San Diego Fleet (0-1) vs. San Antonio Commanders (1-0)
Final Score: Commandeers 15, Fleet 6
Recap: Months of preparation came down this moment. The NFL season has come to an end, now The Alliance was ready to put their product on display. They wanted to give America more great football, and they did not disappoint. Both San Antonio and San Diego came out of the gates swinging with big hits including a vicious sack by the Commanders OLB Shaan Washington which leveled Mike Bercovici and forced a fumble. After a grueling game, the Commanders were able to outlast the Fleet, they will hope to take that momentum into Orlando as they take on the red hot Apollo in week 2. The Fleet will try to regroup as they head back to San Diego to take on the 0-1 Legend.
Although both offenses struggled to move the ball, it was the Commanders’ QB Logan Woodside who hit WR Akeem Moore with a dime down the middle for 46 yards setting up their RB Farrow II for the game’s only touchdown in the 4th quarter. A few drives later, Commanders CB Zack Sanchez makes an athletic interception on a good throw by Phillip Nelson to put the exclamation mark on the game.
San Diego Fleet
Mike Bercovici (QB): 15/25, 176 yds, 0 TD, 2 INT
Gavin Escobar (TE): 4/6 rec, 66 yds, 0 TD
Damontre Moore (DE) 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PD
San Antonio Commanders:
Logan Woodside (QB): 18/36, 255 yds, 0 TD, 2 INT
Mekale McKay (WR): 5/12 rec, 80 yds, 0 TD
Orion Stewart (S): 4 tackles, 2 PD, 1 INT
Written by: David Connors
Atlanta Legends (0-1) vs. Orlando Apollos (1-0)
Final Score: Orlando 40, Atlanta 6
Recap: The beginning of the AAF went right in every aspect for the Apollos, while Atlanta couldn’t figure out how to do anything on a rain-soaked Saturday night from Spectrum Stadium. Steve Spurrier improved to 6-0 in debut games for his career, and Orlando has emerged as a favorite with their offensive firepower. Despite going 2 for 5 on two-point attempts, the Apollos defense constantly stymied the Legends, even seeing Matt Simms get benched for Aaron Murray. Atlanta now travels to San Diego for a Sunday night matchup on NFL Network, while Orlando will play the San Antonio Commanders on Sunday at 4 PM on CBS Sports Network.
The first points in AAF history came on a Legends field goal by Younghoe Koo. Orlando would then explode for 22 points in the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns and two two-point conversions. One score, in particular, was dubbed the “Apollo Special” because it was Garrett Gilbert who caught the score. Orlando’s defense even got in on the scoring spree, obtaining a 51-yard pick-6 from Terence Garvin in the fourth.
Matt Simms, QB: 15/28, 126 yds, 2 INTs
Tarean Folston, RB: 12 rush, 32 yds, 2.6 YPC
Seantavius Jones, WR: 3 rec, 43 yds
Garrett Gilbert, QB: 15/27, 227 yds, TD; 1 rec, 5 yds, TD
Akeem Hunt, RB: 10 rush, 73 yds, 7.3 YPC
Charles Johnson, WR: 4 rec, 60 yds
Written by: Joe Carlino
Memphis Express (0-1) vs. Birmingham Iron (1-0)
Final Score: Iron 26, Express 0
Recap: In the first game of the second day of AAF competition, the Birmingham defense completely outmatched the Express offense shutting them out. Although the running game was effective for the Express, when it was time to make a throw, QB Christian Hackenberg could not find his targets. The Express defense kept the game within 9 points through the first 3 quarters, but the Iron finally broke through for their first touchdown in the fourth quarter with a short run by RB Trent Richardson. A couple drives, and one controversial catch call later, Richardson trucked in his second touchdown sealing the game for the Iron. Birmingham will get a second chance to give their home crowd a win as they face the Salt Lake City Stallions in Week 2. The Express will have to recollect themselves to take on the Hotshots in Memphis on the NFL Network Saturday, 8p/7c.
The controversial catch call in the fourth quarter on a deep pass to Quinton Patton will be the talking point of this game, however, the Iron overpowered the Express from the first quarter. The Express almost got on the board in the fourth quarter on a well design play that started with a direct snap to RB Terrence McGee, that ended with a beautiful pass from Hackenberg to WR Kayaune Ross. Unfortunately, that was called back due to an illegal motion penalty on the offense. The Memphis Express offense looked completely outmatched, but it was only week 1. Hopefully, the home fans of Memphis can ignite some energy in their team and get them in the win column.
Christian Hackenberg (QB): 10/23, 87 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
Zac Stacy (RB): 12 carries, 58 yds, 4.8 YPC, 0 TD
DeMarquis Gates (LB): 10 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 FF
Luis Perez (QB): 19/33, 252 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 1 2PC
Trent Richardson (RB): 20 carries, 58 yds, 2.5 YPC, 2 TD
Quinton Patton (WR): 4/9 rec, 107 yds, 0 TD
Jonathan Massaquoi (LB) 5 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks
Written by: David Conners
Salt Lake Stallions (0-1) vs. Arizona Hotshots (1-0)
Final Score: Hotshots 38, Stallions 22
Recap: Arizona’s John Wolford and Rashad Ross put on a clinic Sunday against Salt Lake in the opening weekend of the Alliance of American Football. Defensively, the Stallions couldn’t seem to stop the Hotshots’ all game long as Arizona totaled 416 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 field goals, and 0 turnovers. Salt Lake’s defense looked quite unprepared and was completely exploited in the passing game, leaving receivers open play after play and rarely getting pressure on Wolford. After halftime, Stallions’ Head Coach Dennis Erickson decided to make a quarterback change in hopes to spark the offense, inserting former Idaho QB Matt Linehan but the move didn’t seem to help. The Hotshots put up another 19 points on offense in the second half and easily wrapped up the AAF’s official week 1 in league history. It’s worth reminding ourselves that to expect these teams to find continuity in the small amount of time they’ve spent together is insane. And our early expectations of pro-caliber play on an AAF field need to be lowered and realistic.
The Hotshots came out swinging, driving down the field and instantly finding a connection between Wolford and Ross. The duo continued their connection throughout the game, as the Stallions defense looked lost and out of place at times. After week one, Rashad Ross has already put the NFL on notice with a number of impressive plays including a few highlight reel catches, clean route running, and athleticism. Jhurell Pressley also looked impressive in both the run and pass game, which included a receiving touchdown on a wheel route out of the backfield. The Stallions looked downright bad, fumbling punts, throwing into triple coverage, and giving up big play after big play defensively but again, let’s hold judgment for at least another week before we go making up our minds on the team as a whole.
Salt Lake Stallions
Josh Woodrum, QB: 10-22, 103 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Anthony Denham, TE: 5 rec, 59 yds, 11.8 avg, 0 TD
Cody Brown, S: 6 Tackes, 3 Ast, 9 Total
John Wolford, QB: 18-29, 275 yds, 4 TD, 0 INT’s
Jhurell Pressley, RB: 18 rushes, 64 yds, 1 rec, 30 yds, 1 TD
Rashad Ross, WR: 5 rec, 103 yds, 2 TD’s
Steven Johnson, LB: 7 Tackles, 1 INT, 1 PB
Written by: Jack Bourgeois