QB Akili Smith finished a 99-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run for the Frankfurt Galaxy
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2005 class of NFL Europe players, 10 men strong, is the largest it has ever allocated to the spring league. It is rapidly beginning to look like one of the best, too.
The NFLEL season is two weeks old and Buccaneer players already own two Player of the Week Awards. After Week One, Hamburg K Todd France got the Special Teams award after blasting five field goals, including a 54-yarder. And, after the action this past weekend, the Special Teams award remained in Buccaneer hands, as it was won by Berlin punter Brian Simnjanovski.
Simnjanovski helped Berlin remain undefeated as he punted four times for a 41.3-yard average in the Thunder's 15-13 victory over Todd France's team, the Hamburg Sea Devils. Three of Simnjanovski's four kicks were downed inside the Hamburg 20-yard line, and he also served as the holder on Kevin Miller's game-winning, 37-yard field goal with two minutes to play.
The rest of the Buccaneers' NFLEL contingent continued to perform well, too. France followed his five-field goal performance by hitting both of his three-point tries for the Sea Devils. France connected from 30 and 28 yards, but his team came up just short again, falling to 0-2 on the season.
France's two Buc teammates on the Sea Devils' roster are both receivers. Derek McCoy started for the second straight week for Hamburg but did not record a catch. Terrance Metcalf subbed in during the Sea Devils' frequent three-receiver sets and caught one pass for 22 yards.
Buccaneer quarterback Akili Smith helped rally the Frankfurt Galaxy from a 14-0 deficit to a 23-14 victory over the Amsterdam Admirals by completing nine of 12 passes for 95 yards and scoring on an eight-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The Buccaneer passer continues to split time under center with the New York Jets' Kevin Eakin, but it was a Smith-led 99-yard touchdown drive that got Frankfurt back into the game.
After taking their two-touchdown lead in the first quarter, the Admirals pinned the Galaxy at its own one with Ryan Dutton's 43-yard punt four minutes into the second period. Smith then took the league's defending champs the length of the field, completing four of four passes for 56 yards on the march. He completed an 11-yard strike to Mark Anelli on third-and-eight from the three-yard line and later converted a third-and-nine with a 17-yard strike to Hubert Whittaker. Facing a third-and-six at the Amsterdam eight, Smith ran a designed quarterback draw straight up the middle and made it all the way to the end zone.
"One of the turning points was Akili making that play to score our first touchdown," said Frankfurt Head Coach Mike Jones. "I felt that if we could score in that situation then our players could make things happen."
Four other Buccaneer allocates played in the weekend's third game, a 23-10 Cologne win over Rhein. Defensive tackle Brian Save started for the second straight game and was among his team's leaders with four solo tackles. Fellow DT Delbert Cowsette did not start but did aid the Centurion defense in holding Rhein to only 59 rushing yards. Safety Kalvin Pearson also came in as a substitute but played extensively, contributing three solo tackles.
Cornerback Blue Adams started for the Fire and came up with one tackle and two passes defensed. Most notably, he broke up a pass intended for Hart Turner on third-and-three midway through the third quarter, with Rhein still down just 9-3.
Berlin and Cologne moved to 2-0 with their victories, while Hamburg and Rhein remain winless. The NFL Europe campaign is 10 weeks long, and the two teams with the best records at the end of the regular season meet in the World Bowl championship game.
Here's a look at how each of the Buccaneers' 10 allocated players fared in Week Two of the 2005 NFLEL season:
- CB Blue Adams, Rhein Fire...Recorded one solo tackle and two pass defensed against Cologne. * DT Delbert Cowsette, Cologne Centurions...Saw action against Rhein. * K Todd France, Hamburg Sea Devils...Connected on field goals 30 and 28 yards against Berlin. * WR Derek McCoy, Hamburg Sea Devils...Started against Berlin. * WR Terrance Metcalf, Hamburg Sea Devils...Caught one pass for 22 yards against Berlin * S Kalvin Pearson, Cologne Centurions...Registered three solo tackles against Rhein. * DT Bryan Save, Cologne Centurions...Registered four solo tackles * P Brian Simnjanovski, Berlin Thunder...Punted four times for 165 yards, including three inside the 20-yard line against Hamburg. * QB Akili Smith, Frankfurt Galaxy...Completed 9 of 12 passes for 95 yards against Amsterdam. * G Mitch White, Cologne Centurions...Did not play against Rhein.