The Chicago Rush can be beaten at home.
Saturday night's game against San Jose at the Allstate Arena proved as much as the SaberCats handed the Rush its first blemish on an otherwise perfect home record with a 75-61 loss.
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"It's a great atmosphere to come here and play in front of your family and the great fans of Chicago," said Rush coach Bob McMillen. "Unfortunately we just didn't get it done tonight. It is what it is, and we finally got a loss at home."
The Rush (9-6) turned the ball over on two early kick return fumbles, allowing the SaberCats (10-6) to build a 48-27 lead in the first half.
"I thought we played well, but when you get in a hole like that, you turn the ball over twice early in the game, it's tough to come back," McMillen said.
Rush quarterback Russ Michna found receiver Reggie Gray in the end zone on the first play of the second half. After trading scores again, the Rush defense forced a turnover on downs at the goal line and Michna made it a one-possession game with a 35-yard touchdown to Jared Perry.
But the SaberCats had an answer for every Chicago score, and San Jose's Gabe Nyenhuis stripped the ball from Michna to allow the San Jose offense to again add to its lead.
"After the half, I feel like we tightened it up a little bit," said defensive lineman Darrell Campbell. "It just got away from us."
San Jose quarterback Mark Grieb had his way with the Rush secondary to the tune of 360 yards and 6 touchdowns on 28-for-36 passing. Receiver Fred Williams was Grieb's target of choice. He caught 11 passes for 164 yards and 3 scores while also rushing and returning a kick for a touchdown.
Michna completed 27 of 37 passes for 375 yards and 7 touchdowns. Perry and Gray each caught 11 passes; Gray had 180 yards and 4 scores, while Perry finished with 142 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The loss leaves the Rush on the outside looking in as the National Conference playoffs approach. Chicago is now a game and a half behind San Jose for the fourth and final playoff spot.
"We understand that it's a tough position playoff-wise, but we can't focus on this," Campbell said. "We've got to look forward and do the best we possibly can at winning these last three."