Chicago too cold for Thunderbolts

By Troy Pringle - Enforcers Team Reporter

Chicago -- (26 March 2001) - For the past several weeks, everyone, including me, has been ragging the Chicago defense for sloppy play. They aren't playing tight enough coverage. Offenses are passing all over the Enforcers "D".

Does this make us bad fans? No. In a league that the media is avoiding or trying to push into a non-existence, we want to see our team, the Chicago Enforcers, succeed.

And succeed is what they are beginning to do. A three game home-winning streak brought Chicago back into a playoff race after starting the season 0-4. Realizing that this team has been in every single game this season up to the closing seconds in each, the intensity is soaring. With front row seats at historic Soldier Field, I, and every other frozen body in the stands, felt the electricity flowing from the Enforcers sideline.

Check out these stats! Four interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and a blocked field goal…oh, we can't forget the Ray Austin shelling on Birmingham QB, Jay Barker. That happened to be the only "Thunderbolt" the fans saw all night that included the Birmingham offense. (Again, I am not a guy who likes to see players get injured, but you have to admit…it was an awesome play.)

The defense took the game over from the Bolts first drive. After turning the ball over at the one-yard line last week against the Outlaws, the Bolts continued to help the other team score. The Enforcers ensured a victory…better yet, a 13-0 shut-out, with three turnovers inside the red zone including an Aaron Humphrey blocked field goal.

Although the score was considerably low compared to the XFL-standards, the Chicago fans were treated to a little bit of everything. From the first snap of the game, John Avery blew past the storm on his way to a 74-yard touchdown run and 180 rushing yards for the game. Kevin McDougal came through with some clutch passing plays allowing the defense to rest long enough to keep the intensity high.

With a 13-0 victory, the Enforcers find themselves in a second place tie with the New York/New Jersey Hitmen. For both of these teams, the most important game of the entire season comes this Saturday, March 31 on NBC, 7:00 CST. Though it will not be guaranteed, the winner of this weekend's game will more than likely be the team to meet the Xtreme in the first round of the play-offs.

This Saturday, my eyes are going to be locked on the Enforcers-Hitmen brawl. I look forward to an exciting game as there is a lot to gain and nothing to lose for either of these teams. Hopefully, more than you, and the two million other weekly viewers, will be by my side and tuned in to this battle.