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Syracuse Posed Standee, October 4, 2009
Punchless Crush Fall, 10-7 in Overtime to Albany
Fall to 2nd in Division as All But 2 Possessions End with Punts
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Washington Postage Stamp, October 4, 2009
Capitols Fend Off Baltimore, 26-19, Near Division Title
8th Straight Win Puts Them Up 4 Games with 5 to Play
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Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, October 4, 2009
High Octane Cherries Cool Off New York, 27-20
Notch 6th in a Row as Rivers Passes for 318 Yards
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Hartford Crude Rant, October 4, 2009
Frerotte, Providence Embarrass Comets, 27-17
Fans Restless as Losing Streak Reaches 6
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Charleston Daily Smell, October 4, 2009
Manning Sacked 7 Times, Cannons Lose to Richmond, 26-18
Rally Falls Short as Final Possession Reaches Visitors’ 14-Yard Line
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Philadelphia Ink Crier, October 5, 2009
Hershey Shocks Lakers, 29-26, on Last Second Score
Flacco Sneaks in the Game-Winner to Cap Off 77-Yard Drive
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Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, October 4, 2009

Rip Snorter

A Mighty Wind Reaches Gale Force Behind Cherries

There is a mighty wind propelling the Cherries’ winning streak, which is now at 6.

If anything that wind is getting stronger.

We’re speaking figuratively here of course. Atmospheric conditions were mild, if a bit muggy, last night in Delaware Stadium where the Cherries dispatched the Emps 27‑20 in a game that really wasn’t that close.

The wind at Delaware’s back is a metaphor for the striking dominance of both its passing offense and passing defense.

Compare the completion percentage of Rivers and company with that allowed by Brian Dawkins and his “Air Traffic Control,” and the difference is even more stark. Rivers and Kevin O’Connell have completed 65.9 percent of their throws. Opposing quarterbacks have completed only 46.4 percent! That’s a difference of 19.5 percent. (To see a similar Cherries spread you have to go back to 2004: 17.2 percent — 64.1-46.9. Interestingly enough, that Cherries team, Jon Brams’ first, had a losing record.)

How about touchdowns and interceptions, another very telling yardstick? The 15-and-4 mark by the offense is turned around by the defense — and then some — 3-and-17.

To be more accurate, that mighty wind is behind the Cherries’ offense and blowing with gale force in the faces of their opponents.

Cherries-Empires games rarely lack in entertainment value, and last night was not an exception.

The home team came out looking like they would blow the doors off New York. They scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, sandwiching a Rian Lindell field goal, which was forced by a bone-rattling sack of Delhomme by Terrell Suggs on 3rd and goal at the Cherries 5. That drive had been prolonged by a 25-yard pass interference call against Brandon Carr.

There was a scary moment after the first Cherries touchdown. LaDainian Tomlinson ran up the middle for 39 yards, and as he reached the end zone he was brought down hard by Troy Polamalu. For what must have been a quarter-minute Tomlinson was prone as the crowd and the Delaware sideline held its breath. Finally he got up and walked gingerly back to the bench favoring his left side.

He missed the rest of the first half with a bruised hip but would return for the second half and play with reasonable effectiveness, finishing with 95 yards on 15 carries and 46 yards on 3 catches. When asked whether there was anything besides pain that kept him from getting up right away, he admitted, “Well, I was kinda tired.” Running 60 yards in the first 2 minutes of the game can do that to a back.

Tomlinson’s backup Antonio Pittman didn’t miss a beat on the next possession, running for 42 of the 80 yards the Cherries rang up and getting the score himself on a 20-yard burst off right tackle.

New York’s Leon Washington then made it a game by returning John Kasay’s kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. That cut Delaware’s lead to 14‑10.

Having to an extent reversed the momentum, the Emps hung with the Cherries for the better part of the next 2½ quarters, helped in part by Kasay’s first two missed field goal attempts of the season.

Then the Cherries got fed up with the tension — and shook off the visitors like a canine exiting a bathtub. Leading 17‑13 with 12:31 left, Delaware took possession on its 27 and with two plays reasserted its dominance:

Less than 12 minutes later Delaware was sitting even prettier with a two-game lead in the division. At that point its Air Traffic Control began plotting to disrupt the passing game of Rivers’ former backup, one Aaron Rodgers, during what will be Rodgers’ return, this time with his new team, Syracuse, next Sunday morning.

Rodgers has been good — but not great for the Crush, with 16 touchdowns and 7 picks. No doubt he is smarting from the outcome last night in a battle against Albany for the Northern Division lead, during which over the course of 4½ quarters Rodgers and the Syracuse offense could muster only 233 yards and 7 points in a 10‑7 loss.