Brats Barely Beat Beermen
Dietz and Watson Stadium, Berlin, Ger:
(Berlin fans got a pleasant surprise as the game between the Beermen and the Brats had to be moved from Media to Berlin, due to all of the kegs being kicked at Media Stadium.)
One of the most anticipated DMFL games of the season, one that held major playoff implications, took place in the land of suds and food, between the Berlin Bratwurst and the Media Beermen. The winner of this game would carry a lot of momentum into the second half of the season, and the loser would be fighting for their playoff lives.
The fans expected a defensive showdown between two of the better smash-mouth teams in the league, but they got a little more offense than they expected. Berlin was the first to strike with a relatively long and time consuming drive, culminated by a touchdown run by former Beermen draft pick, Bobby Mack.
Media responded quickly with a touchdown pass from Jimmy Williams to Freddie Mitchell, one of two TD connections by the two on the day.
In the second quarter, Berlin was able to regain the lead with a 12-yard touchdown scamper by LaDanian Tomlinson, but the lead was short-lived as the Williams-to-Mitchell connection went long-distance, with a 77-yard touchdown strike that knotted the score up right before the half.
The Beermen came out swinging in the third quarter, forcing Berlin to punt deep in their own territory, and taking advantage of the short field with a touchdown pass from Williams to Clinton Portis, and then an interception return returned 20 yards by Deltha O'Neal, making the score an insurmountable 28-14 game.
The Brats had to abandon their ball-control offense and go through the air, and they did just that on the very next drive. But, a rare Tomlinson fumble inside the Beermen 5-yard line, all but ended the Bratwurst chances for stealing this one.
Then, it happened. On the very next play from scrimmage, the Beermen tried to fool the Brats, by going for a pass. Instead, Ben Leber was able to sack Williams in the endzone, forcing a safety, and opening the doors for a monumental Bratwurst come-back.
On the next possession, the Brats lived on the edge, making two fourth-down conversions, en route to making the score 28-23, midway through the fourth quarter. Berlin and Media would trade punts, and with just over one minute to play, Berlin was able to get the ball back with no timeouts, and the ball on their own 17-yard line.
On the second down play, Drew Brees, under serious pressure, put up a long pass to the double-covered Dwayne Smith. Unfortunately for the Beermen, both guys were playing behind him, and he was able to come up with the pass. Smith, turned to elude one tackler, juked to elude a second tackler, and then it was off to the races. Dwayne Smith rambled 82-yards to pay-dirt, and the Brats were able to convert on the 2-point attempt, making it an astonishing 31-28 contest with 57 seconds to play.
Media tried a last-ditch comeback, but the momentum was squarely in the hands of the Brats, as they hung on for the stunning come-from-behind win.
Coach Grieb press conference:
No injuries to report. Wow, what a game. This is one of the ones we probably shouldn't have won, but the good teams find a way, I guess. Of course the shoe was on the other foot a few weeks ago against the Muddies, so I'll take it. We were able to move the ball well, but we turned it over quite a bit. Usually, you won't win a game if the turnover ratio is 3-to-0. Give credit to Bobby. This team is far better than the record would suggest. And now, with the new offensive playbook, he will be hard to stop. We had a hard time figuring his game-plan out, especially in the first half. Our team hung in there, and played a great fourth-quarter.
Question 1: Was there a point in the game that you thought it wasn't going to be a win for the Brats? Coach Grieb - I always have faith in my players, but when Tomlinson fumbled down at the 5, I thought that we had given away too many opportunities to win it. Of course, the very next play got me back into it. I think Leber's sack was probably the biggest play of the game, next to the Dwayne Smith td. But if Leber doesn't get that safety, we probably wouldn't have been in that position late in the fourth.
Question 2: It seemed as if your defense was able to figure out the Beermen in the second half. Coach Grieb - Actually, I think it was a combination of things. I think that Bobby may have been playing a little too conservative after getting the 14-point lead. Actually, after we sacked his qb in the endzone, that is when he started playing not to lose.
Question 3: How high does this win rank in your coaching career? Coach Grieb - Certainly, this was the biggest game of the year for us this far. It was nice to see that we could pull a game out in which we didn't give our best effort. As far as emotional wins, this has to be in the top 5. I think we'll be a better team because of this game.
Question 4: Next week, you play the Scranton Shithawgs, who are coached by your younger brother. Coach Grieb - Ah yes, should be an interesting game. Kurt has had a tough time the last few weeks, but he has a very talented team, one that has a chance to score a touchdown on every single play. It'll be a scary one, especially with a mobile qb like McNabb. If his team beats us twice, we are in trouble.