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USFL Week 4 Recap: Houston Gamblers vs. New Orleans Breakers

Another week, another tight game in the USFL as the New Orleans Breakers (3-1) pull off a 23-16 win against the Houston Gamblers (1-3).

In one of the weekend’s most anticipated matchups, the game was all about defense and kickers, with each team scoring 9 points on special teams and the Gamblers’ defense forcing 4 turnovers. The game’s final points came from Breakers wide receiver Jonathan Adams on a 29-yard touchdown reception with 13 seconds left in the 4th quarter.

Houston Gamblers

Houston’s run game, which has been one of the best in the league, was held in check, putting the pressure on quarterback Clayton Thorson to get things done through the air. Thorson ended the day completing 14/26 passes (53.8% comp) for 127 yards and 1 touchdown, also running 2 times for only 5 yards.

It was running back Mark Thompson’s worst week of the season as he took 14 carries for only 10 yards on the day. His backup, Devwah Whaley, would lead Houston’s rushing attack on only 3 carries for 11 yards, also catching 1 pass for 15 yards. Wide receivers Isaiah Zuber and Jojo Ward led the Gamblers’ air attack, with Zuber catching 5 passes for 46 yards and Ward scoring the team’s only touchdown.

The defense was one of the brightest spots for the Gamblers, forcing 4 turnovers on the day, which kept them in the game despite their offensive struggles. The team recorded 2 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 7 pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Highlight players on the Gamblers’ defense include cornerbacks Micah Abernathy and Will Likely, defensive tackle Dominique Davis, and linebackers Donald Payne and Reggie Northrup.

Special Teams was the other main highlight for the Gamblers this week. Not only would kicker Nick Vogel make 3/3 field goals (longest from 53 yards), defensive end Chris Odom blocked a field goal before the half.

The Gamblers have some things to work out in the passing game, but the defense alone seems to be enough to keep them alive. If they can find ways to keep running back Mark Thompson involved in games, they should be fighting for a playoff spot down the stretch.

New Orleans Breakers

Kyle Sloter and the Breakers’ offense had some serious struggles, turning the ball over 4 times, but played well enough at the end to get the win. Sloter ended the game completing 26/41 passes (63.4% comp) for 398 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions, also running twice for 7 yards.

Running back Jordan Ellis led the ground attack for the Breakers, taking 19 carries for 104 yards and 1 touchdown, also hauling in 4 receptions for 17 yards. New Orleans’ leading receiver was Jonathan Adams, who ended the game with 6 receptions for 101 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Taywan Taylor and Sal Canella also had great games through the air, with Taylor taking 3 receptions for 95 yards, and Canella grabbing 5 catches for 82 yards.

The Breakers’ defense kept the Gamblers’ run game in check, holding them to only 28 yards on 20 rushing attempts. While they didn’t sack Clayton Thorson once, the team did rack up 6 tackles for loss, a pass deflection, and a forced fumble.

New Orleans had a great day on special teams as well, with newly signed kicker Taylor Bertolet nailing 3/4 field goals (longest from 50 yards), and his only miss coming on an attempt that was blocked.

Even without Davin Bellamy in the starting lineup this week, the Breakers’ defense is capable of stopping running backs in their tracks and played well against the passing attack. The offense is exceptionally talented as well, but they’ll need to work on eliminating the turnovers if they want to win the division.

Box Score

Houston Gamblers

PASSINGCOMPCTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Thorson14/2653.81274.91080.1
TOTALS14/2653.81274.910
RUSHINGATTYDSAVGTDLNG
Whaley3113.705
Thompson14100.708
Thorson252.503
Simmons122.002
TOTALS20281.408
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTDLNGTGT
Zuber5469.20158
Ward23115.51303
Barnes2178.50122
Whaley11515.00151
Palka188.0084
Ratliff-Williams263.0035
Simmons144.0043
TOTALS141279.113026
DEFENSIVETCKSOLSCKTFLINTPDTD
Abernathy10600110
Davis9311000
Payne9200010
Northrup8500000
Likely6501130
Bunch6500010
Holder6300000
Ivie4301000
Johnson4301000
Williams3300000
Victor3201000
B Brown3200110
Thomas3100000
Odom2210000
Laulile2000000
Gooden1000000
Barnes1000000
Soroh0000000
TOTALS804525370
FUMBLESFUMLSTFFREC
Barnes1000
Payne0001
Odom0010
TOTALS1011
KICK RETURNRETYDSAVGLNGTD
Zuber59819.6280
Ratliff-Williams11515.0150
TOTALS611318.8280
PUNT RETURNRETYDSAVGLNGTD
TOTALS000
KICKINGFGPCTLNGXPPTS
Vogel3/3100531/110
TOTALS3/3100531/110
PUNTINGNOAVG20TBLNGBLK
Galitz843.440500
TOTALS843.440500

New Orleans Breakers

PASSINGCOMPCTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Sloter26/4163.43979.71372.9
TOTALS26/4163.43979.713
RUSHINGATTYDSAVGTDLNG
Ellis191045.5129
Rose III6162.705
Sloter273.507
Dixon1-3-3.00-3
TOTALS281244.4129
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTDLNGTGT
J Adams610116.81299
Taylor39531.70434
Cannella58216.40399
Poindexter34314.30153
Dixon24321.50265
Ellis4174.20187
Rose III2115.5082
Morris155.0051
Johnson00001
TOTALS2639715.314341
DEFENSIVETCKSOLSCKTFLINTPDTD
Diggs8500000
Fernandez7601000
Brown5200000
Soto4301000
Alexander4100000
Saint-Amour3302000
Tongamoa3201000
Chavis3000000
Elder2200000
Stevens2200000
P Adams2100000
Crosswell2100000
Clarke1100010
Poindexter1100000
Dixon1100000
Christian1100000
Cannella1100000
D Jones1000000
Johnson1000000
Ellis0000000
Morris0000000
TOTALS523305010
FUMBLESFUMLSTFFREC
Dixon2000
Dixon2000
Sloter1100
Sloter1100
Fernandez0010
TOTALS6210
KICK RETURNRETYDSAVGLNGTD
Taylor25527.5350
TOTALS25527.5350
PUNT RETURNRETYDSAVGLNGTD
Dixon294.5110
D Jones100.000
TOTALS393.0110
KICKINGFGPCTLNGXPPTS
Bertolet3/475502/211
TOTALS3/475502/211
PUNTINGNOAVG20TBLNGBLK
White147.010470
TOTALS147.010470

Next Opponents

The New Orleans Breakers (3-1) will face the New Jersey Generals (3-1) on Saturday, May 14th at 12:00 pm PT on Fox.

The Houston Gamblers (1-3) will take on the Pittsburgh Maulers (0-4) on Sunday, May 15th at 1:00 pm PT on Fox.

Matt Lyons is a Writer/Contributor for XFL News Hub, USFL News Hub, & CFL News Hub, covering the XFL, USFL, ELF, and TSL since August of 2020.

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