Shock Face Must-Win Game In Portland - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Shock Face Must-Win Game In Portland

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The Spokane Shock face a must-win game on Sunday. The Spokane Shock face a must-win game on Sunday.

by Shock Media Relations

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Shock (3-8, 0-3) will go on the road in Week 13 to take on a Pacific Division opponent in the Portland Thunder (3-8, 1-2) at the Moda Center on Sunday, June 21 at 7 p.m. PT. This weekend's game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and available on WatchESPN. Game coverage will also be available on the Shock-VPI Radio Network starting at 6:30 p.m. PT on AM 700 ESPN Spokane.

The Shock lead the all-time series 3-1 with all three victories coming during the 2014 regular season as a part of Portland's inaugural season in the AFL.

In the first of three matchups between the two teams slated for 2015, Portland was able to capitalize off of back-to-back defensive scores by Jack linebacker Bryce Peila (46-yard interception return, 3-yard fumble return) early in the third quarter. Trading scores the remainder of the game, Spokane would have a final opportunity for a go ahead score in the final minute of play but the Thunder defense would intercept Shock quarterback Danny Southwick for the third time on the night to seal the 47-43 win at the Moda Center.

This weekend's matchup will contain playoff implications for both teams. The Shock need a win in order record their first division victory and to even the series with the Thunder prior to their final matchup of the regular season scheduled for July 25 in Spokane that could set up playoff tie-breaker rules.

San Jose has already locked up their Pacific Division title this season and unless Arizona loses all but one of their final seven games while Las Vegas wins out, the Rattlers are also in route to completing their West Division title run.

The Spokane loss to Las Vegas last weekend pushed the Outlaws one game ahead of Portland and the Shock in the wildcard hunt in the national conference with a 4-8 overall record. Las Vegas will, however, have to face off against the Thunder two more times in the regular season and the Shock once.

Portland enters Week 13 in the midst of a four-game losing streak which includes a 17-point loss to the Rattler's last weekend at the Moda Center and a 40-52 loss on the road against the Los Angeles Kiss in Week 11 (the Kiss' first win of 2015).

The Thunder have relied primarily on veteran quarterback Kyle Rowley this season, who has made appearances in 10-of-11 contests under center. Rowley has completed 179-of-309 pass attempts (57.9 percent) for 1,992 yards, 36 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and five rushing scores.

Last weekend against Arizona, Rowley struggled through the first three quarters as he completed 9-of-20 pass attempts for 94 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, and one sack. Alex Carder entered the game in relief of Rowley in the second half and led the Thunder to three scoring drives as he completed 8-of-16 for 137 yards, one interception, and was sacked three times.

While the Thunder have been relatively stable at quarterback this season, Spokane has experienced another year of ups and downs due to injuries at the position. After playing four different signal callers through the first half of the season, Spokane appears to have settled in with rookie Warren Smith. This past week, however, Arvell Nelson was activated from the refuse to report list and will join Spokane's active roster as the third quarterback alongside Smith and Carson Coffman, raising questions as to who might be getting the snaps this weekend in Portland.

Nelson signed with the Shock during the free agency period last off-season, but elected to take a full-time job closer to his family and so did not report for training camp or the first twelve weeks. During his limited action under center in Spokane in 2013 while playing backup to MVP and Offensive Player of the Year Erik Meyer, Nelson completed 16-of-20 pass attempts for 162 yards and nine total touchdowns (four rushing). He also added nine receptions for 67 yards and six scores. With Pittsburgh in 2014, Nelson took an expanded role on the defensive side of the ball at Jack linebacker that he showed he was more than capable of handling during his rookie season in Spokane. He started 14 games at Jack for the Power and collected 60 total tackles.

The receiver position has also been a difficult pill to swallow for the Shock this season. After a season ending injury to Mike Washington (Achilles), the team's second leading receiver in Rashaad Carter went down with a thumb injury that required surgery and is expected to keep him out of another 2-3 games. Since those players' departure, rookie receiver Anthony Amos and Nick Truesdell have taken on expanded roles for the Shock and stepped up effectively in relief. Amos currently leads the team with 67 receptions for 735 yards and 13 touchdowns while Truesdell has recorded 37 receptions for 512 yards and 11 scores on the season.

Portland receiver Jared Perry has become the most consistent piece of the Thunder's offense the past four weeks which includes a nine reception, 150 yard, and four touchdown performance last week in a losing effort against Arizona. V'Keon Lacey is the only receiver to have played in all 11 games so far this season and has recorded a team-high 68 receptions for 746 yards and 15 touchdowns. Duane Brooks has seen action in ten games and added 39 receptions for 357 yards and six touchdowns.

Offensively, both teams have struggled this season as Spokane is ranked seventh in the AFL scoring at 48.7 points per game. The Shock tied their all-time lowest point total (28) in a game against San Jose on May 16 in an 83-28 loss to the Sabercats before being held to a new all-time low (26) in San Jose on June 5. Portland enters Week 13 ranked tenth in the AFL in offensive points per game at 44.9.

Defensively, the two squads sit at the bottom two spots in the AFL. Portland has given up 55.7 points per game to their opponents while Spokane has allowed 58.5.

The two teams have also had their issues protecting the football as Spokane has recorded a -7 turnover margin so far this season, while Portland has posted a -12.

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