Make it seven straight losses for the New Orleans VooDoo, although coach Pat O’Hara found some reasons for optimism after this defeat.
The VooDoo was unable to overcome a late surge by the Pittsburgh Power and fell 48-43 on Monday night at the Smoothie King Center.
“We made a couple mistakes, but I was really satisfied with our effort tonight,” O’Hara said. “Pittsburgh is a very good team; they may very well represent our conference in the Arena Bowl.”
Quarterback Adam Kennedy led the way for the VooDoo, going 24-for-39 with 304 passing yards and six touchdowns (four through the air). Quorey Payne had 13 catches for 137 yards and two score.
The ultimate undoing of the VooDoo (2-13) appeared to come with 5:50 left in the fourth quarter when it was inside the Pittsburgh 15-yard line with an opportunity — trailing 41-37 — to the lead. But Kennedy was sacked on fourth down, ending the drive and, essentially, the VooDoo’s chances.
Quarterback Tommy Grady led the Power (13-3) by going 21-for-37 with 296 passing yards and seven touchdowns. Wide receiver Prechae Rodriguez had seven catches for 154 yards and five score.
“We had a couple blown situations on our back end, which is unusual,” O’Hara said. “We can’t afford to give a team like Pittsburgh some of the easy touchdowns they got.”
Kennedy had a 1-yard touchdown run with 13 minutes left to give the VooDoo a 37-34 lead after a missed point-after attempt by kicker Jose Martinez. Grady answered with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Rodriguez less than a minute and a half later, allowing the Power to reclaim the lead at 41-37.
Both teams started the game slowly, but they brought out the fireworks in the final two minutes of the first half.
Grady started it with a 4-yard touchdown pass to fullback Tommy Taggart to tie the score at 14. After a failed onside kick, the VooDoo pounced on the Power’s mistake with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Kennedy to Payne.
Less than 20 seconds later, Grady answered with a 38-yard bomb to a wide-open Rodriguez, tying the score at 21. Martinez made it 24-21 with a 45-yard field goal as the half ended.
“At this point in the season, you are looking for effort from your guys,” O’Hara said. “There are no moral victories, but we were able to make up for some of our mistakes with our effort, and that is always promising.”
The VooDoo visits Jacksonville at 6 p.m. next Monday.