Rhein CB Blue Adams had five tackles and a pass defensed against Amsterdam
When defensive tackle Bryan Save sacked quarterback Akili Smith 11 minutes into the second quarter of Saturday's NFL Europe game between Cologne and Frankfurt, Centurions fans cheered and Galaxy fans groaned.
Back in the states, scouts for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had mixed feelings.
See, both Save and Smith are Buccaneers, players signed this winter and allocated to the spring NFLEL season. Both players have looked sharp in the early going of the 10-week campaign, but this meeting between the two was bound to end badly for one or the other. In this case, Save got the better of it, taking Smith down for a 19-yard loss and forcing a fumble that the Centurions recovered and converted into a field goal.
Buc scouts breathed easy when Smith got up from the hit and continued on to complete four of seven passes for 52 yards while splitting time with the New York Jets' Kevin Eakin. Save, meanwhile, contributed a team-high five tackles to go with that big play, helping Cologne win 23-14 and emerge as the NFLEL's only undefeated team.
That might have been the most significant play of the weekend from the Bucs' perspective, but overall it was another successful group of games for Tampa Bay's 10 allocated players. Among the other standouts were Rhein cornerback Blue Adams and Hamburg wide receiver Terrance Metcalf.
The Cologne victory, which featured 13 unanswered points by the home team in the second half, involved half of the Bucs' allocates, as Save was joined on the Centurion defense by safety Kalvin Pearson and defensive tackle Delbert Cowsette. All three started on a crew that held Frankfurt to 240 yards of total offense. Bucs guard Mitch White is also on the Centurions' roster but did not play due to injury.
Cowsette and Pearson contributed two tackles each but it was Save, who signed with the Buccaneers on January 14, who stood out. The 6-1, 313-pound tackle, who split his rookie training camp last summer between San Francisco and Baltimore, also chased down Eakin for a loss of one yard late in the fourth quarter with Cologne only up by six points.
Smith started for Frankfurt for the third straight week but continued to alternate with Eakin, who saw a greater percentage of the action on Saturday and ended up with eight completions and one touchdown in 13 attempts.
Four of the remaining five Buccaneer allocates squared off in other Saturday game, a 31-24 victory by the Hamburg Sea Devils over the Rhein Fire. Hamburg, the league's newest team, secured its first victory while Rhein fell to 0-3 despite rallying from a 31-0 halftime deficit.
Three Bucs tasted NFLEL victory for the first time this spring as kicker Todd France and wide receivers Metcalf and Derek McCoy contributed to the Sea Devils home win. France, who has yet to miss through three games, nailed a 37-yard field goal in the first quarter and Metcalf provided Hamburg's final winning margin with a 22-yard touchdown catch a minute before halftime. Metcalf finished with two catches for 38 yards while McCoy started the game and caught one pass for six yards.
Metcalf's touchdown, on a third-and-four pass from Chicago Bears allocate Ryan Dinwiddie, completed a 68-yard drive and the Sea Devils' scoring outburst. It gave them enough to hold off the furiously-charging Fire, which recorded 371 of its 392 yards of offense in the second half.
The Bucs had one player on the losing end of that game, as cornerback Blue Adams once again started for Rhein and was among its top defenders. Adams pitched in with five tackles and a pass defensed and also made one special teams stop.
The final Tampa Bay allocate was Brian Simnjanovski, who handled the punting duties for the Berlin Thunder in a back-and-forth, 31-27 loss to the Amsterdam Admirals. Simnjanovski punted six times for 213 yards for the Thunder, but Amsterdam gave Berlin its first loss on a diving, 16-yard touchdown catch by San Diego receiver Ruvell Martin late in the fourth quarter. Both Berlin and Amsterdam are 2-1 and a game behind Cologne heading into Week Four.
Here is a look at what each of the Buccaneers' NFL Europe League allocates did in the third week of the season:
- CB Blue Adams, Rhein Fire…Registered five tackles and one pass defensed against Hamburg. * DT Delbert Cowsette, Cologne Centurions…Totaled two tackles against Frankfurt. * K Todd France, Hamburg Sea Devils…Kicked a 37-yard field goal against Rhein. * WR Derek McCoy, Hamburg Sea Devils…Started against Rhein. * WR Terrance Metcalf, Hamburg Sea Devils…Caught two passes for 38 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown against Rhein. * S Kalvin Pearson, Cologne Centurions…Recorded two tackles against Frankfurt. * DT Bryan Save, Cologne Centurions…Led the team with five tackles against Frankfurt. Had 1.0 sack for a loss of 19 yards and one forced fumble. * P Brian Simnjanovski, Berlin Thunder…Punted six times for 213 yards against Amsterdam. * QB Akili Smith, Frankfurt Galaxy…Completed four of seven passes for 52 yards against Cologne. * G Mitch White, Cologne Centurions…Did not play against Frankfurt.