Week Six of the AAF is in the books and we’ve got a clear idea of which teams are contenders and which are pretenders. There were upsets, interceptions and more than a few puzzling decisions. Which performances stood out?
The Fall of Apollo
Orlando headed into the weekend the Alliance’s lone undefeated team. They struggled for the first time in 2019. The team scored just 17 points. The Apollos were defeated by Arizona, 22-17.
It was a tough game for Garrett Gilbert. The Apollos previously flawless Quarterback looked off his game and threw his first interception of the season and was sacked twice. Even in defeat the Apollos reminded us all of how dangerous they are. Steve Spurrier’s offense manufactured a 98-yard scoring drive just to remind us who’s top dog!
The reason for Gilbert’s struggles was an impressive Hotshots defensive front. Arizona’s defence managed to do what few have succeeded to do, make him look unsettled in the pocket. Gilbert was pressured seven times and also lost a fumble which helped seal the game.
Will the Real Legends Please Stand Up
You may remember in Week Four I was impressed with Aaron Murray. After Week Five, the average total offense in games with Murray under centre was over 300 yards. Atlanta looked like they had their signal caller of the future and Murray looked like he was progressing as a player.
And then Week Six happened. This time, the Legends offense looked lost. In the Commanders 37-6 defeat, Murray threw three interceptions. The offence as a whole simply did not produce. In fact, the team gained just 290 yards.
San Antonio, at least on defence, showed up. With Logan Woodside (255 yards, 2 interceptions) misfiring and the running game struggling at times the defence took control. San Diego’s quarterbacks were constantly harassed. The Commanders totalled six sacks and three interceptions including another by Derron Smith. Smith is doing everything he can to get noticed by the NFL. He returned the interception, his third in two games for a touchdown. It was his second pick-six in two weeks.
Punt return for a TD! @G_Ward1
Firing on all cylinders. 😤‼️ pic.twitter.com/7cXbA1lu0G
— San Antonio Commanders (@aafcommanders) March 17, 2019
The Commanders special teams weren’t left out of the scoring either. Greg Ward Jr., a former quarterback, returned a punt 79-yards in a play that looked like something out of a video game. The play helped win Ward special teams player of the week.
Luis Perez is Not The Answer At QB
First let’s deal with my personal bugbear. Week Six was supposed to be a chance to breakout for Keith Price. However, it was not to be. He left the game with what later appeared to be a fat lip and was never inserted back into the lineup. He must have really upset somebody!
while the Birmingham Iron scraped a 32-29 win over the San Diego Fleet, Perez was more of a problem than a solution. The quarterback threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns which looks impressive but there were multiple short passes that had long runs after the catch. Worse still, he showed questionable decision making, often holding on to the ball too long, and also a tendency to force the play. This resulted in two interceptions but could have been more.
It’s perhaps no surprise that Birmingham rank 7th in total yards. They are above only Memphis and have 1,779 total yards. Price deserves his shot at success in Week 7!
Ford Breaks Down
By the third quarter of their loss to Birmingham, Dontez Ford had 182 receiving yards. When he left the game injured in the third quarter the Fleet offence lost its biggest weapon. Ford injured both ankles and is in a walking boot on his right foot. Despite this, Mike Martz is hopeful he’ll be available for selection come Week Seven.
Memphis Woes Continue
Salt Lake City defeated Memphis 22-9 but it could have been much worse. Salt Lake turned the ball over a ridiculous four times and still managed to total 340 yards.
Despite the turnovers The Express did little offensively, scoring just 9 points, and turned the ball over twice themselves! They gained just 239 yards of total offence. It’s hard to imagine anyone producing significant, consistent offense behind the worst line in the AAF. But still…
Zach Mettenberger left the Week 6 game with a leg injury. His replacement, Brandon Silver, completed 23 of 37 (62.2) passes with one touchdown. Not bad numbers but his time as the starter may be short lived. The reason? Johnny Manziel was signed by the Memphis fleet this week.
Coach Mike Singletary has already said the Manziel, 26, is ready to play. He’s a former first round pick of the Cleveland Browns and brings the highest pedigree of quarterback the AAF has seen. Unfortunately for Memphis his track record on and off the field are not great. If ‘Johnny Football’ can focus entirely on the game and make the most of his latest chance then his running, mobile brand of football may be the spark Memphis need.
Memphis finally discovered a receiving weapon in Week 6. It took the form of 6-foot-3 Reece Horn. Horn accounted for over half of the Express offense, pulling in 8 passes for 129 yards. He could be the deep threat Manziel will be thankful for.
Karter Schult Watch
Schult had 4 tackles and 2 sacks in Week Six. He now has a 1.5 lead on the sack title with an impressive 7 in six weeks. He was named The Alliance of American Football’s Defensive Player of the Week and has 18 QB hits and 12 tackles for loss in six games this year.