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!
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.
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.