SAN ANTONIO—The Rush (5-2) displayed the epitome of a team game Saturday afternoon, but gave up the lead with 1:22 left and lost 56-55 to the San Antonio Talons (4-3) at the Alamodome.On the final offensive drive, quarterback Russ Michna (25-33, 255 yards, 4 TD) drove the team down to the San Antonio 13-yard line with seven seconds left. A decision to run one final offensive play ended up being a costly gamble as Michna was flushed out of the pocket and couldn’t get out of bounds before time expired.
“Our game plan was to run one final offensive play and then have Mike (Salerno) get in there and kick it if we didn’t score,” said Head Coach Bob McMillen, “The (San Antonio) pass rush forced Russ to improvise and he did the best he could given the situation.”
Rush kicker Mike Salerno set up the opportunity for the Talons to gain their first lead of the game by missing an extra point after JLB Kelvin Morris (2 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FR, 1 TD) returned an interception for a touchdown with 6:03 left in the fourth quarter. San Antonio quarterback Aaron Garcia (23-32, 219 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT) would drive the Talons 39 yards in five plays and hit WR Burl Toler for a 13-yard touchdown pass, allowing kicker Marc Demos to play hero and drive home the winning point.It was a disappointing ending to an effort that saw six different receivers catch passes, five players score touchdowns and fullback J.J. Payne (46 total yards, 1 TD) use his longest rush of the year to put the Rush up right away in the first quarter.Talons quarterback Aaron Garcia was as good as advertised, but two uncharacteristic second quarter possessions provided the Rush with their largest advantage of the afternoon. The first turnover had defensive back Semaj Moody cutting in front of the intended receiver for his first interception on the season. The second Garcia turnover was a fumbled snap recovered by JLB Kelvin Morris at the Talons 1-yard line. Those two mistakes led to Chicago holding 14-point leads on two separate occasions, before a third touchdown reception by Talons WR Derek Lee allowed San Antonio to pull the game to 35-28 at halftime.Twenty-four combined penalties aided the extension of many drives for San Antonio and the Rush. The longer the game stayed within one score, the less tolerant both teams became as unsportsmanlike conduct penalties littered the afternoon. Chicago wide receiver Terrance Turner built on his success from last week, hauling in ten passes for 95 yards, but was denied a touchdown. His batterymate Reggie Gray (4 catches, 27 yards, 2 TD) climbed to within two receiving touchdowns and one all-purpose touchdown of the Rush franchise records. Both touchdown receptions had Gray showing off his grittiness, with the first having him tackled over the wall and the second seeing him gauntlet his way through four Talon defenders.Rush defensive lineman Xavier Brown and Jeffrey Fitzgerald tallied sacks of Aaron Garcia, while backup quarterback Luke Drone recorded two rushing touchdowns.The loss drops the Rush’s Central Division lead to one, making their match up with rival Iowa all the more crucial. The two rivals will square off at Allstate Arena May 6th at 3:00 p.m.