Welcome Back! The season has finally started after what seemed like a never-ending offseason. Before we get into the game recaps, we’d like to thank all the players for adhering to the new rules. We continue to strive to be better, and we’ve made some modifications to the rules based on player feedback.
Some rules to be aware of:
- There is a new rule regarding steamboats and deadclock. The new rule is 5 steamboats and the defense can rush, and at 10 steamboats, the play is dead. If the defense rushes past the line of scrimmage after 5 steamboats, the dead-clock of 10 steamboats is no longer in effect.
- There are 3 timeouts each half (used to be 2), however 2 of the 3 timeouts are untimed timeouts, which means it will stop the game clock, however the play-clock will start right away.
- No jewelry (includes bracelets, earrings, necklaces, etc.), hats, aqeeqs, or glasses without athletic bands are allowed on the field. This isn’t a new rule per se, but we will be enforcing it more vigilantly this season.
- Lastly… the toques! Wearing toques inside the dome will be permitted as long as there is no flap starting week 2. Bandanas and headbands are also permitted.
When you look at the Raiders, and the first thing that jumps out at you is speed. This team will continue to be a matchup problem for any team that they face, and you cannot gameplan for one or two players, because they have weapons everywhere. Our congratulation to Mohammad Railey for winning the Instagram contest by registering early, and being entered into a draw. He was a proud recipient of new gloves, glove juice and a MFL shirt. He put the gloves to good use as he made a catch in the back of the endzone and was adamant that he, in fact, can catch. Said Samater looked good at QB, however it seems it may take him a few games to learn the tendency of his players. The best play of the game was when Ammar Dayani ran a seam down the middle, and Taha ran a deep out-route on the same side of the ball, the safety stayed with Taha, and Ammar was left wide open deep down the field for a long TD.
For the Patriots, Khizer Jamal made his much-anticipated return to MFL after dealing with various injuries the past couple of years. He had one INT early-on; we’ll chalk that up-to early season jitters. Similar to Said, it may take Khizer some time to build rapport with his new players, however the one player that he didn’t have an issue with connecting is Shaneali Kara. The last time these two were together, Khizer won MVP and Shaneali won Offensive Player of the Year – during the same season, Farhan Ratansi was the Defensive Player of the Year. That is a fearsome threesome. Last year, the Patriots had a chance to go 5-5-5, but alas, an opportunity missed. They may be trying to hit that mark this year as the very first game of the season ended in a tie 28-28. The Patriots had a couple of opportunities to put this game away. Farhan Ratansi had a chance at a pick-6, but the INT slipped through his fingers, and the Raider would later score to tie the game. On the last play, the Raiders switched to man-to-man defense, and Mohammad Sabowala was able to get free, but the pass was just out of his reach.
The Lions and Panthers was the highest scoring game of the week. It wouldn’t have seemed so early on, but penalties, and poor defense is to blame. The Panthers (formerly the Steelers) had the best record in the league last year, and captain Ahmed Al-Waili is out to prove that he can build a championship-caliber team two years in a row. The Panthers took an early lead in this one, after Kumail Meghani’s very first pass of the season was an interception to the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Danial Ali. Despite the final score, QB Taleb Zaidi looked excellent, as each of his receivers had a reception, and 5 of his receivers had TD. The issue with the Panthers was on the defensive side of the ball, but the Lions had a lot to do with it.
Preseason murmurs about the Lions weren’t too kind as they may be the most slow-footed team in MFL history. However, they counter that challenge by being the possibly being the highest IQ team in MFL history. The Lions were missing one of their star players in Omar Khamissa, but that didn’t matter much as the rest are more than capable to picking up the slack. The star of the morning was Asghar Molu, who earned Week 1 Player of the Week honours with his 9 receptions and 4 TDs. The play of the game was a long TD to Bilal Sabowala, where the defense was focused on the short to intermediate zone, and Bilal was able to break free behind the defense and made a head-high grab for a TD. The Lions also had 5 receivers with at least 1 TD. The Panthers will look to regroup and face the Patriots in a rematch of last year’s semi-finals.
We’re not entirely sure if the Ravens & Seahawks knew that there was a game this week, as both team were sluggish in the first half. The only score of the half came on a pick-6 by Shabbir Rizvi (DPOW). We would like to give credit to the Seahawks defense in the first half, they looked dynamic, and they were coming up with all of key stops, and were not missing flags (this changed… dramatically). On the flip side, this was the official quarterbacking debut for Mujtaba Abidi. He has played QB sparingly in the past, but it looks like he’s making the switch on a full-time basis for the Seahawks. While the percentages aren’t great, he made some throws that only a few could make; at other times, he seemed to rush his throws. We seem to think he’s capable of playing the position full-time with some of his performances in pickup; however, if he’s not successful, they have more than a capable backup in Ali Haroon.
Back to the game, the Seahawks would strike early in the second on a TD to Imran Ebrahim. Unfortunately, Imran was hurt on the play, and will miss the remainder of the season. We wish him a speedy recovery, and hope to see him on the field again in future seasons. With Imran gone from the game, it seemed to take the life out of the team, as the Seahawks defense would falter. The Ravens woke up in the second half and started utilizing some creative plays, one that led to a long TD by Ali Merali. The Seahawks also used an amazing playcall when needing TDs late in the game called the “human cheatcode”. We’re not sure which one should be the play of the game, so we’ll count both of them. With Imran no longer in the middle to grab flags, the Ravens dialed up the human cheatcode, where the QB takes the snap, and hands the ball to Ammar Jessa, and then walks off the field to get his defense on the field… cause that boy gone! Ammar Jessa took two to the house late in the game, and caught another one earlier in the game as well. The game had to be halted, and the remaining 10 seconds will be played in between game 1 and 2 of week 2. The Seahawks have the ball with two timeouts trailing 21-28 to the Ravens.