Lions Eat Bulls
All-Mitsubishi Make It Two Wins From Two Ahead Of Clash With Obic Seagulls
All Mitsubishi Lions pulled away in the second half from a game but limited Bulls team to win 36-7 at an unseasonably hot Fujitsu Stadium on Saturday.
The Bulls had some bright moments but twice followed up big plays with turnovers and gave the ball away four times in total, something which would be hard for any side to overcome, and virtually impossible for one that scores so few points.
Somewhat surprisingly there was only a singe score in it at half time as the lack of finishing ability the Lions displayed in their opener carried over to this contest, and the Bulls managed a TD with 14 seconds left in the opening period. Whatever promise that score gave was snuffed out immediately after the restart as the Lions found paydirt on a four-play, 55-yard drive that took just 90 seconds and ended with a 26 yard Shoma Taniguichi completion to TE Shunsuke Sofue.
The Lions would add another couple of touchdowns - one with a two-point conversion – that put the final score just four points over our pre-game prediction. Had the Lions kicked a field goal on that last scoring drive instead of reaching the endzone, we’d have looked positively clairvoyant.
Despite two wins from two games, things aren’t quite clicking for the Lions so far and they’ve left almost as many points on the field as they’ve scored. The performances have been uneven.
The same can’t be said for their cheerleaders though. They put on their usual impressive and athletic half time show and kept up the energy up all game long. We’ve an interview with the captain of that group Kiyono Kajiwara below.
Every time the Bulls got a big play it seemed they immediately followed it up with a turnover. That kind of momentum killer can be hard for a team to deal with. For the Bulls that goes doubly so, as their most obvious problem is a lack of big plays. From time to time they complete a 15 or 16 yard pass but there is no deep threat or player that can break off a long run. It means opponents can stack the box and play their safeties up. That in turn makes it difficult for the Bulls to establish any kind of running game.
While they can get a few first downs it’s too big of an ask to string enough of them together to sustain a long drive. The tendency of their QBs to throw on the run across their body over the middle doesn’t help either, but that what you get with a generation that grew up watching Brett Favre on TV. The Bulls never let their heads drop though and despite being outmatched every week they always put in a solid shift and give full effort. They’ll be up against it again next game when they face the Pirates but with Hawkeye, Minerva and the Eagles in the back half of the schedule they’ll be looking to finish stronger and get a win or maybe even two if they allow themselves to dream a little.
The Lions have grander ambitions. They want to gain promotion to the Super Nine at the end of the season. On the evidence of the first two games that may be more difficult than expected. Their final two games against the Creators and Silver Star look a lot tougher than they did when the sechedule was released. Before that though All-Mitsubishi have two weeks to prepare for the Seagulls and while they can’t really be expected to win, a good performance would certainly be a confidence builder.
- John Gunning: September 5th 2017
All Mitsubishi Lions (36) - (7) Bulls Football Club
Photos: Chris Pfaff ・John Gunning - September 9th 2017: Fujitsu Stadium