It’s not time to hit the panic button just yet.
But a 54-43 Indoor Football League loss to the visiting Texas Revolution on Friday night has everyone on the Tri-Cities Fever squad seriously concerned.
“I see some of the older Fever players here in the stands watching us,” said Fever running back Keithon Flemming. “They’ve got to be embarrassed. I’m embarrassed.”
Tri-Cities coach Adam Shackleford, whose team dropped to 1-3, was even more blunt.
“We’re not doing the right things offensively,” he said. “The defense didn’t make any stops. The kicking game is not where it should be. We had some veterans out there doing their own thing.”
The estimated 2,900 fans watching the game at Toyota Center hasn’t been used to this in recent years. The Fever had won 13 of the last 15 games played at home.
But Friday night’s game was not one of them.
“I played for coach Shack, and (Texas defensive coordinator Brian) Wells were my coaches at Cincinnati,” said Texas head coach Billy Back. “It was like a chess match out there between those two.”
The Revolution defense, which gave up 36 points in the second half last week to Tri-Cities in a 40-37 win in Allen, Texas, held the Fever offense to just 75 yards — 60 of them passing.
“The biggest difference tonight was that we tried to disguise things,” said Revs defensive back Frankie Solomon Jr., who intercepted two of Fever quarterback Kasey Peters’ passes and had 10 tackles. “We’d line up in a defensive formation, then change.”
Still, with 13:30 left in the contest, Brady Beeson’s 20-yard field goal helped the Fever tie the score at 37-37.
But Texas finished out on a 17-6 run, with quarterback Marcus Jackson tossing a TD pass to Mon Williams, and then running for one himself.Jackson helped the Revolution (2-2) compile 251 yards of offense.
He himself had 215 yards passing, with four TD passes, and he added 22 yards of rushing.
“Marcus Jackson is a playmaker,” Back said. “That’s why I signed him. I asked him when he was gonna start being a playmaker for me. When the play breaks down, he uses his feet.”
Fever defensive back Lionell Singleton was impressed.
“They had a game plan for us tonight and they ran it well,” Singleton said.
Flemming, who scored three touchdowns and had 83 yards of offense for the Fever, said Tri-Cities has to get another gear.
“(Texas) wanted it more than we did,” he said. “Excuse me saying this, but we’ve got to play pissed off.”
So what’s next? A road game with Wyoming next Friday.
Shackleford said he needs to make some personnel changes next week.
“We’re gonna meet here as coaches and decide who is gonna be here on Monday,” Shackleford said.
He expects running back Keola Antolin and receiver DeJuan Miller to be activated next week. There might be other players coming in too.
But at the same time, Shackleford cautions that it’s early.
“I think the illusion is you’re gonna win every game here because the bar has been raised so high the last couple of seasons,” Shackleford said. “We’re 1-3. But there is a lot of season left. We’re gonna keep working.”