ELF: Rhein Fire survive upset scare from Berlin Thunder in come-from-behind win

On Sunday, the Rhein Fire survived an upset bid from the Berlin Thunder on the road, as they completed a comeback from down 21-7 to earn a 27-24 victory.

The Fire got the opening kickoff and their offense marched down the field, but their drive ended prematurely when Jadrian Clark was intercepted by Ludvig Myren, who returned the ball deep into Fire territory.  Berlin then capitalized with an Aaron Jackson rushing touchdown.  Later in the first, the Thunder defense forced another turnover with a strip sack from Kyle Kitchens, but their offense could not take advantage, as they missed a 30 yard field goal.

In the second quarter, the Fire tied the score with a two yard rushing touchdown from star running back Glen Toonga.  But it was Berlin who was the better team for the rest of the half, as they responded with a 41 yard touchdown pass from Jakeb Sullivan to Robin Wilzeck before adding another touchdown by running back Albert Wiesigstrauch.  This gave the home team a surprising 21-7 lead going into halftime.

But Berlin got off to a terrible start in the third quarter, as Sullivan was intercepted on the first play by Till Janssen.  The Fire offense took advantage with another short yardage touchdown from Toonga, though the extra point was blocked.  The Thunder responded with a field goal, but Rhein got the ball back and found the end zone again on an 18 yard rushing touchdown from Sergej Kendus.  The two point conversion failed, so Berlin led 24-19 going into the final frame.

Berlin Thunder RB getting sandwiched. Photo: Berlin Thunder

In the fourth quarter, Omari Williams of the Fire gave his team great field position as he returned a Berlin punt deep into Thunder territory.  From there, the visitors finally took the lead, as Toonga scored his third touchdown of the game from nine yards out.  Berlin got the ball back and looked to respond, but they could not even get past midfield before being stopped on fourth down.  From there, the Fire ran out the clock and held on for the 27-24 victory.

The Fire were able to squeak out the victory on the road thanks in large part to Glen Toonga, who rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns on the day.  Next week, they travel to Madrid as they seek revenge against the Bravos, who handed them a stunning loss earlier in the season.

For Berlin, this was an extremely disappointing outcome, as they were up by two scores in the second half against arguably the defending champions and arguably the league’s top team and they let the game slip away.  They fall to 2-3 and will look to rebound next week in Prague against the Lions.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.