4th Qrt Comeback for Team Mexico, Wins 22-15 over Germany !!
Trailing 15-12 with 11:05 remaining having led at halftime, Mexico tied a thrilling game with a field goal and then produced a rushing touchdown from Jose Reyes just before the two-minute warning. Linebacker David Aceves sealed victory in the Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck with an interception with less than a minute remaining.
Mexico held a slim three-point advantage with a 10-7 halftime lead after defenses impressed and penalties took their toll on Mexico early in the contest.
“We knew the Germans were the European Champions, so we expected them to be a tough rival and Germany was very tough today,” said Mexico assistant coach Manuel Neri Fernández. “Every time we would have a big play, Germany fought back and challenged us again. It was a great game.”
Germany quarterback Joachim Ullrich added: “Well of course you aren’t happy after the game. It was a close game, and it hurts to lose. I remember playing Mexico eight years ago in the World Cup in Germany and it was a close loss then too. I wish we could have beaten them today.
“We didn’t start the game as well as we should. I think it took us a little while to get used to the game speed. That is what happens when you play with national teams sometimes.”
On the game’s opening possession quarterback Rodrigo Perez connected with receiver Oscar Ruiz in stride down the sideline for a 44-yard touchdown and with the extra point good Mexico jumped out to an early 7-0 lead.
Germany went three and out in reply then a string of penalties, Germany defensive back Matthias Eck almost making an interception, Mario Nowak tackling for a loss and Oliver Radke breaking up a pass also forced Mexico to punt. Defenses continued to dominate and Germany were pinned back with starting position on their own 14 and 10-yard lines before Mexico’s Fassiel Gregorio Lopez came up with an interception and returned the ball to the edge of the red zone.
Mexico opened the second quarter with good field position, but drove backwards 30 yards through penalties before two catches by Daniel Roldan returned the ball to within striking distance of the end zone. A Reyes run and catch edged the Mexican’s to Germany’s 12-yard line, but Matthias Eck broke up a pass in the end zone to prevent a touchdown.
After Steve Nzeocha produced a sack Jose Carlos Maltos kicked 35-yard field goal field goal to lead 10-0 with 8:22 remaining in the first half.
Germany looked to have been halted again until a penalty moved the chains and Jerome Morris hammered the ball down to the opponent’s 40-yard line. Linebacker Manuel Padilla stopped a German run for no gain, but quarterback Ullrich responded with a 10-yard pass to receiver Christian Bollman for a first down.
On the next play, Ullrich found receiver Julian Dohrendorf and although the 34-yard pass was bobbled between two Mexico defenders Dohrendorf held on for a German touchdown and the successful extra point cut Mexico’s advantage to three points.
The second half continued in the same vein as despite productive running from Morris, with back-to-back first downs for Germany to the Mexico 49, rusher Waldemar Schander was stopped dead by linebacker Alberto Montembruck, followed by another big defensive play as cornerback Jose Miguel broke up a pass to force Germany to punt.
Germany’s Simon Nzeocha and Oliver Radke matched their counterparts, halting running back Juan Castillo on third and a yard to go, forcing on the punting unit. continued to boom the ball downfield on fourth down and his special teams compatriots prevented the ball from going into the end zone, pinning Germany to the one-yard yard line. From such an advantageous position, Mexico’s Padilla forced a safety to lead 12-7.
The momentum continued to build for Mexico as game MVP running back Jonathan Barrera, who had 4 carries for 28 yards and 3 receptions for 24 yards, returned the free kick 60 yards deep into German territory and only 10 yards from the end zone. But Germany’s defense again came up big and as Mexico appeared to have settled for a field goal, defensive back Leonard Greene blocked the kick to keep the deficit to five points.
On his way to a MVP performance, Ullrich’s confidence grew under center as he posted final figures of 15-26-166-1-2. He connected with Dominic Hanselmann and Pascal Meier and then found Bollman to move into Mexico’s half as the third quarter clock ticked down. Jorge Enrique Valdez sacked Ullrich but on third down the quarterback found Niklas Romer and went to the receiver again to move Germany to within seven yards from paydirt and bring up first and goal to start the fourth quarter.
Morris followed up a five-yard gain on the ground with a two-yard run to score and then Ullrich found Hanselmann cutting through the back of the end zone for a successful two-point pass and Germany led 15-12 with 11:03 left on the clock.
Mexico went to the air in response with Marquez throwing a bullet to Erick Arzate before avoiding a sack by scrambling out of the pocket to find Jose Alfonso for another first down at Germany’s 32-yard mark. Robert Zernicke pressed Marquez into an incompletion and on third and 15, Simon Brenner stopped the Mexicans five yards short of moving the chains at the 25. A 42-yard field goal attempt by Maltos was true to tie the game at 15-15 with 8:22 remaining.
Germany were forced to punt but then defensive back Roman Solovij came up with an interception giving Germany the ball on their own 42 with 6:10 left to play. Ullrich just overthrew Hanselmann for what would have been a game-changing score and the momentum was lost.
Barrera showcased his quickness in reply, breaking multiple tackles to bring the ball to the edge of the red zone with less than five minutes remaining. Heriberto Salazar made a grab at the 16 and on a crucial third down and inches, Reyes muscled his way through two defenders for a first down at Germany’s 10-yard mark.
Barrera cut to the sideline to gain six yards and on third and four with the game on the line, Reyes found the seam for a touchdown charge and a successful PAT moved Mexico ahead 22-15. On fourth down as Germany pressed desperately to tie the game, Mexico’s Aceves came up with an interception 55 seconds to play.