Postseason game: Cheers! Expansion Drinkers reach Fever Bowl! (5 November 2013)Season II, Divisional Playoffs: Dicey Beasts 31, Moderate Drinkers 36 (Final)
The expansion Moderate Drinkers have reached the Fever Bowl beating the Dicey Beasts 36-31 at their own Astra Dome marking their fifth win in a row.
In a divisional playoff game in which they scored a TD with the opening possession and never surrendered the lead, the Drinkers completed an amazing run to the championship game. They had started the first season of their existence with two losses against teams that missed the playoffs but then won out to reach the playoffs and win the Gothic Division.
The Beasts started the game with a surprise onside kick but were not rewarded as the Drinkers managed to recover the ball at the Beasts' 45. The Drinkers went on to cover the short field with 11 plays including a 25-yd run on 3rd-and-20 and a 10-yd fumble advance for a first down. After reaching the 1-yd line, the Drinkers needed three plays to force the ball into the end zone with a 2-yd plunge by their RB.
The Beasts then fell victims to two special-teams miscues. First, their return man decided to run a return from the goal line and was somehow stopped after only 6 yds. After going three-and-out, the Beasts' punt was blocked and went out-of-bounds at the 4-yd line from where the Drinkers needed only one play to double their lead with a quick pass into the end zone.
The Beasts then went three-and-out again but caught a break by their defense on the first play of the Drinkers' next possession when they forced a fumble and scored on the 27-yd return. However, they were not able to prevent the Drinkers from replying with a 13-play, 59-yd scoring drive taking 6:36 minutes from the clock.
En route to their third TD, the Drinkers kept their drive alive with amazing draw plays on 3rd-and-longs. First, their RB set up a 4th-and-1 at the opponents' 37 with a 15-yd run. Later, he converted a 3rd-and-11 with another 15-yarder to the Beasts' 15. The Drinkers' QB converted the 4th-and-1 with an 8-yd pass and set up the TD with a 12-yd pass to the 1-yd line from where their RB dove into the end zone.
The Drinkers' RBs ran for 126 yds with 32 carries and a pair of TDs but also had three fumbles of which they lost two. Their QB finished the game with 23-of-35 for 200 yds and a TD. He was also picked off once but had to take only two sacks against the Beasts' pass-rushers, two-time league leaders with 23 sacks.
Still, it was the defense that kept the Beasts in the game before their offense finally got rolling. The Beasts who ranked second with seven INTs during the regular season picked off a short pass and returned it 14 yds to the Drinkers' 25. Their offense needed only three plays until their RB ran in from 9 yds out to make it a one-score game again.
The Beasts' RBs had quite an efficient game rushing for 232 yds and a pair of scores with 35 carries while their receivers caught only 12 passes for 105 yds and a TD.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Beasts had to start deep in their own territory thanks to a booming 66-yd punt fair-caught at the 8-yd line. The Beasts managed to cover 68 yds with eight plays including a 51-yd bomb by their QB but then had to settle for a 42-yd FG to cut their deficit to four points.
But the Beasts would never get closer then this for the rest of the game.
Instead, the Drinkers restored their 7-point lead with a 36-yd FG and added another FG from 38 yds out taking advantage from forcing and recovering a fumble on the Beasts' opening kickoff of the second half. And this would not remain the last special-teams miscue for the Beasts who shortly afterwards surrendered a 63-yd punt-return TD giving the Drinkers a 34-17 lead early in the third quarter.
But just when the momentum appeared to be lightyears away, the Beasts got the big play they needed to get back into the game. Their RB took off for an 83-yd dash all the way to the 2-yd line setting up a TD plunge to pull the Beasts within a TD and a FG.
Quickly the Beasts got the ball back due to a three-and-out but the following possession epitomized the game for the Beasts who created enough chances and got enough breaks to win this game but wound up shooting themselves in the foot too often.
On 3rd-and-15, a short pass over the middle was picked off by a Drinkers' defender who then lost the football which was ruled a fumble. A Beasts' offensive player scooped up the ball and ran 25 yds to the Drinkers' 40 improbably keeping the Beasts' drive alive. Five plays later, the Beasts' QB threw into the end zone from the 15-yd line but the pass was caught by a defender.
The Drinkers' defenders had only one sack but contributed to their epic win with with three takeaways.
And they also added a score when forcing a three-and-out on the Beasts' next possession capped by a sack in the end zone making sure the Beasts would need to score two TDs in the remaining 12 minutes of the game.
In a game in which the Beasts suffered many unlucky breaks, they showed an admirable never-say-die attitude forcing a three-and-out after the safety and then marching 75 yds with 11 plays including a 15-yd run on 3rd-and-12 that almost led to another giveaway because of a fumble. But the Beasts remained in possession and finished it with a 15-yd TD pass to cut the deficit to five points.
The Beasts then forced another three-and-out but had to start from their own 8-yd line and facing a 4th-and-6 from their own 12, they were forced to punt and trust their defense with four minutes left to play. But the Drinkers managed to move the ball with reliable short passes and power runs and ate up the clock to clinch their spot at the Fever Bowl.
Even though TheBeast is co-winningest QFL coach with an all-time regular-season record of 8-4, his team's season once again ended prematurely with another loss in the divisional playoffs.
The Drinkes scored 24 points off of the Beasts' four special-teams miscues - counting in the failed opening onside kick - which turned out way too much to overcome for the Beasts even though they scored 14-3 points off turnovers and outgained the Drinkers 332-306 yds.
At Fever Bowl II, the Drinkers will be facing either Autralian Division champions zugschefz dieselz or defending QFL world champions duffeldoffel's Reds at the Snakepit Arena. And being the hottest team in the QFL with five straight wins under their belts, it would be grossly negligent to consider them underdogs at Football Fever's ™ biggest stage.