It was Throwback Night at Ak-Chin Field at US Airways Center. The Arizona Rattlers wore retro uniforms, the same ones in which the 1997 team toppled Kurt Warner and the Iowa Barnstormers for their second Arena Bowl championship.
Their opponent, the Chicago Rush, bought into the theme of the evening, handing out a good, old-fashioned butt-whooping to the Rattlers.
Carson Coffman threw for 262 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another and the Chicago defense forced seven Rattlers’ turnovers in a 63-42 win in front of 11,353 fans in the Snakepit.
Trailing 35-28 to start the second half, the Rattlers’ defense bent but didn’t break and forced Chicago into a 24-yard field goal attempt from Jose Martinez, which missed wide right.
But Arizona’s offense, which sputtered all night, couldn’t capitalize. On a third down from the Rattlers’ 20-yard line, Nick Davila was picked off by Rush DB Vic Hall, who brought the ball back to the Arizona 18-yard line. It was one of Hall’s three interceptions on the evening.
Chicago pounced on the opportunity, using some trickery in the process. On a second and nine from the Arizona 17, Coffman threw a lateral to receiver Reggie Gray, who then threw across the field to wide open eligible tackle Colin Madison for a 16-yard score to increase the Rush’s lead to two touchdowns.
Chicago’s lead would grow to four touchdowns following a fumble return for a touchdown by Jorrick Calvin and a Coffman to Jared Jenkins touchdown pass.
Arizona (14-3) crept to within two scores when Rod Windsor made a diving catch of a Jason Murrietta pass with just over three minutes to play, but the Rattlers would get no closer.
With the loss, the Rattlers failed to complete their first undefeated home regular season since 1996.
Davila finished the game 17-of-33 for 235 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. It marked the first time in the lefty’s AFL career that he threw more interceptions than touchdowns in a game. To his defense, the quarterback was plagued by dropped passes from his receiving corps all night long.
The Rattlers will close out the regular season next Saturday in Des Moines against the Iowa Barnstormers, then return home to begin the Arena Football League playoffs Sunday, August 4 at US Airways Center.