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AAF Week 5

AAF Week 5

Ok, if the AAF delivers nail-biting, 4th quarter dominating, comeback action every week, then this league is not going anywhere anytime soon.

We saw yet another quarterback change to light a fire under their offense, kickers came up huge, and we saw a finish to the Salt Lake Stallions and San Diego Fleet game that I had to watch twice.

Orlando Apollos @ Birmingham Iron

(31-14)

This game looked like it could be a runaway for the Apollos with Perez throwing his 3rd INT of the season.

Enter, Keith Price.

The Orlando Apollos clearly game planned for Luis Perez and probably didn’t give Price a passing glance, much to their dismay. The elusive QB went 18 for 29, 234 yards, a touchdown and a 2-point conversion. Perez has yet to throw a touchdown, but did manage his 3rd interception and it looks like he won’t have the opportunity to try again any time soon.

Despite Price breathing much needed offense life into the Iron, the Apollos proved yet again they are the best team in the AAF and will be very difficult to beat. Quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, and wide receiver, Charles Johnson, continue to nurture their chemistry. Charles Johnson had 6 receptions on 10 targets for 83 yards and a touchdown while running back D’Ernest Johnson (this could get confusing), had 5 receptions on 6 targets for 73 yards. What is the most impressive to me is D. Johnson’s yards after the catch at 65.

Also notable for the Apollos was their ability to bottle up Iron’s star running back, Trent Richardson, holding him to a combined rushing/receiving 58 yards and a touchdown. Richardson still leads the AAF in touchdowns with 8, but the Apollos defense kept him mostly at bay. A lot of that had to do with Price basically doing Richardson’s job with 15 rushing yards compared to Richardson’s 21.

Speaking of defense… defensive back Keith Reaser. I see you. He came up huge for the Apollos yet again, with his 3rd interception and 2nd pick six.

The Iron certainly made the second half interesting, bringing the game to within a possession, but the Apollos did what the Apollos do and shut the lid on the game to win 31-14.

Salt Lake Stallions @ San Diego Fleet

(25 – 27)

O. M. G. What a game. If you haven’t done so already, go back and watch the last 56 seconds of this game and you’ll understand why.

Can you tell San Diego misses having a team? Like the San Antonio game of Week 3, the crowd was electrifying.

I know, I know, kicker Donny Hageman stole the show with his 44-yard, game winning field goal, but oh my goodness, Kameron Kelly and your 3 interceptions. One of them robbed the Stallions of a much needed touchdown in the second half. In fact, the Fleet defense manufactured a total of 4 defensive turnovers.

The drama started with Woodrum re-entering the game after getting sacked, leading the Stallions to score 14 unanswered points, retaking the lead, only to allow the Fleet a bomb pass downfield to score a field goal for the win as time ran out.

Wow.

Now the Stallions are 1-4. Their record stinks, but it doesn’t reflect the kind of team they are or what they can be. It reminds me a lot of the Chargers, losing close games they should have won. I am very interested to see if the Salt Lake Stallions can finally finish games and make a surge toward the second half of the season.

Memphis Express @ Atlanta Legends

(20-23)

Speaking of close finishes and kickers coming up big, Younhoe Koo should feel incredible about his AAF performance. Not only did he kick the game winning, 38-yard field goal, he also had 2 other field goals in this game going 3 for 3. Oh, and did I mention he has yet to miss a field goal? That’s right. 11 in total, actually. After being cut by the afore mentioned Chargers because of missing crucial kicks, Koo has come up big for the Legends.

I am pretty sure Legends fan hope that quarterback Matt Simms “injury” stays injured and Aaron Murray stays their starter. Why the Legends were so stubborn about Simms is beyond me. I hope they learned their lesson. Murray went 27 for 43, threw 306 yards with a touchdown and a 2-point conversion. Plus, the team just plays better when he’s in the game. He has poise, charisma, and he infuses life and leadership into this Legends team where Simms stalled nearly everything.

Now, I’m not saying the Legends ran over the Express. In fact, the Legends shot themselves in the foot over and over again in the first half with so many penalties that I lost count. But, that is bound to happen with a new offensive coordinator and let’s hope they can work those kinks out. Otherwise, the winning streak for the Legends will be short lived.

Express’ quarterback, Zach Mettenberger has had better days in football, throwing an interception late in the game while tied at 20-20. Running back Zak Stacy had 13 carries for 41 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he didn’t have much help anywhere else.

Although the Express couldn’t pull out a win, it was refreshing to see both teams moving in the right direction with right quarterbacks in place. Head coach Mike Singletary straight up benched Christian Hackenberg for Zach Mettenberger, so I think they will keep moving forward with him. As I mentioned earlier, let’s hope the Legends don’t get all Simms-y and pull Aaron Murray for no reason. Just stay “injured”, Simms, and do the Legends a favor.

San Antonio Commanders @ Arizona Hotshots

(29-25)

Oy, how the mighty have fallen. And then almost got back up…. Only to fall again.

Harken back to week 1 of the AAF. Remember when the Hotshots were #1 in the power rankings? Well, now they are 2-3.

Yet, like the Salt Lake Stallions, the record doesn’t reflect the quality of play. In fact, the San Antonio Commanders nearly lost a 26-0 lead in the second half. That’s correct. They only scored a single field in the second half with the Hotshots nipping at their heals the entire time.

If Wolford played better in the first half, this would have been a different outcome. The Hotshots turned the ball over 4 times and 3 of those were Wolford interceptions. Despite the whispers of a quarterback change to Trevor Knight, the Hotshots stuck with Wolford and it almost paid off. Wolford was finally able to connect with his star wide receiver, Rashaad Ross, and threw 2 touchdowns and ran in a 2-point conversion.

I’m not sure what happened to the Commanders in the second half. They shut down the Hotshots in the first 2 quarters, holding Ross to only 2 receptions, as well as shutting down running backs Tim Cook and Jhurell Pressley. Yet, they couldn’t put much together after that. That’s not going to work moving forward and it especially won’t work against a team like the Apollos who can shove that 26-0 lead where the sun don’t shine.

The real kick in the gut for the Hotshots were the two 4th and 12 attempts, which they use instead of onside kicks in the AAF. The first attempt to Marquis Bundy was so close… in fact he caught it for a huge gain until it was called back. I disagreed with the official, but I digress. On their second attempt, Wolford took a sack and they couldn’t recover after that.

If the Commanders want to continue their winning streak, they need to “keep their foot on the gas”, as Ben Kervechal from CBSsports.com puts it. Logan Woodside played well with 21 for 27, 290 yards, a touchdown and one interception. It appears the chemistry between Woodside and Mekale McKay continues to grow and Kenneth Farrow II is just a beast. There is a ton of potential for this team and I still get excited about their offense.

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Sources:

CBSsports.com

NoExtraPoints.com

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