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.
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.
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.