By Derek Fleming, staff writer, WNFC
The Northeast rivalry between the Seattle Majestics and Oregon Ravens was one of the closest games played in Week 1, coming down to a field goal in double-overtime to decide the winner. While the Ravens took the win, the play of outside linebacker Mike Fortson was one of the reasons the game was held to a tie for virtually the entire contest.
Fortson had an impressive stat line by the end of the game, recording 13 tackles overall including four that went for losses and the Majestic’s only sack. Fortson also earned credit for a pass defense as Seattle prevented either of the Ravens quarterbacks from completing a pass on seven attempts.
“One of the things we like to pride ourselves on is we are a legit no-fly zone,” Fortson said. “No one passes on us.”
Fortson said that one of the goals of the Majestics defense is to stop the run, forcing teams to turn to the passing game.
“It’s almost like we are going to make them pass on us, so we are going to shut down your run game, make you pass, and then shut that down, too,” Fortson said.
Outside of the obvious stats Fortson accumulated, her impact went far beyond tackles as she was flying around and making an impact on nearly every play. Whether it was spinning out of a block and forcing a runner to turn back inside or blowing up a play in the backfield, the Ravens offense seemed to have few answers for stopping Fortson throughout the game, particularly in the latter stages of action.
“It gives everyone the opportunity to go 100-percent full speed, full force, and trust each other,” Fortson said of her disruptive playing style. “You could just see that everyone was flying around and having fun.”
Fortson’s efforts were particularly obvious when the Ravens attempted to get run plays moving to the outside edges. Very few Ravens players were able to pick up chunk yardage due to the speed and tenacity of Fortson and the Majestic defense.
“Definitely, outside running is something we focus on each and every week,” Fortson said. “Once you get that corner, it’s hard to run through those gaps, so we bounce it back inside and there is nothing they can do.”
Overall, the Majestics defense held the Ravens to slightly more than three yards-per-carry on 49 attempts and gave up only a handful of rushes over 10 yards. Fortson said that the entire team plays with passion, something she understands perfectly.
“I get up Monday and I’m looking at my clock every hour like, is it Saturday yet? There’s nothing like getting to your first meeting and being around your teammates, it’s just a feeling you can’t describe until you get there.”