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Arizona 7 at Denver 17

1984 Week 6 - Sunday, April 1, 1984
Arizona Wranglers(3-2)(-4.5) at Denver Gold(4-1)
Attendance: 31,666

DENVER (AP) -- For those who care about the real fundamentals of the game, blocking in particular, the Denver Gold offensive line put on a clinic.

Utilizing straight-ahead power blocking along with cleverly disguised traps, the Gold front line cleared the way for Harry Sydney to gain 111 yards and Vincent White to get 69 as the Gold generated an impressive 219 yards on the ground in manhandling the Arizona Wranglers 17-7 Sunday.

As 31,666 fans looked on in mid-30 degree temperatures, the Gold raised its United States Football League record to 5-1 and took a two-game lead in the Pacific Division over Arizona, which fell to 3-3.

"The key to the whole thing was a diversified attack," said Gold center Tom Davis, who anchors what is emerging as one of the finest offensive lines in the USFL. "They couldn't key on us. We'd run weak, we'd run strong, we'd run counters, we'd throw the ball down the field, throw across to the backs. On one play we lined up man-to-man and just let the back go where he wants to go. Vince and Harry ran that one real well. "We were able to run right at them because they were thinking pass rush all the time. They're a good pass-rush team, and the best way to beat the rush is to stay out of passing situations."

Averaging 7.6 yards per first-down play, Denver rarely faced any must-pass situations. While the offense was pounding away at the usually stingy Wrangler defense, the Denver defense kept the Western Conference's top attack in check.

The Wranglers entered the game averaging 408 yards and 32 points per game, but managed just 274 yards against the swarming Gold defense -- and much of that total came on two desperation drives late in the game, both of which ended on interceptions. "We played extremely well," said Denver Coach Craig Morton. "Both our offensive and defensive lines played their best overall games. Our players were really 'up' for the game. This is probably my most satisfying victory as a coach."

The Wranglers got their lone touchdown on the final play of the first half as Tim Spencer swept the right side from one yard out for a 7-3 lead. Arizona went 65 yards for that score, with Greg Landry's 31-yard pass to wide receiver Lenny Willis highlighting the drive.

In the third period, Sydney broke loose on a 38-yard run to set up Bo Matthews' go-ahead TD. Then Sydney capped a 52-yard scoring drive in the final quarter with a one-yard plunge with 7:36 remaining.

Arizona Coach George Allen called it "our toughest loss of the season. Denver proved how good a team they are. We know how good we are, and we can play better than we did today. We'll get there, and we'll get there quickly."


Archived news report

Supplemental information courtesy of Chris Blackburn

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