China: Xi’an Panthers stage stirring comeback to beat Chongqing McFuries

In the West division, the Xi’an Panthers evened their record at 1-1 with a stirring 28-22 comeback victory over the Chongqing McFuries at home as the Chinese National Football League reaches the midpoint.

Despite having less than 20 players make the trip to Xi’an, the McFuries took control of the game early, as they quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead thanks to several Panthers’ errors that included a blocked punt and a pass interference penalty. Still, the Panthers were able to respond back with a passing touchdown of their own to cut the Chongqing lead to 14-6.

However, Chongqing responded with a touchdown of their own, pushing the lead back up to 22-6, but with both offenses trading blows, the Panthers scored a crucial touchdown to make it 22-14 going into halftime.

After an exciting back-and-forth first half, the second half began slowly as both teams turned the ball over several times, and the Panthers‘ defense stepped up with a safety to make it 22-16.

Despite the efforts of the undermanned Chongqing defense, the Panthers‘ offense finally broke through, evening the score at 22-all halfway through the 4th quarter.

As the Chongqing offense continued to sputter, it seemed as if they would still escape with the victory as a Panthers pass was intercepted and returned all the way back for a game-winning pick-six. Unfortunately, the referee ruled a Chongqing player offside on the potential game-winning play, and the game went into overtime deadlocked at 22-all.

In overtime, the Panther offense came through, giving the Panthers their first lead at 28-22, and when a Chongqing pass was intercepted, the Xian Panthers completed the comeback to earn their first win of the season.

It was a tough blow for Chongqing, who came to Xi’an with highly depleted squad and still showed their potential in the close loss. The Panthers used their passing game to drain the Chongqing energy levels, resulting in the Chongqing offense struggling throughout the second half.

Allen Hu is a Chinese-American who grew up playing American Football in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. He primarily spends his time in both the United States and China