SAN JOSE -- The SaberCats spoiled the Arizona Rattlers' bid for a perfect season Friday night -- and proved something to themselves and the rest of the Arena Football League.
The 'Cats' 62-33 victory at SAP Center halted Arizona's season-long winning streak at an AFL-record 14 games. The previous mark for consecutive victories to start a season had belonged to the SaberCats, who won 12 straight in 2002 en route to winning the ArenaBowl.
More important, the playoff-bound SaberCats (10-4) proved they could defeat the only team that has beaten them twice. San Jose fully expects to see Arizona again in the postseason.
"I like this football team," veteran SaberCats coach Darren Arbet said. "The sky's the limit. I don't think we've touched how good we can be."
Once again the SaberCats' stingy defense, which has given up more than 37 points just once since mid-April, led the way.
For starters, the Cats shut down Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila, who came in with league-best passing totals of 3,716 yards and 104 touchdowns. He was 8 of 22 for 114 yards and one TD before getting replaced in the second half Friday.
The SaberCats also held the Rattlers well below their per-game average of 66.9 points, holding Arizona scoreless on nine straight possessions.
"Our guys played great," Arbet said. "They came out, took it to 'em early and continued to take care of business."
Linebacker Francis Maka swung the momentum in the SaberCats' favor late in the first quarter, returning a Davila fumble 8 yards for a touchdown.
Bearing down on Davila, Maka appeared ready to sack Davila when teammate Terrance Carter got to the quarterback first. After Carter jarred the ball loose, an alert Maka scooped it up and raced to the end zone to put the SaberCats up 21-7.
Two rushing touchdowns by Odie Armstrong book-ended a 10-yard TD pass from Nathan Stanley to Rod Harper as the 'Cats led 41-7 at halftime.
JULY 6 GAME
SaberCats (10-4) at Los Angeles (3-10), 7 p.m. CSNBA