It's an indisputable fact that the Utah Blaze are the best 0-5 team in the Arena Football League following their 70-49 loss to the Georgia Force on Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
But that's only because the Blaze are the only 0-5 team in the AFL.
Even normally optimistic coach Danny White didn't have anything good to say about his team's most recent performance. Two weeks after calling his team "the best 0-3 team in the history of football" White had nothing positive to say after his team's blowout loss at home.
"Offense, defense, special teams, cheerleaders we lost every possible phase of the game you could lose," said White. "We just got whipped physically."
While there are no statistics to show how the Harley-Davidson Blaze Dancers contributed to the defeat, the season-high 15,240 fans in attendance could clearly see without a stat sheet how both the offense and defense failed against the previously 1-3 Force.
Georgia's defense returned a fumble for a touchdown in the first half and held the normally potent Blaze offense scoreless in the third quarter. Utah's defense, meanwhile, had just one stop all game.
The lopsided loss came on a night the Blaze retired the No. 3 jersey formerly worn by the hard-working, intense Justin Skaggs, who passed away from a brain tumor nine months ago at the age of 28.
"We did everything we could do this week to challenge them to come out and play with some energy and it was just the opposite," said White. "It was the worst I've ever seen a team play in terms of the energy level. ... (Georgia) wanted to win worse than we did. It's as simple as that."
Despite trailing 14-0 early in the game, the Blaze were down just a touchdown at the half. In addition, they were receiving the opening kickoff of the third quarter with the chance to knot the game at 35 with a score.
Instead, the Georgia defense held, as Utah quarterback Joe Germaine's 4th-and-2 pass to J.J. McKelvey was tipped at the line of scrimmage. McKelvey actually adjusted to catch the pass, but it went for only one yard, giving the Force the ball at the Utah 13.
Two plays later, Georgia QB Chris Greisen's touchdown pass to Tiger Jones gave the Force a two-score lead.
The Blaze never got any closer.
Utah's second drive of the third quarter was even more frustrating. The Blaze drove the ball down the field and had a 1st-and-goal at the Georgia 10. After an eight-yard first down pass completion, the Blaze tried three straight running plays to get the ball into the end zone and failed each time.
"You ought to be able to get two yards," lamented White. "Any good team can run the ball and get two yards."
The Force then drove the length of the field and scored with under three minutes remaining in the third quarter to take a 49-28 lead.
Utah never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way, as more than half the crowd had exited the building before the clock read 0:00.
"I'm at a loss for words," said Germaine. "Honestly, I don't know if anyone on this team has been in this position before. I mean, we're 0-5 to start a year. It's tough. There's no getting around it."
Germaine completed 31-of-48 passes for 356 yards passing and seven touchdowns with no interceptions, but it went for naught. Aaron Boone caught a team-high 14 passes for 170 yards and a pair of scores, but had a ball stripped from him and returned for a TD in the first quarter that got the Blaze off to a slow start. Huey Whittaker added 11 catches for 161 yards and four scores.
Griesen led the Force with eight touchdown passes, including five to Tiger Jones.It won't get any easier for the Blaze next Saturday, as they will travel to Philadelphia to face the 5-0 Soul.
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