After three weeks, the Orlando Apollos and the Birmingham Iron remain perfect at the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football. They both produced dominant wins over the weekend thanks to their league-leading offenses. They now share a perfect 3-0 win-loss card.
The Apollos held off Zach Mettenberger and Memphis Express’ late surge in the second half with a 21-17 victory at the Spectrum Stadium on Saturday, February 23rd. After replacing Memphis’ starting quarterback Christian Hackenberg due to a measly first half, Mettenberger rallied the Express back into the ball game despite trailing 0-9 at the half.
Mettenberger threw two touchdowns as he completed 9 of his 12 attempts for a 145.8 passer rating for 120 yards, including a two-point pass to running back Anthony Manzo-Lewis which saw the Express trailing by four with 5:32 left to play.
Orlando, nevertheless, would hold on to win as five Apollos’ running plays recorded 62 yards before three successive kneeldowns secured their victory.
Quarterback Garrett Gilbert completed 14 of his 28 passes for 207 yards while also rushing for 43 yards off seven attempts, highlighted by a 21-yard touchdown run.
Meanwhile, Birmingham went full beast mode in their dominating performance against the still winless Atlanta Legends They won 28-12, at the Georgia State Stadium on Sunday, February 24.
Running back Trent Richardson, who is responsible for all six offensive scores of his team in AAF thus far, continued to be the main weapon in the red zone for Birmingham as he paced the iron with three total touchdowns.
Birmingham’s defense was also in full throttle, forcing Atlanta to four turnovers, and pushing their season total to nine interceptions in just three games.
Here is what safety, Max Redfield had to say to his teammates before the game:
“It’s a fiesta. I can’t let them get interceptions and not have any. We have that mindset. We’re competing with each other as well. We want to change the game,”
-Safety, Max Redfield
Elsewhere, the Salt Lake Stallions avenged their Week 1 loss against the Arizona Hotshots in their home opener at the Rice-Eccles Stadium, 23-15.
The Stallions used a second half surge to outscore the Hotshots, 14-6, in the final two quarters, recording their first ever victory in the AAF following two disappointing losses at the road.
The San Diego Fleet also gathered themselves for a revenge game at their own turf, defeating the San Antonio Commanders in dominant fashion, 31-11, at the SDCCU Stadium.
Ja’Quan Gardner enjoyed the spotlight on Sunday night after running for an 83-yard touchdown to eclipse the century mark for the second straight game as he finished with 122 yards off 12 carries.
With the win, San Diego tied Arizona for the top-spot at the wild Western Conference with their 2-1 records while the Commanders suffered their second straight setback.