The opening week of the 2022 USFL season finished with a Monday night game featuring the Pittsburgh Maulers and the Tampa Bay Bandits. Football fans were happy to see an off-season Monday Night Football game.
The game got off to a fast start when USFL’s number two overall pick Jordan Ta’amu threw for 68 yards in eight plays on the first drive of the game ending with a run by BJ Emmons from the three-yard line. Before the first half ended Ta’amu connected with Jordan Lasley for his first USFL touchdown.
Pittsburgh had a slow start. Their indecisiveness on the starting quarterback would create an awkward first half where they did not attempt a pass until their third possession. The offensive line failed to offer enough protection to create gaps for the running backs Madre London and Garret Groshek.
The Maulers had some success on play-action which did create some good opportunities for Love, but the offensive line was unable to secure the time necessary for the plays to develop.
The Maulers trailed 17-3 at the half and attempted a second-half comeback. Quarterbacks Josh Love and Kyle Lauletta split snaps, but Love took the majority of plays. Love would finish the game going 9 for 16 and 121 yards. Jordan Ta’amu would complete 18 of 30 and pass for 164 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
The Maulers’ defense was stout in the final quarters of the game allowing zero points, but the offense was unable to capitalize on three trips to the RedZone.
In the fourth, the Maulers were unable to convert on a 4th down conversion to stay in the game. They would go on to lose the first game of the season 17-3.
The Maulers’ next game will be Saturday against the Philadelphia Stars.