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Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, August 16, 2009
Albany Blunts Cherries’ Comeback Bid, 24-17
Celebratory Atmosphere Dissipates at Home Opener Loss
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Washington Postage Stamp, August 16, 2009
Capitols Put Clamps on Hershey, Breeze to 31-6 Win
Ward Catches TD Passes From Edwards and Jackson
Box   Drive Chart

Hartford Crude Rant, August 16, 2009
Philadelphia Tramples Comets, 41-13, Behind Hot Favre
Cassell Throws 3 Picks, One Taken Back All the Way
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Charleston Daily Smell, August 16, 2009
Manning Off-Target as Cannons Fall, 24-21, to Providence
Fail to Capitalize on Visitors’ Plentiful Mistakes
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New York Slimes, August 16, 2009
Empires Rebound to Edge Richmond for First Win, 24-22
Lindell FG with 4:25 Left Decides See-Saw Contest
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Syracuse Posed Standee, August 17, 2009
Crush Furiously Rallies for 26-21 Win Over Baltimore
Big Plays by Williams, Cartwright are Key in 23-Point 3rd Quarter Burst
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Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, August 16, 2009

Rip Snorter

Red Zone Giveaways Undermined Cherries

Here’s a football hypothetical for you on the subject of turnovers and takeaways: Would you rather your team get takeaways in their opponents’ territory or deep in their own? Trick question? Maybe. Take possession in your opponents’ territory, right? That’s like getting gift-wrapped points.

But doesn’t taking the ball away deep in your own end mean your opponent came up empty just when it seemed they were about to score? Addition by subtraction. And consider the momentum shift.

On a night at Delaware Stadium that started with the unfurling by Cherries management of the 2008 EFL championship banner from press row, the Albany Racers made the case for preferring takeaways that negate deep penetrations by the opposing offense. In making that case, they came away with a 24‑17 upset.

Both teams had two takeaways/turnovers.

The Cherries’ takeaways came on consecutive Albany possessions in the 3rd quarter, with both giving Delaware very favorable starting field position. Unfortunately, they didn’t sufficiently capitalize:

Albany’s takeaways, on the other hand, thwarted what had been promising Delaware drives, evidently shifting the momentum in a positive direction for the Racers. Here’s the evidence:

Albany maintained their takeaway-fueled momentum after Mason’s score as they forced the Cherries three-and-out and then executed a 6-play, 95-yard touchdown drive. The drive’s highlight was a 54-yard sideline route catch-and-run by Mason. Down 24‑10 with 11:29 to go, the Cherries, to their credit, mounted a comeback, but they fell 33 yards short of a potential game-tying score.

To say the fumble lost by Tomlinson is noteworthy is an understatement. Before last night the Delaware stalwart had not lost a fumble since November 5, 2005, a run of almost four years. During that period he had 1,112 touches — 971 rushes and 141 receptions — without a turnover. Astonishing! How many of those 1,112 touches ended with fumbles recovered by Tomlinson or one of his teammates? Would you believe just two (and none during the entirety of his watershed 2007 season)?

L.T.’s fumble last night is a shame not just because it occurred in the red zone and it ended his long streak, but more so because the Racers directly cashed it in for 7 points — and indirectly for 7 more, their eventual margin of victory. Let’s face it, the bottom line on takeaways — regardless of field position — is the degree to which they’re cashed in. In that regard Albany outperformed the Cherries — and that was a major reason for last night’s disappointing outcome.