What a difference a week made for the Patriots European allocations. After suffering through a tough weekend, both in terms of individual performance and team success, New England's trio found the going in Week 6 much more to its liking.
Running back Kory Chapman headed the list with an impressive 13-carry, 94-yard performance in Cologne's spirited win over perennial league power Berlin. Chapman and the Centurions had been struggling a bit heading into the contest, but the 24-year-old Patriots backup did his best to get the team back on track.
Chapman was strong from the outset, carrying eight times for 45 yards in the first half as the Centurions took a slim 10-7 lead into the locker room. After Berlin rallied to take a 17-10 lead, Chapman helped bring his team back with a 13-yard touchdown run that tied the game with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Cologne's defense then forced a three-and-out, and a good punt return set up the go-ahead touchdown with 5:31 left. The 23-17 win moved Cologne to 4-2 on the season and moved the Centurions into a three-way tie for first with Berlin and Amsterdam.
Chapman's strong effort moved him into fifth place on the league's rushing list. For the season, he's rushed for 333 yards on 66 carries (5.0 per attempt) with two touchdowns.
Elsewhere, wide receiver Cedric James and his Rhein Fire broke into the win column with a 24-19 victory over Hamburg at the LTU Arena in Dusseldorf. James, who actually has enjoyed a pretty strong season individually, finally was able to see his efforts not go to waste. James caught four passes for 78 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown early in the second quarter that put the Fire on top, 14-0.
Despite Rhein's dismal 1-5 mark, James has enjoyed his taste of European football. He ranks second in the league in receptions with 25 (actually tied with former Patriot practice squad member Michael Jennings) and second in receiving yards with 419. He's also tied for third (with fellow Patriots wideout Ricky Bryant) with four touchdowns.
The third and final game of the weekend was a mixed bag in terms of Patriots interests. Linebacker Grant Steen and his Frankfurt Galaxy teammates were blitzed by Amsterdam, 48-10. But Steen led all players with nine tackles, eight of which were unassisted. Steen leads all Galaxy players with 38 tackles for the year.
For the second week in a row, Bryant did not participate in Hamburg's loss to Rhein. Also, wideout Mark Bartosic and tight end Joel Jacobs remain on injured reserve with Rhein and Amsterdam, respectively.
Through six weeks of play, Cologne, Amsterdam and Berlin sit atop the standings with 4-2 marks, followed by Hamburg (3-3), Frankfurt (2-4) and Rhein (1-5). Week 7 will feature three Saturday games with Rhein traveling to Berlin, Amsterdam at Hamburg and Cologne at Frankfurt.