ANAHEIM, CA - Last time I was at a professional football game in Anaheim on a Sunday afternoon was sometime in December of 1994. The last pro game the Rams played at the “Bigger A” was Christmas Eve of ’94 which was a Saturday.
The Rams lost to Washington, 24-21 then headed to St. Louis.
I was, rudely, welcomed back with another disappointing performance on the field by the home team.
On this Sunday – May 4th 2014 – just short of 20 years later, I’m sitting in the Honda Center hockey press box, not to watch the Anaheim Ducks, but the Arena Football League’s newest franchise – the LA KISS, owned by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the legendary rock group, KISS – take on the Spokane Shock with 10,552 fans in the building and a National TV audience on ESPN2.
How can you not like an indoor football game with go-go dancers in cages high atop each back corner of both end zones?
I’ll tell you how. When the home team – the KISS – embarrasses itself with a 70-21 drubbing at the hands of the Spokane Shock.
Before the KISS could get anything going and thanks to two turnovers – one an interception by QB J.J. Raterink, who had three in the game, and then a muffed kickoff off the end zone crossbar A.J. Cruz couldn't recover - they found themselves down 28-0 early in the second quarter.
Spokane QB Erik Meyer threw for two scores completing 10 of 17 passes for 89 yards and ran for two more before being sacked by L.A. LB Beau Bell on his throwing shoulder sending him to the bench for good with an unspecified collarbone injury.
The KISS threatened to make a game of it scoring twice in the last three minutes of the first half. J.J Raterink (9 of 30, 101 yards 2 TD’s, 3 INT’s, 2 sacks) found Samie Parker for a four-yard touchdown making the score 28-7.
On the Shock’s ensuing drive that stalled, kicker Taylor Rowan missed a 33-yard field goal attempt that was taken off the end zone cage by Cruz and returned 50-yards for another KISS score cutting the lead in half, 28-14. Looked as if it was going to be a party all night long, and it was………for the Shock.
Taking over the QB duties for the Shock was wide receiver – yes, I said wide receiver - Rashaad Carter who looked like he was meant to play quarterback. He completed 4 of 7 passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns both coming in the last 31 seconds of the second quarter.
The first on a 45 yard bomb to Brandon Thompkins who finished with seven catches for 89yards. Then Adron Tennell got into the act after one of the KISS turnovers - L.A. had five in the game - catching one of his three TD scores from 13 yards out.
That made the halftime score, 42-14 and all the crowd had to look forward to – aside from the go-go dancers in their cages at each far corner of both end zones - was the concert by Flashback Heart Attack appropriately covering Flock of Seagulls “I Ran (So Far Away).”
The KISS opened the second half with a 15 yard score from Raterink to Donovan Morgan making the score 42-21. The wouldn't get any closer as turnovers inside L.A.'s own one yard line helped Spokane score the next four unanswered touchdowns.
The KISS fall to 2-5 on the season losing their third straight. They head to Cleveland on Saturday to take on the Gladiators who started L.A. on its losing streak with a 40-20 win last month at Honda Center.