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Mistakes costly as Sharks lose opener at Orlando

Posted: March 16, 2014 - 11:48pm  |  Updated: March 17, 2014 - 8:08am
R.J. Archer (left), working with fellow quarterback Kyle Rowley on Feb. 27, got the start for the Sharks against Orlando.  DON COBLE/The Times-Union
DON COBLE/The Times-Union
R.J. Archer (left), working with fellow quarterback Kyle Rowley on Feb. 27, got the start for the Sharks against Orlando.

If there was anything good coming out of Jacksonville’s 49-47 loss at Orlando — and the Sharks insist there’s nothing good about losing — it’s the fact the only other time they started the season with a loss they went on to win the Arena Football League championship.

A missed point-after-touchdown kick in the first quarter and a missed two-point conversion pass with eight seconds left in the game were critical at CFE Arena on the University of Central Florida campus Sunday.

But there were other early season mistakes, including a breakdown on special teams on Orlando’s Arness Ikner’s 54-yard kickoff return midway in the fourth quarter, the Sharks’ inability to stop two key fourth-down plays that eventually led to a pair of Predators touchdowns and Jacksonville’s continued inability to start quickly, which is a carryover from last year.

Orlando also broke a seven-game losing streak to Jacksonville.

R.J. Archer started at quarterback for the Sharks. His first drive of the season started at the 1-yard line, and Jacksonville gave up the ball on downs. Orlando scored with the short field and never trailed again.

The Sharks got a one-yard touchdown run by 265-pound rookie fullback Jared McGriff-Culver with eight seconds to play, but Archer’s two-point conversion pass to Mardy Gilyard was knocked away.

Jacksonville has a bye next week. The home opener is March 29 against San Antonio.