Coming back on the flight from San Jose, the Utah Blaze had to deal with something they haven't dealt with in nearly two months.
The division rival SaberCats cut Utah's winning streak at four games, and defensive back Al Phillips admitted it was a strange feeling.
"It was tough; we were just disappointed in our performance," Phillips said. "We had to put it behind us."
Utah has tried to pull through it in practice, facing a tough game against division rival Arizona coming up on Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena. Despite the loss, the Blaze are still in the upper echelon of the Arena Football League with a 6-3 record.
But being humbled brings its lessons. The Blaze's defense is still not quite where they want it to be, and coach Ron James says the offense needs to speed up.
"We weren't quite at the tempo we wanted in the last game, so we've been working on that," James says. "It's tough because you're used to winning, and now you've got to deal with the emptiness of a loss. The lesson here is not to take winning for granted."
But the week has not been without its pleasant surprises. Wideout Shaun Kauleinamoku has scored nine touchdowns in only his first two games after coming off the waiver wire, earning AFL Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against San Jose.
The Blaze will need Kauleinamoku to be his best and might need a few more surprises to down the Rattlers (6-3).
"It's a division game, so it's a must-win," he says. "We're looking forward. We gotta get a W."
Arizona Rattlers at Utah Blaze
P At EnergySolutions Arena
Kickoff • Saturday, 7 p.m.
Records • Rattlers 6-3; Blaze 6-3
TV • KYMU
Radio • 97.5 FM, 1280 AM