On Saturday night, Arizona Rattlers defensive back Virgil Gray enjoyed one of his best Arena Football League performances of the season.
And because of Gray’s performance, VooDoo quarterback Chris Dixon suffered his worst game of the summer.
Gray accounted for three of Dixon’s four interceptions during a 79-42 VooDoo loss at US Airways Center, a defeat that ended the VooDoo’s season-best winning streak at two games while curtailing any chance at an upset of the league’s best team.
The VooDoo was outscored in each quarter, and scored more than one touchdown in just the second quarter (21 points). Those were some of the reasons why Arizona (14-2) clinched its third consecutive West Division title, and the VooDoo dropped to 5-11.
Dixon, a recent VooDoo signee who had earned the starting job over Kurt Rocco, struggled, going 20-for-39 passing for 238 yards. He threw three touchdowns and was sacked twice.
Meanwhile, Arizona’s defense did not allow Dixon to utilize the scrambling that in recent weeks made him a viable candidate under center. He finished with 21 yards on seven carries against the Rattlers. Dixon did rush for two scores.
Dixon’s counterpart had no such troubles.
Nick Davila led Arizona on nine scoring drives. Davila finished 14-of-18 with 214 passing yards and seven TDs.
Dixon’s troubles with Gray started on the VooDoo’s first offensive play. Gray jumped in front of Dixon’s first pass near midfield.
Four plays later, Odie Armstrong scored from 2 yards to give Arizona a 7-0 lead.
From here, the VooDoo offense was unable to gain enough momentum to end possessions with scoring.
Late in the third quarter, Dixon ran for a 4-yard score then watched his special teams recover an onside kick. But with the score 52-35, Dixon was intercepted again by Gray near the Arizona goal line. Davila then threw his sixth touchdown pass.
After another Arizona scoring drive, Dixon was again picked off by Gray near the goal line. Gray returned it 24 yards near midfield, ending Dixon’s outing.
Gray, who has played in 15 games this season, is tied for second in the AFL in interceptions (12).