Rattlers hang on against Sabercats 57-51Posted: Updated:
With seven seconds left, Arizona Rattlers wide receiver Kerry Reed found himself on the receiving end of his first and only pass from quarterback Nick Davila. It couldn't have come at a better time.
Reed's seven-yard touchdown catch, coupled with Tysson Poots' grab on the two-point conversion, helped Arizona escape with a 57-51 victory Saturday night over rival San Jose in front of 9,123 fans at SAP Center in San Jose.
The win marked only the fourth time that Arizona has started 4-0 in the 22-year history of the franchise, the last time in 2011. The Rattlers also are one of only two undefeated teams (along with the Cleveland Gladiators) in the Arena Football League.
San Jose, meanwhile, dropped its third straight game after starting the season 2-0. It looked like that losing streak might come to end when Nich Pertuit's 19-yard field goal gave the SaberCats a 51-49 lead with 46 seconds left.
But in a wild finish, reminiscent of their season-opening win over Philadelphia, Davila and the Rattlers marched down the field and closed the deal, winning for the eight straight time dating back to July 27, an 84-45 decision at Iowa.
San Jose had one last opportunity, but quarterback Russ Michna's pass with four seconds left hit the net and fell incomplete.
Davila had another solid outing, completing 22 of 34 passes for 272 yards and seven touchdowns, including four to Maurice Purify and two to Poots. It was Poots' one-handed catch in the end zone that gave Arizona its biggest lead, 40-28, with only three minutes gone in the third quarter.
Purify finished with eight receptions for 135 yards, but his best game of the season might have come at a price, as he went down in the end zone with a reported leg injury on the play prior to Reed's game-winning catch.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Rod Windsor, last year's ArenaBowl MVP, caught six passes for 63 yards without finding the end zone. That ends his streak of having caught at least one touchdown pass in 18 straight games.
Defensively, Marquis Floyd led the Rattlers with 13 tackles (12 solo), two shy of the team's single-game record of 15 set by Richard Holt in 1994. Marcus Pittman also was a disruptive force, totaling five tackles and one sack.
Michna never could get comfortable in the pocket. He finished with 284 yards and five touchdowns on only 27-of-42 passing. His main target, Reggie Gray, accounted for 13 of those catches for 122 yards and three scores.
The Rattlers will be back in action at 6 p.m. Saturday when they host the Pittsburgh Power (3-1) at Ak-Chin Field at US Airways Center.
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