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.
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.
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.