After an exciting opening week in the Alliance of American Football, four teams find themselves with their first-ever wins. With every winner, there must, of course, be a loser as well. The Atlanta Legends, San Diego Fleet, Memphis Express, and Salt Lake Stallions all are still looking to remove the zero in their win column. What does each team have to do to get into the win column?
Salt Lake Stallions
Week 2 Game: at Birmingham Iron, Saturday at 2 pm ET
The Stallions kept up with the Arizona Hotshots in the first half of their game. The Hotshots managed to pull away in the second half, and the Stallions lost 38-22. Salt Lake did have a lot of positives in game one but will have a tough test against the stout Iron defense in week two.
Key: More Big Plays
The Stallions had only one play go for longer than 15 yards in week one. They were unable to keep pace with the Hotshots and needed an extra shot in the arm from either their passing or running game. Halfback Joel Bouagnon struggled to get going, averaging less than three yards a carry. The Iron contained the passing game of the Memphis Express in week one, so it will be on the ground where the Stallions should focus their offense. Using some run plays to open up passes downfield could give the Stallions greater success and their first win.
Week 2 Game: vs Arizona Hotshots, Saturday at 8 pm ET
The Express are the only team in the AAF still looking for their first points as a franchise. They were blanked by the Birmingham Iron, defeated soundly 26-0. Week two will be difficult for the Express again, going up against quarterback John Wolford and the Arizona Hotshots.
Key: Find The Answer at Quarterback
The Express were struggling to get in a rhythm offensively during their matchup with the Iron. Christian Hackenberg looked lost in the offense and completed only 10 of his 23 attempts. Brandon Silvers came in late and completed three passes on four attempts. Both men threw interceptions against the talented Iron defense. Halfback Zac Stacy looked promising, but the Express won’t put points on the board if the quarterback play doesn’t get better in a hurry. Short, confidence-building throws for either Hackenberg or Silvers would build confidence that is sorely lacking.
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San Diego Fleet
Week 2 Game: vs Atlanta Legends, Sunday at 8 pm ET
San Diego lost in week one to the San Antonio Commanders and as a result, are making a quarterback change. Mike Bercovici (of “getting sacked real hard” fame) is out, and Philip Nelson is in. The two combined to throw three interceptions which stunted Coach Mike Martz’s offense before it could really get started. They’ll face fellow winless team, the Legends in week two.
Key: Avoid Costly Turnovers
The Fleet had plenty of opportunities to put more than six points on the board but were cut down by turnovers each time. Bercovici and Nelson threw three interceptions, though it would have been four if San Antonio hadn’t been called for too many men on the field. San Diego looked good on offense otherwise, with three separate receivers getting over 50 yards on the night. The running attack balanced it out, as they averaged over six yards per carry. If the Fleet can hold onto the ball, they’ll have a chance to put up a ton of points on an Atlanta defense that struggled to keep up with the Orlando Apollos.
Week 2 Game: at San Diego Fleet, Sunday at 8 pm ET
Atlanta had one of the poorest opening showings of an AAF team. They were trounced by the Orlando Apollos 40-6 in an opening night contest. The Legends struggled on both sides of the ball, but have a good opportunity to get their first win against the San Diego Fleet.
Key: Pressure The Quarterback
The Legends enter week two with one sack. Apollos quarterback Garrett Gilbert was able to take his time reading the defense, leading to an impressive first-week performance. The Legends defense never got enough pressure in Gilbert’s face, and it allowed Gilbert to pass deeper downfield as plays developed. The Legends have solid defensive linemen like J.T. Jones out of Miami (OH) and big T.J. Barnes out of Georgia Tech. If the defensive line can generate some pressure on new Fleet starting quarterback Philip Nelson, the Legends can get their first win in franchise history.