Tag: Alliance of American Football

Week 8 And Done – AAF Folds

AAF-foldedAfter eight weeks of the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) the league has suspended operations.  For weeks there had been rumors of the league folding before the end of the season and yesterday it was made official.  Tom Dundon, owner of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, stepped in early in the season with a $250 million investment to give the AAF some financial stability but after trying to force the National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA) into a working agreement with the AAF, Dundon pulled the plug which ended the season in a week that saw the Birmingham Iron clinch a playoff spot and the Arizona Hotshots winning their third straight.

BIRMINGHAM IRON 17, ATLANTA LEGENDS 9

Birmingham Running Back Trent Richardson rushed for 83 yards and scored the game’s only touchdown to lead the Iron to a 17-9 victory over the Atlanta Legends to clinch a playoff berth.  The Iron only gained 177 total yards, but took advantage of four turnovers by Atlanta including two late in the fourth quarter to seal the win.  Set up by the Iron’s fumble recovery near the goal line, Richardson snapped a 3-3 tie with a 2-yard TD run in the second quarter. Quinton Patton added a two-point conversion on a pass from Luis Perez.

ARIZONA HOTSHOTS 23, SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS 6

Led by two touchdowns from running back Tim Cook, the Hotshots beat the San Antonio Commanders 23-6 for their third straight win on Sunday.  John Wolford threw for 216 yards and a touchdown to Rashad Ross, who led Arizona receivers with 78 yards.  Trailing by nine points midway through the fourth quarter, Marquise Williams led the Commanders into the red zone before being stripped on a sack to give possession back to the Hotshots.  Cook capped the ensuing six-play, 69-yard drive for the Hotshots with a 20-yard touchdown to push the game out of reach.  The Commanders announced an attendance of 23,504 — the lowest of San Antonio’s four home games but higher than any other team in the Alliance has drawn for a game this season. The Alamodome was hosting a Sunday night game for the first time and also clashing with a San Antonio Spurs home game for the first time. The Commanders have averaged 27,720 fans for their four home games, while the rest of the league averages 13,524 fans through 28 games.

SALT LAKE STALLIONS 8, SAN DIEGO FLEET 3

The Salt Lake Stallions scored the game’s only touchdown near the end of the first half, converted the required two-point try, and that’s all they needed for an 8-3 victory over the visiting Fleet.  The only touchdown of the game came with Salt Lake at the San Diego 2-yard line with 4:18 left in the second quarter, Salt Lake quarterback Josh Woodrum bobbled the snap from center and even went to one knee before managing to hand the ball off to running back Joel Bouagnon.  As he crossed over the goal line, Bouagnon lost control of the ball. But the fumble, after review, was ruled after the ball crossed into the end zone and the touchdown stood. Woodrum then found Jordan Leslie in the back of the end zone for a completion on the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.   The teams combined for six turnovers while the offenses failed to do much as San Diego had 264 yards of offense to 250 yards for Salt Lake.

ORLANDO APOLLOS 34, MEMPHIS EXPRESS 31

The Apollos took advantage of late Express miscues and scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes to earn a 34-31 road win Saturday and clinch home-field advantage during the first round of the Alliance of American Football playoffs.  During the game, Johnny Manziel appeared ready to come off the bench and serve as a spark for the Express, but he suffered a concussion while trying to stop Will Hill III during an interception return.  The Express threatened to upset the Apollos (7-1) and led 31-28 with less than three minutes remaining amid heavy rain at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium when Memphis punter Ryan Winslow fumbled a snap inside his own 30.  Orlando took over and De’Veon Smith eventually rumbled to the end zone from the 1-yard line to give the Apollos a lead they would not relinquish.

FINAL STANDINGS:

Eastern Conference

  • xy-Orlando Apollos (7-1)
  • x-Birmingham Iron (5-3)
  • Memphis Express (2-6)
  • Atlanta Legends (2-6)

Western Conference

  • Arizona Hotshots (5-3)
  • San Antonio Commanders (5-3)
  • San Diego Fleet (3-5)
  • Salt Lake Stallions (3-5)

x – clinched playoff spot, xy – clinched home field

STATEMENT FROM THE AAF:

“I am extremely disappointed to learn Tom Dundon has decided to suspend all football operations of the Alliance of American Football,” Bill Polian said in a statement Tuesday. “When Mr. Dundon took over, it was the belief of my co-founder, Charlie Ebersol, and myself that we would finish the season, pay our creditors, and make the necessary adjustments to move forward in a manner that made economic sense for all.  “The momentum generated by our players, coaches and football staff had us well positioned for future success. Regrettably, we will not have that opportunity.”

STATEMENT FROM THE ORLANDO APOLLOS:

On behalf of everyone with the Orlando Apollos organization, we were shocked and incredibly disappointed to learn of the decision to suspend football operations in The Alliance of American Football. The Alliance produced a quality professional football product, and it’s been our privilege to build the Orlando Apollos into a championship team with a league-best 7-1 record. The Greater Orlando community embraced our team from the beginning. Enthusiasm continued to grow throughout the season as large crowds of passionate fans supported us at Spectrum Stadium for our home games, and many others watched and rooted for the Apollos’ success from afar. While all startups encounter some challenges, we believed we could address ours in the offseason after bringing the City of Orlando a championship and a successful completion to the league’s first season. We are extremely grateful to our players, coaches, staff, corporate partners and especially our fans who fervently supported us as Orlando’s professional football team. We hope to be able to share information from The Alliance about ticket refunds in the future. Thank you for your support and for believing in us.

Sincerely,
Steve Spurrier, Head Coach
Tim Ruskell, General Manager
Michael Waddell, Team President

PERSONAL COMMENTARY:

Once again the cities of Orlando, San Antonio, Birmingham and Memphis are burned by yet another failed football league.  The AAF showed a lot of promise and had the opportunity to be a viable spring league.  It is unfortunate that the survival of the league depended upon one rich investor, Tom Dundon, who tried to strong-arm the NFL into accepting the AAF as its developmental league.  It is also disappointing that Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian failed to prepare to sustain the league for an entire season.  They should have needed Dundon.  That is a result of poor planning on their part and now coaches, players and fans are out of a job.  The AAF had the best shot in years to survive with the caliber of players and coaches in the league.   To be clear it was Tom Dundon’s money so he had a right to control things but it was ridiculous for him to use his investment to force the NFLPA into an agreement.  Future leagues should learn this important lesson and not allow one rich investor to call the shots.  Dundon becomes the Donald Trump of the AAF.  Trump did the same thing to the United States Football League (USFL) in the early 80s.  But, you know, if I had $250 million no one would tell me how to spend it either.  It’s just too bad that the AAF’s survival hinged on one man.   The XFL should take note as it plans to re-launch next spring.

 

 

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AAF Week 7: First Overtime & First Playoff Spot Clinched

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John Wolford Leads Arizona To A Big Win

Week 7 of the first season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) had a little bit of everything.  Just when you thought you had seen all the first of the new league, this week gave us a few more.

ORLANDO APOLLOS 36, ATLANTA LEGENDS 6

Led by running back De’Veon Smith’s three rushing touchdowns, Orlando beat the Atlanta Legends to clinch the first spot in the Eastern Conference championship game.  Any hope of a close game disappeared in the second half, when Atlanta turned the ball over twice to end promising drives. The first came in the third quarter, when Apollos cornerback Deji Olatoye intercepted a pass from Legends quarterback Aaron Murray and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown to give Orlando a commanding 28-6 lead.  Murray threw another interception on the Legends’ next possession, to cornerback Cody Riggs at the Apollos’ goal line.  Garrett Gilbert added a touchdown pass to wide receiver Charles Johnson in the fourth quarter.

Next:

  • Orlando at Memphis
  • Atlanta at Birmingham

MEMPHIS EXPRESS 31, BIRMINGHAM 25 (ot)

With all the hype surrounding the signing of Johnny Manziel, it was Memphis Quarterback Brandon Silvers who led the Express to their second win of the season Sunday night against the Birmingham Iron in the first overtime game in AAF history.  Silvers went 24-for-35 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner to wide receiver Dan Williams on a 10-yard slant in overtime.  The Memphis Express scored the final 17 points of the game after trailing 25-14 with 9:01 left in regulation. The performance of Silvers, the Express defense getting pressure on Iron quarterback Luis Perez and big plays on special teams carried Memphis to its second win of the season.  The momentum of the game started to change late in the third quarter when DeMarquis Gates blocked an Iron punt and defensive back Terrell Bonds ran it back 50 yards for the touchdown. It was the first blocked punt and blocked punt touchdown in the history of The Alliance.

Next:

  • Memphis will host Orlando
  • Birmingham will host Atlanta

SAN ANOTNIO COMMANDERS 19, SALT LAKE STALLIONS 15

Trey Williams’ 36-yard touchdown reception and Greg Ward Jr.’s two-point conversion catch with less than six minutes left gave San Antonio the win over Salt Lake in front of an Alliance-record 30,345 fans at the Alamodome. Williams took a short pass from reserve quarterback Marquise Williams – who entered the game in the fourth quarter for injured starter Logan Woodside – sprinted down the right sideline and leaped into the end zone for the go-ahead score. Marquise Williams then found Ward Jr. for a successful two-point conversion to put San Antonio up 17-9 with 5:29 left to play. On the ensuing possession, the Stallions drove 75 yards to make it a two-point contest after Terrell Newby’s 21-yard TD reception from Josh Woodrum on the first play following the two-minute warning. Salt Lake had a chance to tie the score on the two-point try but De’Vante Bausby stepped in front of Woodrum’s pass in the left flat and returned it untouched to make it 19-15.

Next:

  • San Antonio hosts Arizona
  • Salt Lake hosts San Diego

ARIZONA HOTSHOTS 32, SAN DIEGO FLEET 15

Behind Hotshots quarterback John Wolford, Arizona emerged from a back-and-forth first half with a slight lead and pulled away with a fourth-quarter surge to defeat San Diego, 32-15, on Sunday afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium. The victory pushed the Hotshots (4-3) into second place in the Western Conference — a game behind San Antonio (5-2) — and into fourth place in the league with four postseason spots up for grabs. San Diego felWolford completed an efficient 15 of 19 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns to one pick, while adding 44 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Rashad Ross, a stellar receiver all season for Arizona, had three catches for 53 yards.

Next:

  • Arizona at San Antonio
  • San Diego at Salt Lake

AAF STANDINGS:

Eastern Conference

  • Orlando Apollos (6-1)
  • Birmingham Iron (4-3)
  • Memphis Express (2-5)
  • Atlanta Legends (2-5)

Western Conference

  • San Antonio Commanders (5-2)
  • Arizona Hotshots (4-3)
  • San Diego Fleet (3-4)
  • Salt Lake Stallions (2-5)

AAF NEWS AND NOTES:

  • The AFF is moving its championship game from Las Vegas to Frisco, Texas. The new eight-team spring league said last week that the April 27 title game will switch to The Ford Center at the Star, which is owned by Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys and is the indoor practice arena for the team.
  • Johnny Manziel’s first game in the AAF with the Memphis Express drew solid TV ratings. Over 250,000 tuned in for Manziel’s game against the Birmingham Iron on the NFL Network. Johnny Football slung it for 48 yards and rushed for 20 yards coming in off the bench in the winning effort for Memphis.
  • Tom Dundon, who just injected $250 million into the Alliance in February. Speaking with USA Today Sports, Dundon, the owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, said the start-up league could be in danger of folding without the cooperation of the NFLPA in acquiring young talent. “If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” Dundon said. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”

 

Orlando Suffers First Loss In AAF

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Hotshots Bring Down Apollos in Week 6

Through five weeks into the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF), it looked like Steve Spurrier’s Orlando Apollos were unbeatable.  In week 6 they were beaten.  Here’s a recap of the games from Week 6:

Arizona Hotshots 22, Orlando Apollos 17

The Hotshots reminded the Apollos that no one was perfect as they held the Apollos to a season-low 17 points as the offense never really got on track.   The Hotshots were the ones calling the shots on offense, especially on the ground.  Tim Cook had 11 carries for 71 yards, Jhurell Pressley ran for 57 yards and Justin Stockton added 37 yards which wore down the Apollos’ defensive line while controlling the line-of-scrimmage.  Arizona was 2-of-2 in the red zone.  The win snaps the Hotshots’ three game losing streak.

Next:  Orlando plays at Atlanta, Arizona hosts San Diego.

Salt Lake 22, Memphis 9

Salt Lake started out strong offensively in the opening quarter jumping to an early 16-0 lead at the hands of QB Josh Woodrum completing an 11-yard touchdown pass to TE Nick Truesdell on the game’s opening drive. Continuing with the league’s highest 2-point conversion rate, Woodrum capitalized the drive when hitting WR Jordan Leslie for the two-point conversion.  Salt Lake continued with their first quarter flurry by capping off a 44-yard scoring drive with a 14-yard touchdown from Woodrum to TE Anthony Denham. RB Terrell Newby caught a pass from Woodrum to convert their second consecutive two-point conversion to take a 16-0. Following a key defensive stop following on a surprise Memphis fake-punt, K Taylor Bertolet kicked a 26-yard field goal to put the Stallions up 19-0.

Next:  Salt Lake travels to San Antonio, Memphis hosts Birmingham

San Antonio 37, Atlanta 6

The San Antonio Commanders scored early and never trailed as they defeated the Atlanta Legends 37-6 in front of 10,619 at Georgia State Stadium. The Commanders (4-2) set a season-high in points by scoring 37, and the defense matched its best performance of the year by holding the Legends (2-4) to just six points.  The San Antonio defense led the way by forcing four turnovers, marking the third straight week with three or more turnovers. De’Vante Bausby, Zack Sanchez and Derron Smith all tallied an interception and Duke Thomas recovered a fumble in the victory. Offensively, Logan Woodside completed 17 of his 23 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns – one to Mekale McKay and another to Evan Rodriguez.

Next:  San Antonio will host Salt Lake, Atlanta is at home against Orlando

Birmingham 32, San Diego 29

Quarterback Luis Perez came off the bench for injured starter Keith Price and threw three touchdowns, and he led a final drive that ended with Nick Novak’s 43-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to lift the Birmingham Iron to a victory over the San Diego Fleet at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. The win ends Birmingham’s two-game losing streak.

Next:  Birmingham plays at Memphis, San Diego is at Arizona.

AFF News and Notes:

  • Johnny Manziel has joined the Memphis Express.   There has been no indication on when Manziel might see his first action in the AAF.
  • The Birmingham Iron’s front office has undergone a midseason shake-up.  Iron President Tom Ward and Vice President for Marketing Randy Campbell are no longer with the team. It’s unclear if they were fired or left the organization voluntarily.
  • Offensive player of the week: Birmingham WR L’Damian Washington. Washington had four receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns in The Iron’s 32-29 week six win. The performance marks team single-game records in receiving yards and touchdown catches, while Washington became the first player in Alliance history with at least 125 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in the same game.
  • Defensive player of the week: Salt Lake DE Karter Schult. Schult tallied five total tackles, two sacks and four QB hits in The Stallions’ 22-9 victory last week. Schult, who leads The Alliance with seven sacks this season, anchored a Salt Lake defense that held Memphis to nine points and 239 total yards while racking up seven team sacks in the win.
  • Special teams player of the week: San Antonio PR Greg Ward, Jr. Ward, Jr., a highly-accomplished quarterback at the University of Houston before transitioning to wide receiver/returner after college, set an Alliance record with a 79-yard punt return-touchdown in The Commanders’ 37-6 win in week six.

AAF Standings:

Eastern Conference

  • Orlando Apollos (5-1)
  • Birmingham Iron (4-2)
  • Atlanta Legends (2-4)
  • Memphis Express (1-5)

Western Conference

  • San Antonio Commanders (4-2)
  • San Diego Fleet (3-3)
  • Arizona Hotshots (3-3)
  • Salt Lake Stallions (2-4)

 

 

Exciting Finishes In Week 5

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Fleet hang on to beat Stallions

If you need some exciting finishes to football games, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) featured three of four games where the outcome was in doubt until the end.  The surprising result was that the much-anticipated match up between Orlando and Birmingham wasn’t one of them.

Atlanta Legends 23, Memphis Express 20

Legends’ kicker Younghoe Koo booted three field goals, including a 38-yard game-winner, to give Atlanta a 23-20 win over the Memphis Express. Koo remains perfect on the season and improves Atlanta’s record to 2-3.  Legends’ quarterback Aaron Murray passed for over 300 yards and a touchdown. Running back Tarean Folston rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown. Seantavius Jones led the team in receiving with five receptions for 89 yards.

San Antonio Commanders 29, Arizona Hotshots 25

This was two different games as the Commanders jumped out to a 26-0 lead. Arizona’s Rashad Ross drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone on a pass that had been intercepted, just one play after a holding penalty on the Commanders negated a San Antonio interception. The Hotshots rallied to come within one possession of the Commanders.  However, on the fourth-and-12 “onside conversion” that the AAF uses, the Hotshots were unable to get a throw off. San Antonio moved into a tie atop the West with the San Diego Fleet.

San Diego Fleet 27, Salt Lake Stallions 25

Kameron Kelly had a career night for the Fleet with three interceptions in a 27-25 win over the Salt Lake Stallions. Stallions quarterback Josh Woodrum led the Stallions with a 76 -yard drive in the closing minutes of the game to go up 25-24 with less than a minute to play. San Diego quarterback Mike Bercovici answered with a 45-yard pass to Dontez Ford which set up Donny Hageman for the game-winning field goal as time expired.

Orlando Apollos 31, Birmingham Iron 14

This was supposed to be a matchup of two unbeaten teams in the AAF but after Birmingham’s loss last week, it turned out to be less than expected as the Orlando Apollo’s rolled to a convincing win in Birmingham.  The Apollos are averaging an AAF-best 29.8 points per game at the halfway point of the season. They jumped out to a 17-0 lead as quarterback Garrett Gilbert completed 23 of 35 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns against against the league’s top scoring defense. Charles Johnson caught six passes for 83 yards for Orlando, while De’Veon Smith had 119 yards on 14 carries.

AAF NEWS AND NOTES:

  • San Diego Cornerback Kameron Kelly is the defensive player of the week with three interceptions for the Fleet in their win over the Salt Lake Stallions
  • San Antonio Commanders’ quarterback Logan Woodside is the offensive player of the week as he completed 21-of-27 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona.
  • Rumors have been swirling that troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel might join the San Antonio Commanders but do the Commanders really need him?
  • AAF football app is now available on Apple TV
  • Starter has returned to football as the official supplier for the AAF.
  • If you don’t have time to watch an entire AAF game, watch the highlights on YouTube.  Type “AAF Highlights” in the search and click on Highlight Heaven for each game.  They are pretty good quality highlights.

Current AAF Standings:

  • Eastern Division
    • Orlando Apollos (5-0)
    • Birmingham Iron (3-2)
    • Atlanta Legends (2-3)
    • Memphis Express (1-4)
  • Western Division
    • San Antonio Commanders (3-2)
    • San Diego Fleet (3-2)
    • Arizona Hotshots (2-3)
    • Salt Lake Stallions (1-4)

Week 6 Schedule:

  • Memphis at Salt Lake
  • Arizona at Orlando
  • San Antonio at Atlanta
  • Birmingham at San Diego

 

Unlucky 11 For AAF Teams in Week 4

Former UGA QB Aaron Murray Leads Legends To First Win

The San Antonio Commanders spoiled a potential showdown of unbeatens as they edged the Birmingham Iron 12-11 to leave the Orlando Apollos as the Alliance of American Football (AAF) only remained undefeated team.  Week 4 was an unlucky week to score 11 points as three teams scored 11 points and lost their games this week.

Orlando Apollos 20, Salt Lake Stallions 11

The Stallions and Apollos played in the snow in this one. The Stallions did their best to knock off the unbeaten Apollos but Orlando got it done with quarterback Garrett Gilbert passing for 244 yards. with a 20-yard touchdown to receiver Donteea Dye Jr.  Receiver Charles Johnson also had a big day, hauling in nine catches for 105 yards and Apollos running back Akeem Hunt had a touchdown on the ground.

San Antonio Commanders 12, Birmingham Iron 11

Trey Williams scored a touchdown from 12 yards out in the third quarter and the San Antonio Commanders’ defense held strong to beat the Iron. Commanders running back Kenneth Farrow ran for 142 yards on 30 carries, while quarterback Logan Woodside completed 11 of 25 attempts for 106 yards. Birmingham outgained San Antonio 283-256 but scored just one touchdown on a 1-yard rush from Trent Richardson with less than two minutes to play. The Commanders’ Orion Stewart intercepted the Iron’s ensuing onside conversion attempt.

Memphis Express 26, San Diego Fleet 23

The Express finally got their first victory as they rallied against the Fleet. Memphis quarterback Zach Mettenberger led two impressive drives in the game. Mettenberger finished the game completing 18-of-25 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown while he also ran in another score on the ground. Reece Horn was again his go-to receiver, hauling in all four of his targeted passes for 63 yards.

Atlanta Legends 14, Arizona Hotshots 11

The Legends outlasted the Hotshots and despite a late touchdown to Rashad Ross and 2-point conversion attempt tied the game at 11 with 5:20 left, the Legends marched down the field for a Younghoe Koo game-winner with 1:03 left on the clock. They held Hotshots QB John Wolford to little success on their comeback attempt late in the game for the first win in franchise history. Former University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray replaced starter Matt Simms and. finished the game completing 20-of-33 passes for 254 yards while also leading the team with 54 rushing yards on just seven attempts.

News and Notes:

  • Atlanta scored the first safety in AAF history in their game against the Hotshots.
  • Orlando has the most explosive offense averaging 385 yards and 29.5 points per game.
  • Orlando quarterback Garrett Gilbert is the only quarterback with more than 1,000 yards passing.
  • Memphis Express linebacker Drew Jackson had 13 tackles and an interception for his team’s first win of the season.
  • Nasty weather gave the AFF a blow in attendance as Birmingham and Salt Lake dropped.

Current AAF Standings:

Eastern Division

  • Orlando Apollos (4-0)
  • Birmingham Iron (3-1)
  • Atlanta Legends (1-3)
  • Memphis Express (1-3)

Western Division

  • Arizona Hotshots (2-2)
  • San Antonio Commanders (2-2)
  • San Diego Fleet (2-2)
  • Salt Lake City Stallions (1-3)

Week 5 Schedule:

  • Orlando at Birmingham
  • Salt Lake at San Diego
  • Memphis at Atlanta
  • San Antonio at Arizona

 

Orlando, Birmingham Remain Unbeaten in AAF

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Steve Spurrier (Orlando) and Trent Richardson (Birmingham) are undefeated

The Orlando Apollos, coached by Steve Spurrier, and Birmingham Iron, led by RB Trent Richardson, go into Week 4 of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) season as the only two teams without a loss.  If the two teams can win this week, they will have a showdown in Birmingham on March 9th.

Birmingham Iron 28, Atlanta Legends 12

The Iron spoiled Atlanta’s home opener as running back Trent Richardson scored three touchdowns and the Iron defense clamped down on the Legends’ offense in the second half.  The Legends had their chances in the first half with 2o plays in the red zone but could only gain 20 yards.  The Legends rallied late for 154 yards on their final three possessions which included the league’s first onside conversion with a 48-yard pass completion from Matt Simms to Seantavius Jones.

San Diego Fleet 31, San Antonio Commanders 11

The Fleet claimed their second win of the season behind RB Ja’Quan Gardner’s 122 yards on 12 carries, including the longest play in Alliance history with his 83-yard touchdown run. The Fleet ran for 202 yards as a team in the 31-11 win over The San Antonio Commanders. Fleet QB Philip Nelson threw the first two touchdowns of his career – both to WR Nelson Spruce. The Fleet defense stopped the Commanders attack with five sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown by LB AJ Tarpley.

Salt Lake Stallions 23, Arizona Hotshots 15

Salt Lake QB Josh Woodrum was 22 of 31 for 178 yards and a touchdown to lead the Stallions to their first win in franchise history.  RB Branden Oliver and RB Joel Bouagnon continued the Stallions’ one-two punch where the duo rushed for 85 combined yards against Arizona. Both Oliver and Bouagnon had a rushing touchdown.

Orlando Apollos 21, Memphis Express 17

Orlando QB Garrett Gilbert completed 14 of 28 passes for 207 yards, which included a 37-yard touchdown to wide receiver Rannell Hall with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter that extended the Apollos’ lead to 15-6.  Gilbert also rushed for 43 yards on seven attempts.  The story of the game was the play of Express quarterback Zach Mettenberger.  After a first half in which starter Christian Hackenberg completed 8 of 14 passes for 88 yards with two interceptions and a 36.3 passer rating, Mettenberger entered the game at the start of the second half with Memphis trailing, 9-0.  He immediately led the Express down the field on a nine-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Devin Lucien.  In the fourth quarter, a seven-play, 75-yard drive ended with a 40-yard scoring pass from Mettenberger to wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard.  A two-point pass to running back Anthony Manzo-Lewis made the score 21-17 with 5:32 to play.  However, the Express never saw the ball again as five Orlando running plays netted 62 yards prior to three kneeldowns to conclude the game.  Mettenberger completed 9 of 12 passes for 120 yards, the two touchdowns and a 145.8 passer rating.

News and Notes:

  • Offensive player of the week: San Diego RB Ja’Quan Gardner. Gardner rushed 12 times for an Alliance single-game record 122 yards (10.2 yards per carry) and one touchdown in the Fleet’s 31-11 win last week. Gardner’s day was highlighted by an 83-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, the longest rush in Alliance history, as he became the first player with back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances (104 yards in week two).
  • Defensive player of the week: San Diego LB A.J. Tarpley. Tarpley tied for second on the team with five tackles and had a 27-yard interception return-touchdown, which proved to be the game-winning score, in San Diego’s second consecutive home win.
  • Special teams player of the week: Birmingham P Colton Schmidt. Schmidt punted five times for a 49.2-yard gross average with a long of 57 yards in the Iron’s 28-12 week three victory. Schmidt placed three of his five punts inside the 20 last week, tied for the most such punts in a single game in Alliance history, while helping Birmingham control field position throughout the day.
  • AAF’s Week Three games on NFL Network had significantly increased ratings over Week Two.  The official numbers, first reported by SportsTVRatings.com, show that the Saturday night game generated an average audience of 491,000, up from 424,000 in Week Two. On Sunday night, the prime-time game drew an average crowd of 515,000, a 90,000 viewer increase from Week Two’s comparable crowd of 425,000.
  • The AAF and founder Charlie Ebersol are facing a lawsuit from Robert Vanech, who claims he came up with the idea for the league, according to a report by Action Network’s Darren Rovell. Vanech, a venture capitalist based out of Los Angeles, claims to have had a “handshake agreement” entitling him to 50 percent ownership of the league, according to the report.  The AAF issued a statement in response to Vanech’s claims:  “Mr. Vanech’s claim is without merit,” the statement said. “There was never any agreement, oral or written, between Mr. Vanech and Mr. Ebersol relating to The Alliance. We remain focused solely on our historic, inaugural season when each weekend over 400 players get an opportunity to showcase their talents and fulfill their dreams of playing professional football.”
  • AAF Attendance figures:
    • San Antonio (28,625)
    • Orlando (20,292)
    • San Diego (17,404)
    • Birmingham (17,179)
    • Memphis (11,980)
    • Arizona (11,751)
    • Atlanta (10,717)
    • Salt Lake (10,412)

Week 3 Standings:

Eastern Division

  • Orlando Apollos (3-0)
  • Birmingham Iron (3-0)
  • Memphis Express (0-3)
  • Atlanta Legends (0-3)

Western Division

  • San Diego Fleet (2-1)
  • Arizona Hotshots (2-1)
  • San Antonio Commanders (1-2)
  • Salt Lake Stallions (1-2)

Week 4 Schedule:

  • San Diego at Memphis
  • Orlando at Salt Lake
  • San Antonio at Birmingham
  • Atlanta at Arizona

 

Orlando and Arizona Top AAF

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AAF Brings Pro Football Back To San Diego

After a successful debut, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) entered week two of their inaugural season with San Diego and Memphis in their home openers.

San Diego Fleet 24, Atlanta Legends 12

Professional football returned to San Diego as 20,000 fans welcomed the Fleet in their home opener.  The Legends jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the sloppy weather conditions but the Fleet stormed back as running back Ja’Quan Gardner scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and the Fleet gained a total of 185 yards on the ground. Gardner finished the game with 15 carries for 104 yards and two scores.

Arizona HotShots 20, Memphis Express 18

The HotShots spoiled the Express home opener in Memphis. The Express dominated for the majority of the game, including taking a 12-0 lead into halftime with the AAF’s first ever 100-yard rusher in Zac Stacy, who led all teams with 101 yards on the night. However, Arizona got their game together to shut down the run.  The Hotshots got a 4-yard touchdown pass from John Wolford to running back Tim Cook with 7:07 remaining to take the lead. Justin Stockton had scored on a 45-yard run four minutes earlier to kick start the Hotshots offense.

Orlando Apollos 37, San Antonio Commanders 29

Apollos’ Quarterback Garrett Gilbert hit Jalin Marshall for a touchdown to tie the game at 29.  Defensive back Keith Reaser then picked off San Antonio quarterback Logan Woodside and returned it for a touchdown to give Orlando the lead and the win to keep Steve Spurrier’s team undefeated.  Gilbert had 393 yards passing and two touchdowns in the win for the Apollos.

Birmingham Iron 12, Salt Lake City Stallions 9

Iron running back Trent Richardson looked good again this week.  He scored on a two-yard run with 4:48 remaining as Birmingham overcame a 9-0 deficit.  Richardson finished with a total of 91 yards in the game.

AAF News and Notes:

  • I was surprised to learn that the AAF was already facing some financial issues but apparently they were bailed out with a $250 million investment from Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon.  Some reports had indicated that the AAF might miss their payroll this week.
  • Salt Lake City running back Joel Bouagnon had 11 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown in the Stallions’ loss to Birmingham.
  • Orlando wide receiver Charles Johnson had seven receptions for 192 yards for the Apollos.
  • San Diego Fleet quarterback Philip Nelson made an incredible no-look pass in the game against the Atlanta Legends.  Watch it here.

Week 2 AAF Standings:

  • Eastern Division
    • Orlando Apollos (2-0)
    • Birmingham Iron (2-0)
    • Atlanta Legends (0-2)
    • Memphis Express (0-2)
  • Western Division
    • Arizona Hotshots (2-0)
    • San Antonio Commanders (1-1)
    • San Diego Fleet (1-1)
    • Salt Lake City Stallions (0-2)

Week 3 Schedule:

  • Arizona at Salt Lake City
  • Memphis at Orlando
  • Birmingham at Atlanta
  • San Antonio at San Diego