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Recap: Michigan Panthers Maul the Pittsburgh Maulers in Season Finale (33-21)

The end of the season came for two teams this Father’s Day as the two last-place teams came out for one final fight. This time around, as it was announced Friday, the battle of the last places teams would be fighting for the first-round draft pick in the 2023 USFL season but not the way we are all used to. This time around, the game’s winner would get the first-round draft pick and the first pick in each round of the draft. 

After a star-studded performance from the Panther’s defense and Paxton Lynch on the offense side of the ball, the Panthers have defeated the Maulers 33-21 in the season finale. The Panthers secured their second win of the season and second win against the Pittsburgh Maulers; the Maulers didn’t try to make a comeback in the second half but came up short. The biggest issue for the Maulers today was turnovers that led to touchdowns. 

Michigan Panthers claim victory for a second time this season again the Pittsburgh Maulers in this Season Finale

Paxton Lynch officially started his first game back since week 3 of the season when they last won and played the Pittsburgh Maulers. With the second drive in the game, the Michigan Panthers punted the ball, and Isiah Hennie received the kick. As he took off, he got hit, and the ball came loose, which set the Panthers up for a first and ten on the Pittsburgh’s 22 yard line; this led to the first points on the board with Paxton Lynch throwing to Ishmael Hyman for a five-play, 17-yard touchdown pass which was followed up by a good extra point by Cole Murphy bringing the score 7-0. 

On the very next drive, Michigan Panthers Justin Hughes forced a fumble from Mikey Daniel, and the ball was recovered by Cory Rahman and ran in for a touchdown; Cole Murphy again kicked an extra point bringing the score to 14-0, and just like that two turnovers get the Maulers down by 14 in the first quarter.

Maulers continue to struggle in the 2nd Quarter

 

If it wasn’t for the struggles the Maulers have faced throughout the entire season continued in the second quarter of this game when the Panthers went up by an additional seven within six and half minutes into the 2nd quarter. The Maulers continued to not do much on offense and kept punting the ball away, with five minutes remaining in half; the Maulers ran a drive for ten plays and 33 yards ending in just a Field Goal. On the next drive, though, the Maulers picked off Paxton Lynch but only had 15 seconds on the clock remaining and couldn’t do anything with the ball going into the half. The Maulers went into the half down by 18. 

Maulers make a late second-half comeback to try to defeat the Panthers

With the third-quarter ending, the Panthers made a Field Goal, bringing their lead to 21 points heading into the season’s final quarter. Maulers immediately came out with Roland Rivers in at Quarterback going 74 yards on a 5-play down and scoring a touchdown. In what was called a very odd call by Coach Wilson, he would attempt an unnecessary 3-point conversion which he paid for when Roland threw an incomplete pass to Seybert, bringing the score 24-9 with 14 minutes and 56 seconds remaining in the quarter.

The Mauler’s defense came up strong with the next drive making the Panthers go three and out and getting the ball right back to score another touchdown with a six-play drive for 39 yards resorting in a Touchdown bringing the score to 24-15 as Vad Lee was sacked going for a failed two-point conversion. 

The next drive would see the Panthers extend their lead to now up 15 points as Cole Murphy missed the extra point bringing the score to 30-15 once again though the Maulers would drive in another touchdown with only using two minutes and thirty-eight seconds off the clock getting the score closer with the Maulers only being down by one drive at 21-30. The Maulers then would go for the alternative kickoff instead of the onside kick being 4th and 12 on their own 33 but come up short with an incomplete pass. 

Panthers all but secure the game with a late Field Goal

With only two minutes and eighteen seconds left in the game, Cole Murphy put his team up by two scoring drives by kicking a good field goal bringing the score up to 33-21. The Maulers tried to come out and rush down the field but came up with the worst-case scenario with Vad Lee throwing an interception with a minute and thirty-seven seconds remaining and no time-outs left that would lead to the end of the game and back of the season for both teams.

A lot of off-season decisions questions and decisions for both teams 

For the Pittsburgh Maulers ending their season going 1-9 with their only win coming against the Houston Gamblers; they have two decent quarterbacks on their team, but they also have a head coach that could be on the hot seat; what precisely the league will do about head coaches for the 2023 season. There is no confirmation about head coaches’ contracts and if they go past year one or even if they could change things up by letting Coach Kirby Wilson go after this season or give him a second chance next year. 

The Michigan Panthers, on the other hand, have a team that went 2-8 on the season and had one of the most famous coaches in recent memory, Jeff Fisher. Cording to the NBC announcing staff at the end of the game Jeff Fisher is interested in returning next year as he enjoyed it, and it’s up to the league what they do. It is unaware if the coaches have different contracts than the players and could opt-out after year one or are replaced by the USFL.

Michigan Panthers

PASSINGCOMPCTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Lynch22/3073.32759.23164.2
TOTALS22/3073.32759.231
RUSHINGATTYDSAVGTDLNG
Scott III10444.4011
Lynch8192.409
Corbin1050.508
Torrey231.502
J Walker133.003
TOTALS31742.4011
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTDLNGTGT
Hyman67111.81317
Scott III36622.00595
J Walker13434.00341
Baugh3258.31113
Corbin2199.50142
O’Malley11515.00151
Pettway11414.00142
Davis00001
TOTALS2227512.535929
DEFENSIVETCKSOLSCKTFLINTPDTD
Ginda8200100
C Walker6411000
Houston5400120
Burrell5400000
Rahman5300001
Ellis4400000
Bailey4100000
Williams4100000
Myrick3100010
Mahone3100010
Hughes2200000
Carter210.50000
Putu2100000
Westbrooks200.50000
Corbin1100000
Scott III1000000
J Walker1000000
Vainkolo1000000
Torrey1000000
Griffin0000000
Hyman0000000
TOTALS633021141
FUMBLESFUMLSTFFREC
Lynch1000
Corbin1000
Rahman0001
Griffin0001
Hughes0010
Putu0010
TOTALS2022
KICK RETURNRETYDSAVGLNGTD
Corbin12020.0200
TOTALS12020.0200
PUNT RETURNRETYDSAVGLNGTD
Hyman242.030
TOTALS242.030
KICKINGFGPCTLNGXPPTS
Murphy2 / 2100443 / 49
TOTALS2 / 2100443 / 49
PUNTINGNOAVG20TBLNGBLK
Kramer446.000530
TOTALS446.000530

Pittsburgh Maulers

PASSINGCOMPCTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Lee12/2254.51577.12188.6
Rivers11/1478.61238.810127.1
TOTALS23/3663.92807.831
RUSHINGATTYDSAVGTDLNG
Gilbert11262.407
Lee3196.3010
London4184.509
Rivers2189.0011
Daniel100.000
TOTALS21813.9011
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTDLNGTGT
Hardaway610016.70479
McCleskey46716.80266
Hennie33812.72228
Seybert3196.3174
Gilbert11717.00172
Gaither2136.50102
Lynn2136.5072
T Walker177.0071
Daniel166.0061
London00001
TOTALS2328012.234736
DEFENSIVETCKSOLSCKTFLINTPDTD
FUMBLESFUMLSTFFREC
Tezino12901010
Brown9600000
Zandier7401000
Elmore6500000
Sagapolu5302000
Alldredge4301110
Torneden4200010
Roberts4100000
Gipson Jr4100000
Kemp3221000
Pharms Jr.3211000
Player3100000
Howard2100000
Bonds2100000
Hennie2100000
E Walker2000000
Gaither0000000
TOTALS724237130
Hennie2100
Lee1000
Daniel1100
Kemp0010
TOTALS4210
KICK RETURNRETYDSAVGLNGTD
T Walker411729.2320
Hennie22914.5230
TOTALS12020.0200
PUNT RETURNRETYDSAVGLNGTD
KICKINGFGPCTLNGXPPTS
McCleskey11919.0190
Hennie33812.7250
TOTALS45714.2250
Ahmed1 / 1100230 / 03
TOTALS1 / 1100230 / 03
PUNTINGNOAVG20TBLNGBLK
Duffy446.240490
TOTALS446.240490

Stay with USFLNewsHub Next week as we cover the USFL 2022 Inaugural playoffs this Saturday, June 25th, 2022.

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