You wouldn't normally label a game with 99 total points scored a "defensive struggle", but that's exactly what the Arizona Rattlers' 51-48 first round AFL playoff win over the San Jose Sabercats was Saturday night.
The Rattlers defense stopped a potent San Jose attack on downs in their first two possessions, and defensive back Arkeith Brown's 42- yard interception return for a touchdown with under five minutes to play stretched Arizona's lead to 9 points.
In all, there were 14 total stops by the defenses and six interceptions. The San Jose defense picked off Rattlers' QB Nick Davila four times, which is a career-high for the former Cincinnati Bearcat. In fact, Davila had thrown only 16 picks all season long and just four in his last four games.
But Davila also threw for 241 yards and six touchdowns, including four to Maurice Purify in what was the Rattlers' 24th all-time playoff win.
The Rattlers host the Utah Blaze Saturday night at US Airways Center in the National Conference Championship Game. Utah punched their ticket to the conference final with a 35-34 upset win over San Antonio Friday night.
The two teams split two games this season with Utah winning in Phoenix 62-49 on July 6. The Rattlers pounded the Blaze in Salt Lake City 86-70 in May.
The winner will advance to play either Philadelphia or Jacksonville in Arena Bowl 25 in New Orleans.