Spring football is finally here! The inaugural week of USFL football happened this past weekend and the Gamblers started off with a win against the Michigan Panthers. Let’s breakdown the good, the bad, and the meh of the Gamblers season opener.

Good

Mark Thompson

The Gamblers started off the game relying heavily on the run, and Thompson did all he was asked and more. He consistently gashed the Panthers run defense, and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. If he can continue his performance here, he’ll be a big threat on this team. He is more of a pure runner than a pass catcher, but he does what he’s comfortable with well. The vision he displayed was similar to James Robinson in his rookie year.

Linebackers

Reggie Northrup and Donald Payne were a great duo that helped this defense be so dominant. Both recorded double digit tackles with Payne almost reaching 20. Northrup scored the first touchdown of the game off of a forced fumble by Shea Patterson.

Bad

2nd Half Defense

The defense was doing great all game, but really started to let up in the second half. Most prominently the run defense who let their run game get going in the 2nd half. They did seem to get to Patterson more in the second half, but he did a good job of evading their pressure. The secondary is the weakest link of this defense, and they need to improve as the season goes on unless they want Atlanta Falcons level comebacks.

Meh

Clayton Thorson

There was no expectation that Thorson would be game changing, but his first performance wasn’t that impressive. Thorson did his best Jimmy Garoppolo impression and game managed the offense for most of the game. He didn’t attempt many passes, due to how the run game was performing, but did a good job hitting receivers in stride and fitting throws into tight windows. His interception was an underthrown receiver while he was under pressure so it is understandable.

Overall, this team played much like the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL. Focus on the run game to open up the pass, and play good defense. Next week against the Stallions, they’ll face a better offense and it should be a great game.

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