March 26, 2001
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - After San Francisco layed an egg in
Chicago last Sunday night, Coach Jim Skipper couldn't be persuaded
to think about the XFL's Western Division race.
Even after sweeping the season series with Memphis Saturday
night behind the passing of Mike Pawlawski, 21-12, Skipper
was not in a post-season frame of mind.
"We needed to win, that's the bottom line," said
the San Francisco coach. "There are two tough road games
ahead us. We all know what's at stake."
San Francisco evened its record at 4-4 and would all but clinch
a berth in the playoffs by beating Las Vegas next week in
the first of two straight road games. By whipping the Outlaws,
San Francisco would hold the tie-breaker over Las Vegas.
"The next two opponents are great teams," said Pawlawski.
"All we need to do is make sure we execute like we did
today. We've beaten one of them before and I know we can beat
Pawlawski has passes for at least one touchdown in all six
games he has played in the XFL, but this was the first time
he connected on three scoring passes.
After Memphis made the crowd of 35,109 uncomfortable by marching
76 yards in the game's first nine minutes for a 6-0 advantage,
Pawlawski went to work.
He fired touchdown passes to wide receivers Travis Moore and
Brian Roberson to highlight San Francisco's 15-point second
quarter and Mike Panasuk conclude the onslaught with a 35-yard
field goal as time expired at intermission.
In the meantime, the Demons' defense was frustrating Memphis
quarterback Jim Druckenmiller at every turn. The former 49er
quarterback who threw for 399 yards in a game earlier this
season completed just 14 of 30 passes for 203 yards and finished
with two touchdown throws with a 12-yarder to Beau Morgan
in garbage time.
"This was a break-out game for Mike," Coach Jim
Skipper said. "He was just coming back from two games
out last week. This is the first game he was comfortable after
coming back from his injury."
It was the defense that allowed San Francisco to earn some
precious breathing room late in the first half. Reserve cornerback
Terrell Sutton picked off Druckenmiller with just 59 seconds
left in the half and Pawlawski deftly piloted San Francisco
into range of Panasuk's leg.
Kelvin Anderson, playing his third game for the Demons at
tailback, started the drive with a 13-yard scramper and Pawlawski
threw for the remainder of the needed real estate, including
a clutch third-down throw to Roberson to keep the drive alive
at the Memphis 25.
Pawlawski completed 26 of 44 passes for 215 yards to complement
his three scores and Anderson enjoyed his best day with San
Francisco, chugging for 80 yards on 19 carries.
Defensive ends Eric England and Jermaine Miles spearheaded
the Demons' defensive effort, both recording their fourth
quarterback sacks of the season.
"We played some good defense," Pawlawski said. "The
offense did a great job at keeping the momentum going. Hopefully,
we can keep this momentum going on the road."
The Demons trail Los Angeles by two victories in the standings
(6-2) and the Xtreme clinched a berth in the playoffs Saturday
night by whipping Las Vegas, 35-26. San Francisco can join
them in the post-season by beating Las Vegas next Sunday.
Then, the final game of the season in Los Angeles would be
to see who hosts the first-round game against the second-place
team in the Eastern Division.