The Frankfurt Universe kicked a field goal with 21 seconds left in the game to escape with a 6-5 win over the Berlin Rebels and advance to the German Football League semifinals for the second year in a row.
Needless to say, this one was not pretty.
Horrendous weather conditions only made matters worse.
The two teams managed just 286 yards of offense between them. Frankfurt had 17 yards rushing 100 yards fewer than their average of 117 while the Rebels rushed for 75, less than half of their league-leading rate.
In other words, defenses… and the weather, ruled.
Frankfurt quarterback Andrew Ellfers threw for 93 yards with wide receiver Tim Thomas catching a game-high (!) five passes for 30 yards.
For the Rebels, Terrell Robinson completed 8 of 18 passes for 101 yards adding another 21 yards on the ground. Alexander Tounkara-Kone had one reception for 45 yards while Sean Richard had three catches for 25 yards and J Simmons also had 25 yards receiving.
The first quarter was dominated by the Rebels but a decision on the first possession of the game proved costly. On a fourth and one from the Frankfurt seven yard line, Berlin elected to go for it instead of kicking the field goal. Frankfurt’s defense rose up and stuffed the play and the offense took over.
Little did either team realize how important that failed fourth down attempt would become.
Berlin scored finally late in the first quarter on a 35 yard field goal.
Frankfurt could not move the ball past their own 30 yard line and it was not until less than two minutes remained of the first half that the Universe were able to get on the scoreboard with a 35 yard field goal from the toe of Marius Duis.
Conditions worsened in the second half as the heavens opened up and the deluge made it impossible for either team to execute. The third quarter ended 3-3.
In a pounding rainstorm, Frankfurt could not move the ball and the Rebels forced a safety midway through the fourth quarter, taking a 5-3 lead with five minutes to go.
That set up a dramatic finish as the Universe managed to block a Berlin punt on the Rebels 14 yard line and with just under two minutes to go they took the ball over.
Still, three plays produced only seven yards and so with 21 seconds remaining, Duis splashed out and nailed a 26 yard field goal to give Frankfurt a wet, messy but welcome 6-5 win.
Frankfurt now moves on the face the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions in the GFL semifinals.