Written by: Kevin Kardasz (@kevinn_up on Twitter)
Playoff implications were in full effect this week, as we saw some of the most intense matchups of the year for some teams as they scratched and clawed to remain in contention for a playoff spot. For most, they stayed upright and alive in the race to the playoffs, we saw heroics of epic proportions to keep certain squads in it to win it. The shootout tiebreaker now looms heavily in the distance, let’s see who has a chance to make it.
Game 1 – 8oki (34) v BAFC (22)
Shocked? Me too. For the first time this season, the Bored Ape’s have taken a loss. This week was an absolute must win for the 8oki’s if they wanted a chance to control their own destiny, and they did it. The D-Block played perhaps their best defense of the season when it mattered most, and held Deondre Francois to his worst half in his FCF career.
You’d think in a game where 8oki won in what felt like dominant fashion, that it came from the arm of one of the best QBs in the league, Mitch Kidd, but it didn’t. Mitch contributed to the win, made the right decisions when asked to, and held incredible poise in the huddle. He went 3 for 6 for 58 yards and an interception, for the first time this season, the 8oki’s won on the ground. Even then, it wasn’t exactly a win on the ground by committee, Malik Elion had 28 rushing yards, and Patrick Smith had 15, and while those are nice numbers for wide outs, it pales in comparison to one man. Malcolm Ballard, nicknamed Gump (Greatness under major pressure), played his best game in his FCF career, and possibly the greatest single game by any running back in league history. In just 10 carries, Gump had 85 rushing yards, and 5 rushing touchdowns, the new single game scoring record for an FCF player. He was electric, it was his game completely, his most notable score saw him cut back 3 times to make a total of 5 defenders miss on his way to a 27 yard touchdown, and he was the one to punch in the game sealing score. It would be criminal to not also include the defenses great game in this small rant as well, they forced 4, 4th downs in the first half alone. With the 8oki’s down 8 with the clock winding down, they quickly scored, and when given a chance to tie the game on an extra point, Mitch Kidd threw the ball at the owner’s glass. The intentional miss allowed the 8oki’s to set up for a 15 yard completion on the comeback rule that then allowed them to drive back for another score, to go up 6. The D-Block held up their end of the bargain, and shut the Apes down in a 4 and out to effectively finish the game off.
While the 8oki squad enjoyed essentially historic heroics from Gump, the Ape’s experienced one of their most disconnected losses of the season. Sure, the Apes have clinched the first seed and a playoff spot, and Francois (2-11, 31 PYDS) went out at the end of the half with an ankle injury, but this just wasn’t their game against a team desperate to stay alive. There isn’t a lot to say that hasn’t already been said, the Apes offense was stagnant even with Francois on the field, and they collapsed at the end to incredible pass rush, while Malcolm Ballard ran the ball with extreme efficiency.
The Apes had absolutely no problems losing this, outside of the lost undefeated record, but the 8oki’s stayed alive by winning this one. We’ll get back to this with the KOD game, but Mitch Kidd and his crew have a chance to make the playoffs on their own terms now, no one else’s.
Game 2 – SBS (34) v Beasts (16)
In a game where both teams had much to play for, one just showed the other out, in unfortunate fashion. I’ve spent all season doubting Slade Jarman in the long term, but for at least one night, he showed me up.
The Beasts had a chance to take the season into their own hands, and it really feels like this one just got away. With a win this week for them, they would have leveled at 3-3 with the Stars and would have a chance to take the first seed in the division, while also being able to lose week 7 and still make the shootout. They didn’t pull it out though, and now their season hangs in the balance. The game in the first half felt completely winnable for the Beasts, Jordus Smith (the TO proclaimed MVP of season 2.o) caught two insane long bombs for scores and they stayed even with the Stars, but the second half came and went with a whimper. After putting up 16 in the first half, the Beasts posted not a single score in the second, Alphonso (7 for 16, 168 pass yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT) try as he might simply could not find consistent rhythm. The Beasts watched as this one just slipped from their hands, and now suddenly they face a 3 way tie as of now (2-4) across the Beasts, Boyz, and Zappers.
Slade and the gang ended a pretty abysmal slide for the once top dogs of the FCF, and in the process clinched the first seed in the OG division and locked in their spot for the postseason. Ladarius Galloway is done for the season, tough loss but it apparently doesn’t matter at all for the defending champions. Slade Jarman had his crowning performance thus far, going 10 for 15, with 139 yards in the air, and 3 touchdowns, with no interceptions. The defense did its job shutting out the Beasts in the second half but Slade came through when it mattered most to send this team into next week with nothing to worry about.
Game 3 – Glacier Boyz (14) v Zappers (44)
Well, that happened. The date is the 24th of May, 2022, and in some way,the Zappers have a fighting chance at the playoffs. This was a must win game for the Zappers and to say they delivered would be an understatement. I applauded the Beasts for being their own group and passing on Jason Stewart in the earlier drafts, but this man is making it ridiculously hard to not turn a side eye to that now. In an MVP level performance, Stew kept the Zappers hopes at a playoff berth alive and the Boyz completely unraveled.
The Boyz have been through it this season, no doubt, and it’s hard to blame this one on them. Losing not one but two starting QBs to injury is rough but for what it’s worth they have weasled their way into a position where they could still make it to the playoffs. There really isn’t much to say here for the Boyz, Chris Barrett (the third string QB if anyone still has count), went 6 for 17, had 96 yards, and a pair of both touchdowns and interceptions. The Boyz didn’t score a single time in the second half, but even if they did I’m not convinced anything changes considering the Zappers scored 4 times in the first half alone. This isn’t the end for the Boyz, they’ll look to win their week 7 matchup against the division leading Stars to guarantee at minimum a shootout appearance to take the second playoff spot.
Congratulations to Zappers nation for not one but two weeks in a row, shocked? Me too. The most abysmal start to a season in FCFs short history, and a trade that saw Terrell Owens get traded away, has also seen the Zappers go 2-0 since then. Jason Stewart tossed up a ridiculous 6 for 9, 94 yards, and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions, to lead the Zappers to a dominating 30 point win that lands them their destiny in their own hands. Stewart isn’t in the clear yet, the whole Zappers season sits in their week 7 do or die matchup against the Beasts. Should they beat the similarly desperate Beasts, they will lock into the shootout at the very least. It may not have been a nail biting game, but it has nail biting implications.
Game 4 – KOD (66) v Kingpins (42)
Nope. Go back, read the score again. One more time. I truly think the only way to describe whatever this game was, is Arcade Mode. The defenses seemed to disappear as we saw the highest scoring game in Season v2.0 and the first 50 bomb of the season as well. I won’t ramble on the game much, it had fun pace, and a lot of points got thrown up, the top performers are as follows:
Ed Crouch, QB (5-7, 123 Pass YDS, 2 TDS)
Terelle West, RB (4 Rushes, 110 Rush YDS, 3 Rush TDS, 1 REC TD)
Yedidiah Louis, WR (1 Rush TD, 93 REC YDS, 2 REC TDS)
Tirri Jones, QB (10-23, 210 Pass YDS, 5 Pass TDS, 1 INT)
Elijah Rogers, WR (117 REC YDS, 2 REC TDS)
The real drama is what happens because of this game, the Knights are now officially win and in, if they beat the 8oki’s this week, they take the NFTeam second seed, if not they too go to the shootout. The Kingpins on the other side, are the only team in the league to be eliminated from playoff contention, sorry Pins fans. The 7 PM slot has officially been flexed for the KOD v 8oki win and in/shootout berth game, and it’ll be one everyone should tune in for.