Fever Drop Game #2, 64-50 to BillingsPosted: Updated:
BILLINGS, Mont. (by Tri-Cities Fever) –The Tri-Cities Fever knew it was going to be a tall order to go into Metra Park Arena and beat the defending Indoor Football League champions. And for the second straight game, it came down to mistakes, and the Fever made too many of them.
The Fever fell behind in the first half and could not recover, falling 64-50 to the Billings Outlaws on Sunday.
The Fever head into a bye week with an 0-2 record, and will play its home opener against the Kent Predators (0-3) at Toyota Center on March 27. The Fever has won two straight games at home, dating back to last season.
The Fever got off to the start it needed to against the Outlaws on Sunday, but could not keep pace with one of the league's best offenses. Quarterback Andy Collins capped the initial drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give Tri-Cities the quick 7-0 lead. That would be the Fever's last touchdown until 1:18 left in the first half.
While Billings was scoring touchdowns on all five of its first-half possessions, the Fever was settling for field goals and trailed 34-20 at halftime.
Tri-Cities, which lost to Fairbanks 69-67 in four overtimes last Monday, kept things close in the second half until the final minutes before the Outlaws (3-0) pulled away for good.
After Collins scored on one of his three rushing touchdowns of the game, the Fever climbed to within 48-38 with 10:39 left in the game.
But Billings quickly answered with an 8-yard scoring run by Eddie Linscomb to stretch the lead back to 17 at 55-38. The Fever then climbed back with 55-44, but had its extra point blocked and returned by the Outlaws for two points. Then the Fever could not convert on the onside kick. One play later Anthony Jones run in from 5 yards out to give Billings some breathing room at 64-44 with 2:03 left in the game.
The Fever added a late touchdown when Collins hit Thyron Lewis for an 8-yard touchdown pass and catch with 35.3 seconds remaining. It was Lewis' second touchdown catch of the game.
Billings, coming off a win at Colorado last week, could not be stopped on offense in the first half. The only hiccup was a missed extra point. Reigning league MVP Chris Dixon was 11-for-14 passing for 100 yards and three touchdowns. Dixon finished the game 16 of 22 for 198 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran seven times for 37 yards and another touchdown.
The Fever finally stopped the Outlaws on their opening drive of the second half, but could only get a field goal from Brett Jaekle to cut the margin to 34-23. Jaeklehad another strong game, hitting four field goals (43, 38, 30, 25).
Billings looked ready to deliver what could have been the knockout blow to start the fourth quarter. On first-and-goal from the Fever 4-yard line, the Outlaws fumbled and Montavis Pitts returned the ball 40 yards for a touchdown to make the score 41-32. It was the only turnover of the game.