It was tough going for a number of Patriots in action across the pond in NFLEL this past weekend, both in terms of individual production and team success. Only three of New England's six spring allocations saw action in their team's games, and of the three only linebacker Grant Steen left the field a winner.
Steen's Frankfurt Galaxy won a hard fought, back-and-forth affair 23-20 over the visiting Rhein Fire and fellow Patriot Cedric James. Steen started at outside linebacker for the Galaxy (2-3) and finished the contest with a team-high 8 tackles. On the other side of the ball, James led the Fire (0-5) with four receptions for 52 yards (13.0 avg.) and kicked off the game's scoring with a 13-yard first quarter touchdown. The winless Fire actually led the contest 20-16 with less than a minute to play, but fell once again as Frankfurt scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass with just 16 seconds left to earn the three-point win.
Through five games this season with Frankfurt, Steen now has 28 tackles and three special teams stops. Similarly, James has 21 receptions for 341 yards (16.2 avg.) and two touchdowns for Rhein.
At the AOL Arena in Hamburg, Kory Chapman and the Centurions found themselves on the losing side of an error-filled affair for the second straight week, falling to 3-2 on the season with a 23-6 loss to the Sea Devils. Chapman carried the ball eight times for 19 yards (2.4 avg.) as Cologne was held to just 25 carries for 66 yards (2.6 avg.) as a team. Chapman also caught two passes for 31 yards and returned three kickoffs for 62 yards (20.7 avg.). Despite the ground struggles, Cologne trailed just 9-6 halfway through the fourth quarter. But the expansion Sea Devils sealed the win with a pair of late touchdowns, one on a 28-yard interception return and another on a 24-yard run minutes later that followed a sack and fumble by Cologne backup quarterback Chris Lewis.
In five starts in the backfield for Cologne Chapman has carried the ball 53 times for 239 yards (10.2 avg.) with one touchdown. He's added another six receptions for 61 yards and is averaging better than 19 yards per kickoff return.
The third game of the weekend, a game without a Patriots representative, saw the Thunder continue its winning ways to move into sole possession of first place with a 27-16 triumph over Amsterdam at Olympia Stadion in Berlin.
New England wide receiver Ricky Bryant did not play in Hamburg's win over Cologne.
The final two spring 2005 Patriots allocations, wide receiver Mark Bartosic and tight Joel Jacobs , remain on injured reserve with Rhein and Amsterdam respectively.
Following the weekend's action Berlin sits atop the NFLEL standings with its 4-1 mark, just one game ahead of a trio of 3-2 second place teams that includes Hamburg, Cologne and Amsterdam. Despite Week 5's strong effort in Frankfurt, Rhien remains in the basement of the league standings with a disappointing 0-5 mark at the season's midpoint.
Looking ahead to Week 6 action, Hamburg visits Rhein, Frankfurt heads to Amsterdam and first-place Berlin travels to Cologne.