The first game of the 2018 Super Serien did not disappoint! The Stockholm Mean Machines outlasted the Göteborg Marvels 30-22 in a game that was exciting, fun, and left the home crowd with a sigh of relief. The Marvels were not intimidated by the storied history and presence of the Mean Machines, and showed flashes of how dangerous they can be in this league this season. The Mean Machines had stretches of pure dominance in this game, and put the game away when the opportunity presented itself. As this was my first Super Serien game to attend in person, I was more than impressed by the two teams’ fierce competition, and slightly Americana attitudes towards each other (friends off the field, enemies in between the lines).
The Stockholm Mean Machines started the game by quickly marching down the field and scoring on their first possession. The initial drive included key 3rd down conversions, quarterback Anders Hermodsson extending plays with his feet, and was capped off by a 14 yard touchdown reception by Mean Machines receiver Matthew Retzlaff. Retzlaff scored his first professional touchdown in dramatic fashion, as he “climbed the ladder” to catch a fade pass over a Göteborg defender (this defender would be exploited throughout the game, but I will leave his name out of this article). 7-0, Stockholm Mean Machines. The Göteborg Marvels offense responded by scoring quicker than quick. The first play from scrimmage was an unexpected toss sweep to Gerard Johnson, where he threw a pass to a wide open Almeida Taborda, who ran the ball in for a 66 yard touchdown. 7-7, Tie game.
The Mean Machines were not phased, as they marched down the field again, thanks to a big-time 50 yard catch by Matthew Retzlaff. Inside the redzone, with help from the Marvels on a 4th & 5 defensive encroachment call, the Mean Machines scored again on a 10 yard pass from Anders Hermodsson to Damien Scanella. 14 -7, Stockholm Mean Machines.
The Marvels were not so fortunate during their second series, as they had to punt the ball. On that punt, Matthew Retzlaff took another opportunity to introduce himself to Sweden, by spinning, juking, stiff arming, and using every other move possible for a big 35 yard punt return. Set up with good field position, the Mean machines drove down to the Marvels 2 yard line. With four goal line chances, the Mean Machines could not score turning over the ball on downs. The Göteborg team could not capitalize on the goal line stop, going 3-and-out. Stockholm picked up right were they left off, using a huge 35 yard catch by Damien Scanella (he flew by the weak link defender of the marvels who I will not name) to set them up on the Marvels 3 yard line. As with the previous drive, the Mean Machines could not convert on the goal line, instead settling for a chip shot filed goal by Jakob Gorecki. 17-7, Stockholm Mean Machines. The Göteborg Marvels were down, but after two goal line stops, they were still in good spirits. This confidence was further boosted in the next drive when Oscar Wahlberg caught a short pass then proceeded to outrun the entire Stockholm defense for a 68 yard score. 17-14, Stockholm Mean Machines. This would be the score heading into halftime.
The second half started with Göteborg’s playmaker, Alpha Jalloh, returning the kickoff to the Mean Machines 25 yard line. 4 plays later, 0 yards were gained as the Marvels turned the ball over on downs. The Mean Machines offense started the second half with an uninspiring 3-and-out series. Göteborg took their first lead in the game, thanks to receiver Almeida Taborda taking a slant 38 yards for a score. The extra point was blocked. 20-17, Göteborg Marvels. For a rebuttal, the Mean Machines offense went 3-and-out again. The defense sparked the Mean Machines team by intercepting quarterback Jonathan Andersson for the games first turnover (interception made by Mikael Rosendahl). The Mean Machines offense finally showed life in the second half driving down the field and scoring on a 35 yard run by Emil Knutsson. 23-20, Stockholm Mean Machines. Before I could write down 24 on my notes, the Marvels blocked the Mean Machines extra point attempt! Then Alpha Jalloh proceeded to do the impossible by making the entire Mean Machines team miss him, as he returned the blocked kick for a touchdown and 2 points. 23-22, Stockholm Mean Machines.
On the next drive, the Marvels started to get the ball moving, but their drive was stopped inside the Mean Machines 10 yard line. Defensive back Omar Fall made a great break on the ball to create the second interception for the Mean Machines defense.
The Mean Machines were not able to capitalize on this turnover as they were trying to protect their slim lead with conservative play calling heading into the fourth quarter. Both teams seemed to be unable to get anything going in the fourth quarter, until the Mean Machines started to put together a drive late. Stockholm rode the back of Emil Knutsson to get inside the Marvels redzone. Once there, Quarterback Anders Hermodsson showed his versatility, scoring on a 12 yard zone read running play. 30-22, Stockholm Mean Machines. The game would end with that score, after Omar Fall recorded his second interception (3rd for the team) on a Göteborg Marvels 4th down pass attempt.
For Game Stats and Analysis:
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