By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63
Two weeks in and the Alliance for American Football has proven to be an exciting display of gridiron grit and talent. Three teams are currently undefeated, the Arizona Hotshots who hold the lead in the Western Conference and the Orlando Apollos, and Birmingham Irons.
The Apollos and Irons are tied for first in the Eastern Conference. On the flip side, there are also three teams that are winless – The Salt Lake Stallions, the Memphis Express, and the Atlanta Legends.
The San Antonio Commanders and the San Diego Fleet hold one win apiece. However, there was some good, some bad and sheer ugliness that has come out of the league so far.
Let’s start with the Good.
The Orlando Apollos are scary good with Garrett Gilbert under center. Gilbert passed for 393 yards, bringing his total passing yards to-date at 620. He has a completion percentage of 64.2 percent with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Apollos managed to come from behind against the San Antonio Commanders in the second quarter and didn’t look back. Gilbert tortured Commanders cornerback De’Vante Bausby with passing plays that just flat out gassed him by the end of the game. Apollos won 37-29.
The Memphis Express showed some life against the Arizona Hotshots almost pulling off a win. Thanks to the rushing efforts of running back Zac Stacy. He was in prime form rushing for 101 yards against a good Hotshots defense. Stacy currently leads the league with 159 rushing yards and continues to be the workhorse for the Express. The award for the most consistent QB goes to John Wolford of the Hotshots who has thrown for 469 yds with a 62.7 completion rate. He has thrown the most TDs with a total of six.
John Wolford of Arizona is the highest-graded QB in the AAF through two weeks at 83.9! pic.twitter.com/4VYbu7sEZr
— PFF_AAF (@PFF_AAF) February 21, 2019
Close behind Stacy is former NFL RB Trent Richardson who came into the league with the same competitive heart he has always had. Sometimes, players need a whole new kind of scenery and Richardson has it with the Birmingham Iron. So far he has 42 carries, 99 rushing yards, and three TDs. Wide receiver Quinton Patton is right alongside him with 159 receiving yards but has yet to haul in a TD.
However, the defense of the Iron is lethal with linebackers Beniquez Brown and Jonathan Massaquoi all over the field. But the best defense so far is the San Antonio Commanders who lead the league with 10 sacks, three by LB Shaan Washington alone.
Which leads me to the Bad and the Ugly.
The Memphis Express and the Atlanta Legends drew the short straw when it came to their QB situation. Christian Hackenberg of the Express has barely completed 50% of his passes for a total of 189 yds. He is still inconsistent and struggles with accuracy. The shining star of this team is LB DeMarquis Gates with 16 solo tackles and a fumble for a return.
As for the Atlanta Legends, the turnovers are setting them up for failure. QB Matt Sims has turned the ball over 3 times. On the bright side, he has completed about 60% of his passes for a total of 286 yards and one touchdown. The Legends like to spread the ball around but desperately need to get the ball running.
The Salt Lake Stallions are no better as they still trying to figure out who is their starting QB. Both Josh Woodrum and Austin Allen are below 50% in completions, while Matt Linehan is just around 53%. The Stallions at least have a running back duo in Brandon Oliver and Joel Bouagnon. If the offense can get a rhythm going then they may just win a game. The talent is there, they just need some solid play calling.
If the Stallions went with Linehan last week in relief, why not give him the start this week? Allen has been awful.
— Dylan Carder KIFI KIDK (@DylanCarderSL) February 16, 2019
As for the San Diego Fleet, they are still in it holding a 1-1 record. They are appropriately staying afloat. Next week should be fun as we see which team stays undefeated or continues the losing streak.
Want to know more? You can find all the stats for each team right here.
Talk AAF with Wanda on Twitter // @WandaW63