 1 INT and 6 flag pulls. The Patriots have 3 of the last 4 defensive player of the year award winners on their team, however they have yet to get into a defensive rhythm this year. The Cardinal show glimpses to be an elite team, however they have now lost 4 straight, and sometimes, you are what your record is. It may be too early to judge as they have yet to have a complete team in consecutive weeks. It’s hard to build a chemistry when players are in and out of the lineup.

Week Five Recap

Results

TeamScore
Cardinals14
Raiders63

The Cardinals and Raiders matched up to what seemed to be a lopsided affair. While both teams were 2-2 heading into the matchup, the Cardinals were playing very well despite their 2-game losing streak heading into the matchup. The Raiders were beaten soundly by the Bengals in the previous week. Early on in this game, both teams were tied – that’s when Kumail Meghani hooked up with Taqi Baig on a deep crossing pattern and after a couple of missed flags on the play, the Raiders were up 14-7, and it was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The closest the Cardinals would get in this game would be 21-14 when Omar Khamissa made a juggling catch to bring his team within a touchdown. Just before halftime, Co-Offensive Player on the Week Muhammad Ali had a receiving touchdown (1 of 3 on the day for him) to give the Raiders a 28-14 lead. When the second half started, the Raiders captain made sure that his team knew that the game was 0-0. With that mindset, the Raiders into absolute juggernaut mode. They didn’t allow any scores from the Cardinals in the second half, and shut them out 35-0 in the second half. The offensive was clicking as all players on the Raiders had a score. Bilal Mamdani was the defensive star picking of Said Samater twice in the middle of the field. Taqi Baiq and Muhammad Ali, each had 3 touchdowns. On the Cardinals, Omar Khamissa did most of the damage with 6 Rec. and 2 TDs. Farhan Jafri had a poor showing in this game with no receptions and 1 flag grab.
The Raiders are hoping this game serves as a stepping stone to kick-start their season; they face the 5-0 Steelers next week. The Cardinals hope to get back to their winning ways facing a struggling Patriots in Week 6.

Results

TeamScore
Bengals35
Patriots35

Based on the circumstances, this was a matchup that heavily favoured the Patriots. The Bengals were playing a man short, and also had two possession penalty against them due to the captain showing up late for his refereeing duty. We discussed the David v Goliath match-up as our last game of the day, however this was very much it. The Patriots took advantage of the penalties as they scored touchdowns in both instances where they were awarded the ball at half to begin their drive. The Patriots set the tone early with methodical drives leading to open receivers, with Ali Merali (x2) and Fayaz Ladha the beneficiaries. Ali Merali’s second touchdown was a beauty, making 3 defenders miss on the flag grab before speeding away to the endzone. This gave the Patriots a 21-7 lead in the game, and the only score for the Bengals was a hail mary to Ahsan Raza. The Bengals would score again before the half on a wide open Ahsan in the back of the endzone (theme alert). With little time to go in the half, the Patriots marched down the field in their two minute drill that would make Tom Brady proud (perhaps, not at this very moment, “Fly Eagles Fly”). Mikael Ratansi would find Ali Haroon in the end zone for his only catch of the game and give the Patriots a 28-14 lead heading into halftime.
The game would turn in the second half, in a big way. With an early interception in the second half by Shoaib Mamdani would cue the comeback. Early in the second half, Danial Ali received a deep bomb from Hisham Ali in the back of the endzone. Danial was able to haul it in with two defenders draped on him and having to control the ball to the ground. Contested catches have started to become the norm for Danial Ali this season. He would also have 3 interceptions in the game to net himself the Defensive Player of the Week. With that said, the Patriots would respond when Mikael Ratansi connected with Fayaz Ladha on a short curl route, and Danial Ali would get greedy and go for the fumble, instead Fayaz would take the ball to the endzone with both players exchanging some pleasantries after the play. This game should have been over at this point, as mentioned previously, the Bengals were playing with 5 players. However, the Bengals were a resilient bunch in this one. With the Bengals down 35-21, Hisham Ali would once again find Ahsan Raza in the back of the endzone for his third touchdown of the game. And with few minutes left in the game, Hisham Ali would find MFL TD-leader Shoaib Mamdani to tie the game at 35, which would the eventual final score.
For the Patriots, they lost a game they shouldn’t have. Mikael Ratansi took some unnecessary deep shots, and was picked off 4 times in the game. It’s just a matter of time until Ali Haroon takes over at QB for the Patriots, relegating Mikael Ratansi as a receiver, and possibly on the trade block. For the Bengals, they continue to show the league that they are a championship caliber team, and will face the winless Giants team in Week 6.

Results

TeamScore
Steelers56
Giants7

We previewed this game last week as a David versus Goliath matchup, and were hoping for a more focused Giants team. The Steelers were missing their captain, and LVP (according to his own teammates) Ahmed Al-Waili. The Giants made a concerted effort in sharing the ball, with Saqib Dadabhoy enjoying his best game of the season with 6 receptions and 1 TD. Unfortunately for the Giants, that would be the only score of the game for them, and the lone bright spot. Imran Ebrahim had to sit out 5-minutes on two instances for the swearing penalty (one from last week, and another one this week). Captain Mujtaba Abidi appeared to hurt himself on defense trying to unsuccessfully prevent a TD by Zolfakar Al-Mousawy. This is a team that cannot afford any injuries, and may need to look outwards for trading pieces, and see if that can rejuvenate the team.
For the Steelers, this was a fairly easy victory. Co-Offensive Player of the Week Salim Ladha was 10/10 in the first half playing flawlessly on the offensive end. He only had three incompletions the entire game, and they were all on the same drive, and the only drive where the Steelers didn’t score (all started by the patented Mohamed Railey drop). Salim would finish the game going 19/22 with 8 TDs and no interceptions; for a perfect MFL QB rating (if that existed). Another player on our weekly mentions is Allawi Al-Salem who had 3 receptions, all for TDs. They were all the same way, and in the same place – back of the end zone. The true unsung star of the game was Ali Jessa. He constantly hounded Mujtaba & Imran on the short crossing and slant patterns, and set the tone defensively. Ali is putting together another strong campaign with 28 receptions and 8 TDs along with 15 flag grabs. The aforementioned Zolfy also had 2 TDs, and another TD called back due to a flag-guard. The Steelers will look to keep it going against the Raiders in Week 6, while the Giants may have to call upon a higher power for their first W of the season.

Week Four Recap

Results

TeamScore
Raiders28
Bengals49

The Raiders and Bengals are two teams that have done a great job spreading the ball so far this season. So with the two teams facing each other, you expected more of the same. This was true for the Bengals, as 4 players had 5 or more receptions in this game. However, the story was not the same for the Raiders as all but one player had more than 3 catches. The Raiders did a great job taking Shoaib Mamdani out of the game, however, they forgot about everyone else. Ahsan Raza got the Bengals on the board early, and scored a second touchdown on a beautiful lob thrown by Hisham Ali. The height played a big factor in this game, as both Danial Ali and Ahsan Raza had 2 TDs each, and the Raiders had no answer.

The Raiders started this game playing good defense, and keeping it close. However, as the game went on, the Raiders were routinely put in bad position because of turnovers. Kumail Meghani threw two picks in this game, and also had two fumbles in the game. Ammar Dayani had a nice showing this week with 10 Rec. & 3 TDs, but he was just about all the offense for the Raiders. The flurry of trades that Shoaib Mamdani made pre-draft is paying early dividends.

The Bengals came into this game after an impressive win over the Cardinals, and they continued that momentum into this game as they completed out-classed the Raiders. The Raiders have been an enigma so far, as they have some good offensive stats, but it’s mired by some atrocious defense, and they continue to turn the ball over at an alarming rate. That will need to correct itself for the Raiders to have a successful season.


Results

TeamScore
Patriots35
Giants14

This was the battle of the two winless teams, and this game showed us a lot about the Giants. As they went down, and failed to convert on the easiest of plays, the team imploded. The Giants captain Mujtaba Abidi had to call an early timeout in the second half after various missed flag grabs (more on this below). On the flip side, the Patriots held a mid-week practice after an 0-3 start, and it was exactly what the team needed. The Patriots looked like a unit, and started relying on quick decisions by Mikael Ratansi. This game wasn’t in doubt, and while the Patriots could have played better in some areas, overall they didn’t leave much doubt that they belong near the top of the standings rather than at the bottom. Last week, the Patriots dropped 4 TDs; it was a different story this week. The Patriots had 5 different players score a TD for them, though Mujahid Hemani maintains that he was vultured by his captain Farhan Ratansi on the last TD. All players on the Patriots either had 2 or 3 receptions, no more, no less. Now that’s called spreading the wealth.

For the Giants, as mentioned, it was an implosion. Imran Ebrahim was seen yelling at his QB to make throws on time, and will be off for the first 5 minutes next game for his swearing penalty. There are rumblings that some players are unhappy with their roles, and Mujtaba Abidi has to wonder if some changes are necessary to make the team more competitive. They have the fewest TDs in the league, and have also given up the most points in the league. Nothing is working at the moment. After the game, the captain was deliberating his own capabilities as a captain. It’s clear that the Giants need leadership heading into next week. It won’t be about their play on the field next Sunday, but rather how they handle adversity.


Results

TeamScore
Cardinals14
Steelers21

This was the marquee matchup of the week, as the Cardinals had a chance to catch the Steelers for 1st place with a win this week. Said Samater returned with a cast on his hand, and still continued to QB for his team. Said was clearly not 100% as he had a really tough time gripping the ball, and was relying mostly on short plays to move the ball. However, he was still the Cardinals best shot at winning this game. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Muzammil Rizvi was on the other side. While some are vying for his case as the most-improved player, he is building his case for something much bigger, a MVP-candidacy. He had the most complete line for a player this season with 4 receptions, 1 TD, 2 flag grabs, 1 interception, and a fumble recovery resulting in a TD. With the Steelers already leading the game 7-0 (started by the INT in the end zone by Muzammil Rizvi), he made the defensive play of the year. With Said receiving a hand-off from Omar, he weaved through the defense getting to the last line of the defense. Instead of going for the flag, Muzammil went for the ball, and got a clean swipe and returned it the other way for a TD.

After the early 14-7 lead, the Cardinals fought back valiantly. Their offense was methodical, making the most out of the short plays, and their defense tightened. Omar Khamissa and Farhan Jafri continue to be vacuums, gobbling up everything around them. Nadeem Kassam ran a fantastic route for his first TD, and the Cardinals later tied it up on a bit of lucky play, where the ball bounced around and landed in Nadeem’s hands once again. With the game tied, it was last week’s DPOY who made the offensive play of the week for his team. Allawi Al-Salem scored an acrobatic TD in the end zone from Salim Ladha. The Steelers had a chance to put the game away later in the half, but the Cardinals played strong defense on 4th down to get a 12-steamboat count. The Cardinals had a chance to tie/win the game on the last drive, but the cast was too much to overcome. After the game, the captain of the Cardinals can be heard saying “not to worry, we had half a QB and we were in the game. Hold your heads high.”

The Cardinals have shown they’re a championship caliber team, however currently, the Steelers are in a class of their own. They will look to remain undefeated next week facing the 0-4 Giants in a David versus Goliath matchup.

Week Three Recap

Results

TeamScore
Steelers28
Patriots7

The Steelers were coming off a victory in which they were short-handed, and they continued their dominance in Week 3 of the MFL season.

One of the early season MVP-candidate Allawi Al-Salem has led the charge for the Steelers as he had one of the best interceptions of the season by skying over Ali Haroon at a critical juncture of the game. QB Salim Ladha has been steady at quarterback, while all players continue to chip in both defensively and offensively. The Steelers remain the only undefeated team in MFL this season. For the Patriots, this game script could have gone a lot differently had they not had the yips. The Patriots uncharacteristically dropped a handful of passes, and 4 of the drops could have resulted in a touchdown. Due to the receivers clearly having a bad day, Mikael Ratansi was forced to take more shots downfield which resulted in more picks. It may be something teams plan against the Patriots, if they continue to drop the ball at an alarming rate.


Results

TeamScore
Giants21
Raiders28

The second game of the week had a lot more drama as the Raiders were short-handed for the 2nd time in 3 weeks. The Giants looked poised to take advantage as they got Imran Ebrahim back this week, and were hoping to turn their season around from an 0-2 start. The Giants went up early this game, and looked to be in command early. In a surprise move, the Raiders started Bilal Mamdani at QB, choosing for last year’s MVP to play receiver to start the game. The Giants gifted an early TD to the Patriots on a tipped ball that landed in the hands of Kumail Meghani. After the early scores, it became a defensive battle with both teams going into halftime with the score tied at 14.

The undoing for the Giants may have been their early drops. In the first half, both Imran Ebrahim & Mujtaba Abidi had drops in the end zone that would have given the Giants the lead. Taleb Zaidi had a strong game, but the numbers wouldn’t attest to that as his final line had him with only 18 completions in 35 attempts. Giants eventually did take the lead late in the second half, and at that point, the Raiders made the switch back to Kumail Meghani. The Raiders marched down the field twice in the final two possessions, and took the lead with 4 seconds to go in the game. A hail-mary later, the Raiders had clinched an improbable victory. In other news, Mujtaba Abidi has had a strong start to the season, leading the league in reception and seems to have taken his game a notch higher this season. He was responsible for all three of the Giants touchdowns.


Results

TeamScore
Bengals41
Cardinals7

The last game of the week showed great potential, however the 2-0 Cardinals were missing their starting QB and had to resort to a 2-headed QB combo by the Kassam brothers. Khaleel impressed early as after a short pass to Omar Khamissa to start the game, Khaleel threw an absolute bomb brought in by Nadeem. Unfortunately that was all that can be said as far as the highlights were concerned for the Cardinals. The game showed a glaring weakness that can be said for most teams in the league, if the starting QB is away, the team usually struggles. On the other side, Hisham Ali was throwing the deep ball that would make Ben Roethlisberger proud. Speaking of Big Ben, this team might have found their Antonio Brown. Shoaib Mamdani has played at a MVP-level early on, and is on an absolute rampage when it comes to scoring TDs. He’s become the deep-threat for his team, and it was on display early and often in this game as he scored 5 TDs this week alone.

The Bengals have been a team of unsung heroes this season and true to form, all players chipped in this game. Ali Raza Rizvi and Asad Mewawala have proven to be defensive stalwarts up front, and Danial Ali has been uncharacteristically vocal this season on the defensive end. Once Ahsan Raza and Asghar Molu acclimate to the team, this team will be a darkhorse to hoist the MFL trophy in May. For the Cardinals, this game may have not told them much about their offense than their defense. They routinely gave up big plays, and while Said Samater not being there played a factor, the team showed a lack of passion for the game. We’ll consider this as a blip on the radar, but it will be situation worth monitoring moving forward.