Updated: August 2, 2012 10:38AM
The Rush won’t need a magnifying glass to dissect its game Saturday against the San Jose SaberCats at Allstate Arena. The team made glaring mistakes throughout, resulting in a 75-61 loss, its first home defeat this season.
The Rush (9-6), which fell a half-game behind the SaberCats (10-6) for the fourth and final playoff spot in the National Conference, fumbled twice, muffed a kick return and allowed a fourth-quarter kick return for a touchdown.
The SaberCats turned two Rush miscues in the first half into touchdowns, helping them take a 21-point lead at halftime. Reggie Gray fumbled a kickoff on the Rush 4-yard line in the first quarter, and J.J. Payne muffed a kick off the net in the second quarter, giving the SaberCats the ball on the 2.
“Those guys get paid on the other side, too,” Rush coach Bob McMillen said. “They went out, they knocked the ball out. When you get in a hole like that and you turn the ball over twice in the game, it’s tough to fight back.”
In the fourth quarter, with the Rush down 15 and driving in SaberCats territory, quarterback Russ Michna lost a fumble, and the SaberCats scored on the ensuing drive.
“We’ve put ourselves behind the 8-ball, there’s no doubt,” said Michna, whose team faces the prospect of missing the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. “This is the crazy thing about this game. We have a couple of bad bounces, and all of a sudden you’re in chase mode.”
The turning point came on the last play of the first half. After the SaberCats drove the ball to the Rush 1, they had one play to score. Quarterback Mark Grieb was hurried and forced to throw. The ball was tipped by a number of players before SaberCats lineman Jasper Harvey made a diving catch in the end zone.