The Pittsburgh Maulers have won their first game since 1984.
Pittsburgh (1-4) defeated the Houston Gamblers (1-4) 21-20 on the final play of the game to claim their first win of the 2022 season in week five.
MAULERS WIN MAULERS WIN MAULERS WIN MAULERS WIN MAULERS WIN 🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨 pic.twitter.com/cQS28Xnr1R
— Pittsburgh Maulers (@USFLMaulers) May 15, 2022
Houston scored first following a Maulers missed field goal on the first drive of the game from 38-yards away by Ramiz Ahmed.
Quarterback Clayton Thorson found Isaiah Zuber for a 24-yard touchdown to put the Gamblers ahead 6-0. Nick Vogel tacked on the extra point with 7:41 remaining in the first quarter.
Special teams played a significant factor in the second quarter. The Gamblers completed a 10-play, 36-yard drive after failing to convert on 3rd and 12. Vogel converted on a 45-yard field goal to push the lead to double digits at 10-0.
The Maulers responded with a field goal of their own from over 50 yards for their first points. Ahmed resounded from his earlier miss with a 51 yarder, 13 yards further than the previous attempt.
Following a Houston punt, Pittsburgh moved the ball well inside the Gamblers’ red zone.
The drive stalled when new quarterback Vad Lee, signed this week, scrambled out of bounds on 3rd and 10 for seven yards. Ahmed kicked a 22 yarder to cut the deficit to 10-6.
It was Houston’s turn to miss a field goal on its next possession. Vogel’s try was unsuccessful from 47-yards away with only 41 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Gamblers started off strong in the third quarter, capping off a 12-play drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown by Thorson and making the score 17-6.
The Maulers responded after another stalled drive, this time inside the Houston 10, with Ahmed’s third field goal. The 24-yard kick put Pittsburgh down by eight.
The Maulers would not give up, and It was time for the defense to step up.
Thorson was intercepted by Pittsburgh’s Keith Gipson Jr, but the Maulers could not convert on their next drive.
Despite the missed chance, the defense would provide the offense an even better chance to complete the comeback.
A Thorson fumble at the Houston 26-yard line was recovered by Carlo Kemp and only took two plays to capitalize on.
Lee found Bailey Gaither, who has played very well for Kirby Wilson’s squad, from 30-yards away. The Maulers attempted a two-point conversion, but Madre London’s run came up short of the end zone. The score remained 17-15 following the touchdown.
Houston added on a 44-yard field goal on its next drive with 3:39 left, but would not receive another possession.
On 3rd and 5 from the Houston nine-yard line, Lee connected with Gaither in the end zone to cap off the wild turn of events and bring the Maulers their first USFL victory this season.
Kyle Lauletta also played for Pittsburgh and three for 51 yards on five completions. Lee was the spark the Maulers needed, completing 19-of-32 passes for 170 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Gaither was steller, catching eight passes for 108 yards and two scores.
The Maulers return to the field next Sunday at 12 p.m. facing the New Orleans Breakers.