0-5. When the announcement was made that the SFL would be returning to Oklahoma, and the off-season saw the acquisition of players such as Kenny Vaccaro and Jake Ryan, along with talented rookies Orlando Brown and Mark Andrews, starting the season with five straight losses was the last thing on anyone’s mind. Unfortunately, that’s the reality the Roughnecks find themselves in after dropping a 32-21 contest to St. Louis on Saturday. Going into the 4th quarter, Oklahoma trailed by a slim 22-21 margin. The Roughnecks got the ball at their own 6 yard line with a chance to march down the field to take the lead. Instead, James Franklin was intercepted by D’Montre Wade for a pick-6, effectively ending the contest.
What went right: Brandon LaFell, a high-profile free agent acquisition from the NFL, made his first real impact of the season, catching 5 passes for 112 yards and 2 TDs. James Franklin impressed on the ground, rushing 8 times for 97 yards, a 12.1 yard per run average. Franklin currently ranks 13th in the league in rushing yards. Rookie Mark Andrews had another productive afternoon, catching 4 passes for 68 yards. Andrews currently leads the team with 22 catches for 229 yards for the season. Kenny Vaccaro played like Kenny Vaccaro, recording an interception in the 3rd quarter, the Roughnecks first interception of the season. For the first time in a number of games, Coach Raheem Morris did not make a bone-headed 4th down call.
What went wrong: James Franklin has a horrible day through the air, completing just 21 of 45 passes with an interception. Franklin ranks dead last among SFL QBs with a 76.8 passer rating. Thomas Rawls returned to the lineup after being benched last week, and quickly reverted to the form that saw him lose his starting job. Rawls ran 9 times for a grand total of 9 yards. Tackling was horrendous, as the team had 10 missed tackles. Penalties were also an issue, with Oklahoma being flagged 10 times.
Analysis: Oklahoma has a 19 play, 72 yard drive….that ended in no points. That pretty much sums up the season so far. The team is making plays; they are unable to capitalize on these efforts.
James Franklin may be able to gain yardage through the ground, he’s horrendous through the air. Franklin had a passer rating of 94.7 last season; he is almost 20 points lower so far this season. One has to wonder how much longer he has behind center. The running game remains a mystery as Thomas Rawls and Lance Dunbar have a combined for 105 total yards this season. Despite the penalties and forgetting how to tackle, the Roughnecks were competitive through most of the contest. They had the ball in the 4th quarter with an opportunity to take the lead. Once again, they didn’t seize the opportunity. Some fans are in the “we’re terrible” camp, others are in the “hey, we’re an exhibition team and we’re hanging in there most games” camp. If the losing streak does not stop soon, there will be much more in the former, and few left in the latter camp.
Up next: Oklahoma travels to Minnesota to face the 2-3 Freeze.