The league completed its regular-season schedule on Sunday in Berlin, where the Cologne Centurions earned a 17-13 come-from-behind victory over the Thunder before a franchise-record crowd of 20,927 at Olympic Stadium.
It was a record year for NFL Europe attendance-wise, as the average crowd of 18,965 was the highest since the league re-launched as an all-European competition in 1995, topping the previous best of 18,573 in 2001. The 18,965 figure marked a 19 percent increase from 2004, when the league averaged 15,932.
Cologne overcame a 10-point, third-quarter deficit en route to the win. Buffalo Bills quarterback KEVIN THOMPSON connected with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver ROMBY BRYANT on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 1:53 remaining, lifting the Centurions.
The defensive effort was led by Chicago Bears defensive end GREG WHITE, who finished with eight tackles and 3.0 sacks. White led NFL Europe with 7.0 sacks in 2005.
Houston Texans quarterback DAVE RAGONE saw limited action for Berlin, completing five of seven attempts for 54 yards. Ragone finished the year as the league’s top passer, posting a 97.5 passer rating. His 13 touchdown passes tied for most in NFL Europe while his two interceptions were a league low. His active streak of 174 consecutive passes without an interception is the longest such streak in Europe League history.
On Saturday in Düsseldorf, the Rhein Fire ended its season with a second consecutive victory, earning a 27-14 triumph over the World Bowl-bound Amsterdam Admirals.
Tennessee Titans running back JOE SMITH finished the season in record-breaking fashion, rushing for 134 yards on 33 carries, including a five-yard touchdown run. The 100-yard game was his NFL Europe League- record sixth of the season. He concluded the campaign with 1,026 yards, the second highest total in NFL Europe history.
"It’s a great feeling to get in the record books," Smith said. "We came in knowing they would stack the box and try to stop us from breaking any rushing records. It was tough, but the guys on the offensive line came up big and we got it done."
Meanwhile in Hamburg on Saturday, the Sea Devils improved to 5-5 on the season with a 17-15 win over the visiting Frankfurt Galaxy before a record crowd of 21,204.
The Sea Devils used a pair of long touchdowns to earn the victory. Denver Broncos defensive tackle AARON HUNT blocked a field goal and then returned it 85 yards for a second-quarter touchdown. Less than five minutes later, Indianapolis Colts quarterback TOM ARTH connected with Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver TERRANCE METCALF on a 95-yard touchdown pass for a 14-0 lead Hamburg would not surrender.
"The team really gave us everything they had all season," said Hamburg head coach JACK BICKNELL. "I’m proud of the way the team responded today and it’s great that these guys can head back home and back to their NFL teams with a win."
NFL EUROPE LEAGUE FINAL 2005 STANDINGS
|Berlin Thunder *||7||3||0||.700||
|Amsterdam Admirals *||6||4||0||.600||
|Hamburg Sea Devils||5||5||0||.500||
* Clinched World Bowl Berth
Week 10 Results
Cologne 17, Berlin 13
Hamburg 17, Frankfurt 15
Rhein 27, Amsterdam 14
World Bowl XIII - Saturday, June 11
Amsterdam Admirals at Berlin Thunder 12:00 PM (ET) FOX
SEAHAWKS IN NFL EUROPE
AMSTERDAM ADMIRALS: CB B.J. TUCKER - Started all 10 games. Tied for NFL Europe lead with five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. Finished season with 19 tackles and 11 passes defensed.TE TONY DONALD - Played in four games, starting each. Caught 10 passes for 142 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown...P RYAN DUTTON - Finished second in league with a 41.7-yard average and a 35.3-yard net average...QB GIBRAN HAMDAN - Played in four games, starting each. Completed 39 of 75 passes for 556 yards and five touchdowns. Had an 87.4 quarterback rating.
BERLIN THUNDER: DE CHRISTIAN MOHR - Played in all 10 games, starting four. Finished second on team with 4.0 sacks for a net loss of 29 yards. Had 19 tackles, two passes defensed and two forced fumbles...CB MICHAEL HARDEN - Played in all 10 games, starting six. Registered 21 tackles, two interceptions and 10 passes defensed...K KEVIN MILLER - Finished third among kickers with 75 points in 10 games. Connected on 17 of 21 field goals and 24 of 25 PATs.
COLOGNE CENTURIONS: CB KEVIN HOUSE - Played in nine games, starting eight. Registered 18 tackles and seven passes defensed.
HAMBURG SEA DEVILS: DE KEVIN EMANUEL - Played in all 10 games, starting seven. Recorded 4.0 sacks, 19 tackles, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.
RHEIN FIRE: LB TERENCE ROBINSON - Started all 10 games. Recorded 29 tackles, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.