There’s a lot of things you can say about it. We didn’t give ourselves a chance to play based on dumb play and injury. —Utah coach Ron James
SALT LAKE CITY — The story has been written countless times throughout the 2013 season. The Utah Blaze have suffered from self-inflicted errors ranging from costly mental mistakes to untimely turnovers.
The result? Five games below .500.
Utah (5-10) dropped its sixth game out of the last seven Saturday against New Orleans, 63-49, and for the third time this season has lost three consecutive games.
“There’s a lot of things you can say about it,” Utah coach Ron James said. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance to play based on dumb play and injury.”
Already eliminated from postseason contention, the Blaze continued to squander opportunities Saturday. After jumping out to a 21-14 lead late the second quarter, Utah stuttered offensively, which allotted the VooDoo an extra possession.
With five seconds remaining in the first half, New Orleans evened up the score at 21-21 when former Blaze wideout L.J. Castile corralled a 15-yard pass from Dixon.
“We did not do a good job having the ball in a one-minute drill; that should have been an easy scoring opportunity for us,” James said. “We’re not playing smart football. They got the 2-for-1 from us. It’s as simple as that.”
New Orleans entered Saturday as statistically the worst offense in the AFL in virtually every category. The VooDoo, however, topped the Blaze in first downs (11-7), passing yards (147-102), time of possession (16:25-13:35) and total offensive production (153-132) in the first 30 minutes.
“I thought the quarterback being out of shotgun put them at depth and the pressure really wasn’t getting there,” James said.Comment on this story
The VooDoo quickly opened up a 14-point cushion with 9:42 left in the third quarter. After scoring on the first possession, New Orleans’ Chris Brown returned a telegraphed pass to the house for a 35-21 advantage.
After a Utah score and onside kick recovery, New Orleans' lead appeared to be in serious jeopardy. But, once again, the Blaze coughed up possession when quarterback Jason Boltus fumbled at the VooDoo 2-yard line.
“It’s a different game if we go in and score and tie the game up at that point,” James said.