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(Saturday, June 25 – Seattle, WA.) Not many provided any hope for the Denver Rush entering Saturday night’s game in the Pacific Northwest vs the powerhouse Seattle Thunder. The betting line sat at a season-high 12.5pts most of the week with some projecting the line to go up to as many as 18pts. The doubt was primarily driven by the lack of experience across the Denver roster as well as losing their penciled-in Starter at the most important position on the field when Vana Medrano was released.

An expected lopsided game would prove otherwise at least through the 1st Quarter of play as Denver surprisingly kept it a football game vs Seattle with only a one-score game at 14-6. One very positive note for Denver that came out of the 1st Quarter was the play of interim Quarterback Jessica Poole who provided a spark with her legs and arm which included a 6-play 40-yard drive capped by a Poole 23yd touchdown run.

The 2nd Quarter came and with it a dose of reality, as Seattle scored thirty, yes thirty unanswered points led by three touchdowns by running back Janetra Gleaves, who would be named Game MVP.  Denver struggled to regain their momentum of the 1st Quarter, especially their offense, and Poole looked very undisciplined in her decision-making which led to game-changing turnovers. The half ended alongside any hopes for Denver as Seattle posted 44 first-half points and only gave up 6.

At Halftime there seemed to be a lack of any intensity, urgency, or emotion coming from the Denver locker room which could be a direct result of a rookie coaching staff. Despite an overall lack of urgency, Denver came out swinging in the 3rd Quarter both figuratively and literally. On the third play from scrimmage, Poole found Ifeoma Emeka on a 24yd touchdown connection. Emeka proved to be a bright spot for Denver, a potential offensive weapon as well as being very effective on the defensive side of the ball.

However, champions are defined by what they do when they are tested, that was the case with Seattle on this night as they would deflate any Denver momentum by responding on a scoring drive every time the Rush would score. After posting a staggering 30pt. 2nd Quarter effort, the Thunder would score another 24pts. in the 3rd Quarter to seal the fate of Denver. Three rushing touchdowns by Seattle displayed their dominance and showcased perhaps the most consistent Quarterback in the league in KK Matheny who would finish the game with an impressive 123.6 QBR. Matheny seems to have complete command of the offense and soaring confidence in her ability at the position.

The 4th Quarter would prove to be ten minutes of garbage time as Seattle cleared most of its bench but give credit to Denver, they did not simply roll over. Poole engineered two scoring drives in the 4th Quarter and provided some hope to Rush fans that against a more evenly matched team and not a powerhouse like Seattle, Denver can compete. Poole finished the night with a respectable performance when you consider her lack of preparation time with the Starters. Poole would account for 3 touchdowns and 155 all-purpose yards. The disappoints on the night were many for Denver but primarily the play of their defense who played more like a Spanish matador as well as their highly-touted running back ‘Cobra’ Korey Hardiway would only rush for 22 yards on 7 carries.

Coach John Hassien of Denver needs to figure out two things prior to their return home in a match-up with the Atlanta Empire on July 22 at Budweiser Events Center, 1) how do I get the ball more to my primary play-makers offensively in Ifeoma Emeka and Krystal Wright? 2) how do I get my defense to play with more intensity and discipline?

Seattle now tied for 1st place in the standings with Austin (Seattle holding the tie-breaker with point differential) will now rest prior to traveling to the ‘Windy City’ to battle a more evenly matched opponent in the Chicago Blitz at BMO Harris Bank Center on August 6.




Game Stats

Denver Seattle
Score 26 84
First Downs 14 26
Rushes-Yards (Net) 23-109 23-161
Passing Yards (Net) 115 110
Passes Att-Comp-Int 10-18-3 15-21-0
Total Offense Plays-Yards 44-224 45-271
Fumble Returns-Yards 2-2 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards 0-0 0-0
Interception Returns-Yards 0-0 3-29
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 6-34 5-36
Possession Time 16:36 23:24
Third-Down Conversions 2/7 5/6
Fourth-Down Conversions 1/3 1/1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 2/4 11/11

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