AAF 2019, Week 1 Recap: Spurrier’s Apollos Dominate In Debut, Wolford Is The Face Of The League

Atlanta Legends at Orlando Apollos

Orlando defensive end Ryan Davis Sr. (95) celebrates after a sack during the Atlanta Legends at Orlando Apollos Alliance of America football game at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando on Saturday, February 9, 2019. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

Apollos dominate on both sides of the ball

AAF History was made in this game as the first points in league history were scored. Atlanta opened up the scoring with an early field goal, kicked by a familiar face to most fans of the game, Former LA Chargers Kicker Younghoe Koo. Steve Spurrier’s Apollos turned up the volume after they fell behind in the first quarter, tallying up an impressive 40 points. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert was named Offensive Player of The Game after throwing for 277 yards with 2 TDs. The most notable touchdown for Orlando was actually a reception by their QB, turning the “Philly Special” into the “Orlando Special”.

There wasn’t much to be excited about when it came to the Atlanta Legends. Both Quarterbacks ended up throwing an interception, including a pick-six thrown by backup QB Aaron Murray. Their starter, Matt Simms, may have thrown his hopes at a professional career away with a horrific performance.


San Diego Fleet at San Antonio Commanders

Mekale McCay splits defenders after a catch as the Commanders host San Diego at the Alamodome in the opening game for the Alliance of American Football league on February 9, 2019 (Tom Reel, Staff / Staff photographer )

The Commanders rally to take the lead in the 4th

While the game in Orlando was full of exciting action on offense, this game was just the opposite. Both defenses shined as there were multiple turnovers throughout regulation, including a game-sealing pick in the end zone by Cornerback Zack Sanchez.

One of the most thrilling parts of this game was the showcase of real football finally making a return. San Diego’s QB Mike Bercovici took an absolutely brutal hit early in the first quarter, giving many football fans a lot to be excited about.

While the offense was lacking, San Antonio led an impressive drive late in the 3rd quarter and scored to begin the 4th. Runningback Kenneth Farrow helped the Commanders take the league with a touchdown run in the red zone. This wasn’t the prettiest win for San Antonio, but their ability to finish strong will give Head Coach Mike Riley plenty of confidence moving into their contest next week against the impressive Orlando Apollos.


Memphis Express at Birmingham Iron

Former Alabama running back Trent Richardson runs as the Birmingham Iron defeated the Memphis Express 26-0 in the Alliance of American Football’s debut at Birmingham’s Legion Field on Feb. 10, 2019. (Vasha Hunt | AL.com)

Birmingham’s defense is as strong as Iron

I told you all to watch Trent Richardson in my ‘Players To Look Out For’ post, and I’m going to allow my head to become as big as possible here. Richardson looked like his rookie self in the Iron’s debut on Sunday afternoon. Though he didn’t rack up as many rushing yards as I thought he could, he was a bruiser at the goal line scoring 2 TDs and finishing with 72 all-purpose yards. Another impressive player on the Iron was Quarterback Luis Perez, who threw for 252 yards with a completion percentage of 58%.

For Memphis, the Quarterback position was a problem and that may cause my head to deflate a tiny bit. Last week, I told you to watch out for Quarterback Christian Hackenberg. You probably keep an eye on him, but for the wrong reasons. Hackenberg had a terrible day completing just 47% of his passes and throwing a wacky interception that you can’t quite pin on him:

Hack was later replaced to start the 4th quarter by backup Brandon Silvers, who threw an interception of his own. The Memphis Express have a real issue at the Quarterback position, and have made an attempt at solving it quick. Their new signing, JaMarcus Russell, is a familiar name to most. The Memphis coaching staff will have to put a real emphasis on maintaining possession of the football.


Salt Lake at Arizona

Wolford picks apart Salt Lake’s defense

This may have been the AAF Game Of The Week. Both teams played tremendous D through the first few drives. Arizona managed to take the lead late in the 1st Quarter, with Salt Lake Running Back Asiata pounding the goal line to tie it to start the 2nd. After Salt Lake Quarterback Josh Woodrum went down with a hamstring injury just before halftime, it all went downhill. Arizona Quarterback John Wolford had himself a day, throwing for 275 yards and 4 TDs. Most of those yards came from one man, Wide Receiver Rashad Ross, who racked up 103 receiving yards with an average of 20.6 yards per reception and caught two TDs. If Salt Lake remained healthy on offense, this may have been a more competitive game down the stretch. Unfortunately, key players for the Stallions were out before halftime allowing Arizona to dominate.

The Stallions should hope for their starting Quarterback to get healthy as fast as humanly possible. If not, they will have a very long season.


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