Because of three road games and one home game that I had to miss, I have not seen the Chicago Rush in over a month. I was really itching to get back to the action.
A lot has happened since my last game. The league has taken over the team and the future is a bit cloudy. I refuse to use "doubtful" for the Rush's future, not with so much positive feelings everywhere I look.
I worked for years for a company with a constant uncertain future. It is stressful and unpleasant, but that was kept within the confines of our office. The Rush organization is experiencing the cloudy situation on a big stage in front of everyone and they are all showing their class, grace and professionalism. Their positive outlook is palpable and contagious.
The game on Sunday promised to be a great one and it did not disappoint. Tied for 1st in the Central Division, the Rush (4-4) hosted the Arizona Rattlers (7-1), who were in 1st place in the West Division. This would be a big test for the Rush. Despite the 56-49 loss, I believe the Rush passed the test.
Arizona jumped out to a 7-0 lead and expanded the lead to 35-21 at halftime. The lead grew to 21 at various points of the second half, but the Rush kept coming back. The Rush closed the gap to 56-49 with just under six minutes left in the game. The Rush actually had a shot at putting the game into overtime, but they fell just short on the last minute drive.
Despite the outcome, there were many positive points. The Rush got 210 yards on 9 kickoff returns, including Rodney Wright’s 57 yard return for a score. Several Rush defenders came within inches of interceptions. The Rush matched up with the Rattlers statistically for most of the categories. The one big exception was Red Zone production, where the Rush went 2-5 and the Rattlers went 6-6.
This is all even more remarkable considering that quarterback Luke Drone was recently signed and had only one day to practice. Regular quarterback Carson Coffman is nursing an injured ankle. Drone hit some big passes and looked sharp all things considered.
The crowd of roughly 5,000 also remained positive. They cheered throughout and I don’t think anyone left early. The game was just that exciting.
JohngysBeat.com’s Matt Parker talked to Drone and linebacker Kelvin Morris after the game (see accompanying videos). They were disappointed with the loss, proud of the effort and positive for the future, as was Coach Bob McMillen in the post-game media session.
The next four games are critical for the Rush playoffs hope. The Rush head to New Orleans and Orlando, followed by two “home” games in Rockford. Three out of four will bring the Rush to 8-8, with 5 more games left.
You might want to call me a biased journalist, but I defy anyone to attend a Rush game and not feel the same. I will be following Les Grobstein’s call for the two away games, but I cannot wait to watch the Rush in person in Rockford in three weeks. I hope you are enjoying the Rush season with me.