#50YARDCOUNTDOWN: 25-Lewis Kisses LA Goodnight
In Week 4 of the 2014 season, the 3-0 Cleveland Gladiators traveled to Anaheim, Calif., to get a close look at the new LA KISS. They received an unwelcome greeting from 10,570 fans of the rock band KISS who were about to scream their lungs out for the next 60 minutes.
The mystique of the new team — pre-game pyrotechnics, uniforms with flames from head-to-toe, the 4th and Loud reality show filming every second of the season — may have made other teams take an extra breath before lining up against the KISS Army, but the Gladiators were not intimidated.
On this night, the two teams fought viciously to get the upper hand. After three quarters of seesawing lead changes, the Glads held a 33-30 advantage but were one blown coverage away from falling behind. Cleveland's "No Fly Zone" kept Los Angeles quarterback J.J. Raterink in check, though, holding the KISS offense to 3-of-10 on third downs and 4-of-9 on fourth downs.
Then, at the 5:30 mark with the ball at midfield on fourth-and-three, Gladiators wide receiver Thyron Lewis struck for the third time that night Working against the intense crowd noise, quarterback Shane Austin brought him in motion, and with the KISS defensive back playing deep, Lewis had plenty of room to run the sail route. Austin threw the ball right on Lewis' break to the wall at the 3-yard line. The defender never recovered.
As soon as Lewis caught it, he raised the ball in the air and crossed the goal line, confidently. With a 10-point lead too much to overcome, the Honda Center grew silent as time ran out. Fast-forward the video below to 2:48 to see the play.
Lewis ended the night with four receptions for 76 yards and three touchdowns. The Gladiators were 4-0 and on their way to a record-setting 17-1 regular season.