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How would the Utah Blaze respond with their season now essentially capped?
Would their struggles with penalties and turnovers and offensive inconsistencies play a large role in another home loss?
Facing the New Orleans VooDoo, another team that has struggled to finds its footing as the end of the season nears, the Blaze answered those questions in a 63-49 loss Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Utah has now lost six of its last seven games and to pour salt in the wound, injuries and ejections led the Blaze to dealing with 14 healthy players at the end of the game.
"I thought our team showed a lot of fight," said Utah coach Ron James, "but we didn't show any intelligence."
The erratic offense was once again on display. After falling behind early, the Blaze rallied to take a 21-14 lead late in the first half, but poor clock management led to a turnover on downs.
The VooDoo responded with a touchdown seconds before halftime and went on to score 21 unanswered points. Struggling on offense themselves all season, the VooDoo took advantage through the air with quarterback Chris Dixon and former Utah receiver L.J. Castile.
Dixon torched the Utah secondary for 285 yards passing and eight total touchdowns.
Coming into Saturday night, New Orleans ranked last in the Arena Football League in total yards per game and passing yards.
"The pressure really wasn't getting there," James said.
With a chance to tie the game 42-42 with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter, quarterback Jason Boltus coughed up the ball as he approached the New Orleans end zone. With less than seven minutes in the game, Boltus' intended pass for Maurice Leggett was tipped in the air and intercepted, sealing the road win for the VooDoo.
"We just kind of limped to the finish," James said. "Literally."
The Blaze, now 5-10, are riding their third three-game losing streak of the season.
Storylines VooDoo 63, Blaze 49
R Turnovers plague Utah in its final home game, and the Blaze take their sixth loss in the past seven games.
• New Orleans quarterback Chris Dixon racks up 285 passing yards and eight touchdowns against Utah.