During practice last week, L.A. KISS Coach Bob McMillen told his players it was not yet time to panic. Their losing record six games into the season, however, did mean it was time to play with more urgency.
After his team's 70-21 thrashing at the hands of the Spokane Shock (5-2) in front of 10,552 on Sunday night, McMillen may need to hit the panic button.
The game started badly and only got worse for Los Angeles (2-5). Spokane had possession of the ball for most of the first quarter and scored 28 unanswered points before the KISS got on the scoreboard late in the second quarter.
While Spokane quarterback Erik Meyer racked up 95 total yards with two rushing and two passing touchdowns before leaving the game because of a collarbone injury before the half, KISS quarterback J.J. Raterink did not complete a pass until four minutes into the second quarter.
He did not get much help from his receivers.
With less than 30 seconds to play in the half, KISS receiver Samie Parker dropped a pass in the end zone that would have cut the lead to 15 and given his team the momentum. Raterink threw an interception on the next play that led to a Spokane score, and the KISS went into the half down 28.
The KISS would only score one more time the remainder of the game.
Defensive back A.J. Cruz provided a much-needed spark on special teams for the KISS. Near the end of the first half he received the ball in his own end zone after a missed Spokane field-goal attempt and broke four tackles on his way to a 58-yard touchdown return. He gained 157 total yards — more than the entire offense combined.
Even after Spokane lost Meyer, the 2013 Arena Football League offensive most valuable player, the highly touted KISS defense was no match for the Shock's high-powered offense.
Rashaad Carter, a wide receiver who played Sunday at backup quarterback, threw for 73 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 46 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver Adron Tennell had 61 receiving yards for three touchdowns.
Raterink, who was substituted halfway through the fourth quarter, completed only nine of his 30 passes and threw three interceptions. Backup quarterback Tyler Hansen completed three of his seven passes for 26 yards.