Turnovers put Rattlers in hole they can't escape - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Turnovers put Rattlers in hole they can't escape

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Posted: Monday, June 16, 2008 11:21 pm | Updated: 11:49 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Rattlers, with a No. 3 playoff seed assured, had nothing much to play for Monday night.

It showed in a lethargic, 62-55 nationally televised Arena Football League loss to the Colorado Crush at US Airways Center.

The Rattlers had their four-game win streak broken. The string had attracted leaguewide attention and generated coach of the year talk for the Rattlers' Kevin Guy.

"Maybe we were believing our own press clippings," Guy said.

That the Rattlers (8-7) would have a long night showed on the first play, when the Crush (5-10) recovered the opening kickoff off the net and scored.

This was one of four early turnovers - they had five total - that doomed them. One, a fumble by quarterback Matt Sauk, turned into a 17-yard recovery run for a touchdown by Colorado's Jason Harmon.

John Dutton threw for 256 yards and six touchdowns for the Crush. Ben Nelson had 10 catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

Sauk threw two interceptions. One came in the fourth quarter and was returned for a touchdown by Colorado's Rashad Floyd to give the Crush a 62-35 lead and wrap up the game.

The Rattlers made a last-minute run by recovering two onside kicks, scoring both times.

But they were too far behind. A third onside kick was recovered by the Crush.

Guy said he hoped the Rattlers' lackluster performance wasn't influenced by the fact they can't move up or down in the playoff seedings.

"We preached against that. Whether I did a bad job of explaining that, or they didn't listen ..."

Siaha Burley had four touchdown catches for the Rattlers. Trandon Harvey caught a touchdown pass, moving him into the No. 5 spot in team history with 54.

Sauk completed 29 of 35 passes for 364 yards and eight touchdowns. But he also had the three turnovers.

The loss continued a disappointing home season (3-4). By contrast, the Rattlers seem fearless on the road, where they finished 5-3.

"We've had two or three games at home where we've come out slow," Guy said. "Maybe I have to evaluate what our guys are doing with their time during the day."

The Rattlers have one game left: at home vs. Utah on Saturday.

They will host a playoff game in late June.

Quarterback Jeff Smoker, who has been banged up in recent weeks, ran in a 2-point conversion off a fake kick.

Sauk has played well in recent weeks and remains the starter, Guy indicated, though he added, "We'll have to look at the film."

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