Takeaways from USFL’s second weekend: Jeff Fisher still searching for first win – EMEA TRIBUNE

The second weekend of the rebooted USFL saw four more contests staged in Birmingham, Alabama.

The New Jersey Generals held off the Michigan Panthers on Friday as anemic offenses made for a low-scoring affair, but the scoring picked up in the second game as the Philadelphia Stars beat the Pittsburgh Maulers 30-23 early Saturday afternoon.

The Birmingham Stallions play the Houston Gamblers Saturday night, and the weekend wraps up with a Sunday afternoon game between the New Orleans Breakers and Tampa Bay Bandits.

Here are some takeaways from the second weekend of action in the rebooted spring football league:

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Jeff Fisher still searching for first win

Jeff Fisher compiled 173 regular-season wins over 22 years in the NFL spent with the Titans and Rams franchises. But after two weeks, he’s still searching for win No. 1 in the USFL.

His Michigan Panthers fell 10-6 to the New Jersey Generals as quarterback Shea Patterson’s last-gasp pass as time expired fell incomplete when he tried to target Lance Lenoir Jr. in the end zone. Though the Panthers had the ball at the Generals’ 16-yard line with a chance to win, their offense could not get the job done – which was a theme of the night.

Michigan Panthers head coach Jeff Fisher is still looking for his first win in the USFL.
Michigan Panthers head coach Jeff Fisher is still looking for his first win in the USFL.

Michigan finished the game with just 183 total yards and averaged 3.1 yards per play. Of particular concern was the play of Patterson, the former University of Michigan quarterback who was the first overall pick in the USFL draft. He completed just 14 of his 29 attempts (48.3%) for 124 yards.

Some credit should go to the Generals’ defense to be sure, but the Panthers clearly have plenty of work to do after scoring 12 points in Week 1.

Serious injury puts damper on Friday night’s game

Football is a dangerous game, as we were unfortunately reminded this weekend.

Michigan Panthers tight end Joey Magnifico had to be carted off the field after appearing to sustain a serious leg injury after he was rolled up before halftime in Friday night’s game against the New Jersey Generals. Magnifico was transported from Protective Stadium to a Birmingham-area hospital, per the broadcast.

Magnifico, a former University of Memphis player who is the head coach at his high school alma mater, was joined on the field by his father, the broadcast said.

Pandemic-like attendance

It seems that the folks in Birmingham didn’t want to pay $10 and had better things to do on a sunny afternoon, judging by the attendance at Protective Stadium in the Week 2 matchup between the Philadelphia Stars and Pittsburgh Maulers.

The crowd shots by the camera showed some sections of the stadium tarped off and more people on the sidelines doing their jobs for the FOX broadcast than actually in the stands.

Pittsburgh Maulers linemen celebrate a touchdown against the Philadelphia Stars in front of mostly empty stands.

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Offensive explosion

Things got interesting in a hurry thanks to Maulers head coach Kirby Wilson. When asked before the game what it would take to get their first victory, Wilson replied, “I’m gonna keep my foot on the gas and my thumb in their (expletive).”

Well, there you go.

Both teams got off to a rough start, with each quarterback being sacked on their first play from scrimmage, and the Stars turned the ball over the first two times they had the ball. But the action picked up as the game progressed.

Philadelphia Stars wide receiver Maurice Alexander (13) celebrates a touchdown reception against the Pittsburgh Maulers during the first half.

The scoring got underway with a 25-yard field goal by Pittsburgh’s Ramiz Ahmed with 3:41 left in the first quarter, with the first touchdown being scored by Philadelphia when Bryan Scott, who finished 26-for-36 and 272 yards and four total touchdowns, found Diondre Overton for a 3-yard strike.

In the first five USFL games, no more than 23 points were scored by any team, but Philadelphia scored hit the 30-point mark midway through the fourth quarter.

First 3-point conversion

The first successful three-point conversion in the league took place in the fourth quarter when Scott went back to pass and hit Paul Terry who scored from 10 yards out to give Philadelphia a 30-23 lead. The conversion came after Scott found a wide-open Maurice Alexander for a 10-yard score.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: USFL Week 2 takeaways: Jeff Fisher still searching for first win

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