Too little offense Friday night, too late to rally at the Smoothie King Center.
The New Orleans VooDoo, plagued by another slow start, exited a 51-34 loss to the Cleveland Gladiators aware that the defense played well enough to win, but the offense failed to contribute enough to halt a growing losing streak.
The VooDoo scored six points in the first half, the second-lowest total this season. After trailing 23-6 at halftime, the VooDoo traded scores with Cleveland, which proved to not be enough.
The VooDoo dropped to 2-10, losers of its past six games. Cleveland, led by Shane Austin’s six touchdown passes, improved to 7-5.
His quarterback counterpart, the VooDoo’s Adam Kennedy, didn’t enjoy the same success, throwing for 260 yards and four scores. He was also sacked twice.
“Each week, we seem to find another way to not put it all together,” Kennedy said. “This week, it was the offense.”
While receiver Charles McClain, a recent signee who played for VooDoo coach Dean Cokinos in the Professional Indoor Football League, showed flashes, he, like the rest of the offense, made too many mistakes early to overcome late — from dropped passes to turnovers.
“We just didn’t make the plays in the first half,” said McClain, who finished with eight catches for 144 yards and three TDs. “We didn’t do anything different in the second half; we just stressed taking care of the ball.”
The VooDoo failed to convert fourth downs on three possessions, and on another in the second quarter, receiver Roger “Spiderman” Jackson fumbled after a 12-year catch, the offense’s first play of the quarter.
Despite a 17-point halftime deficit, the VooDoo attempted a second-half rally.
With 5:37 left, the defense stopped Cleveland quarterback Shane Austin on fourth down, leading to a VooDoo scoring drive: Kennedy found Charles McClain for a 14-yard score, trimming the deficit to 37-27.
But Cleveland scored on its ensuing possession. After the Gladiators recovered an onside kick, Austin threw a 5-yard score to Collin Taylor with 54 seconds left.