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Jeff Fisher honors father as Panthers’ win is extra special

By Eric D. Williams
FOX Sports Writer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — We’re No. 1.

Yes, the Michigan Panthers completed amongst the underside dwellers within the USFL this season. 

However, with a 33-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Maulers on Sunday at Legion Field, the Panthers and head coach Jeff Fisher can at the very least take solace that the win earned the workforce the No. 1 general decide within the 2023 draft.

After a late rule change by the USFL, the winner between the Panthers and the Maulers earned the No. 1 general decide subsequent 12 months, together with the primary decide in each spherical. 

“It makes lots of sense,” Fisher mentioned. “It rewards you. It’s good to win this recreation, so when the time comes we’ll have the decide — and so forth all through the draft.”

With the victory, the Panthers completed 2-8 on the 12 months whereas the Maulers ended their season at 1-9. 

Fisher additionally honored his father, Roger Fisher, on Father’s Day. Since the beginning of the USFL season, Fisher had been sporting his hat backward in homage to his father, who handed away in October 2020.

Highlights: Michigan Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Maulers

Paxton Lynch threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns en path to the Michigan Panthers’ 33-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Maulers.

“My dad shortly earlier than he handed requested me if I ever was going to educate once more,” Fisher mentioned. “And I mentioned, ‘I don’t know. But if I do, I’ll coach each snap with my hat on backwards in your honor.’ That’s why I put it on backwards to begin the season.”

Fisher went on to say his father was a veteran who proudly served the nation. 

Michigan quarterback Paxton Lynch, a first-round choice by the Denver Broncos within the 2016 NFL draft, had a great day underneath middle. The Memphis product completed 22-of-30 for 275 yards and three landing passes, along with his solely blemish an interception by Pittsburgh linebacker Blaze Alldredge on the finish of the primary half. 

Lynch’s favourite goal was Ishmael Hyman, who completed with six receptions for 71 yards and a landing. 

“We have been simply in a position to get right into a rhythm,” Lynch mentioned. “I do know it was form of a tricky week as a result of we weren’t in a position to follow due to the climate and stuff like that, however I feel that this group does a great job of at all times staying targeted mentally, and by no means taking a break day. And nevertheless we’ve bought to get reps, we discover methods to try this.”

Turnovers and inconsistent play as soon as once more marred Pittsburgh. The Maulers turned it over thrice and completed with eight accepted penalties for 70 yards.

Despite the psychological errors and missed assignments, Pittsburgh head coach Kirby Wilson mentioned he believes he is usually a profitable head coach transferring ahead.

“I do know I can do that now,” Wilson mentioned. “This was the massive problem for me, may I lead a gaggle of males professionally? And I did that. And I’m very happy with how I did that.

“The wins will come, however all of them begin with the muse, the tradition of respect and the self-discipline of being knowledgeable. That’s the toughest half to beat, and we be ok with that.”

The Maulers used a two-quarterback system. Vad Lee completed 12-of-22 for 157 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. Roland Rivers accomplished 11-of-14 passes for 123 yards and a rating.

Michigan additionally obtained another excellent news: Two weeks after being taken off the sector on a backboard and a stretcher, linebacker Tre Williams was again on the sector for the Panthers. Williams totaled two mixed tackles.

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, masking the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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