The Alliance of American Football’s first-ever season is officially half way done. There have been some players and teams that have been the model of consistency, bringing a good effort and packed box scores each week. Some have started off hot and cooled off, and some have come out of nowhere for big games when their teams needed it most. Who had the best performances of week five? We’ve got them all right here.
Mekale McKay, San Antonio Commanders Wide Receiver
Nick Truesdell, Salt Lake Stallions Tight End
Charles Johnson, Orlando Apollos Wide Receiver
Keith Price, Birmingham Iron Quarterback
Tyson Graham Jr., Atlanta Legends Safety
10. Rashad Ross, Arizona Hotshots Wide Receiver
5 receptions, 106 yards, 1 TD, 1 2-PT
Hotshots wideout Rashad Ross has been the most consistent receiving weapon in the Alliance through half of a season. He has scored at least one touchdown in every game, and the Sunday night game against San Antonio was no exception. Ross has proven to be a deep threat, hauling in a 45-yard score this week. Ross did leave the game injured late, and the now-sputtering Hotshots offense would be dealt a huge blow if he is out for any extended period of time.
— PFF_XFL (@PFFXFL) March 11, 2019
9. Logan Woodside, San Antonio Commanders Quarterback
21/27 passing, 290 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception, 13 rushing yards, 1 2-PT
Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside took advantage of his defense giving him back the ball frequently against the Hotshots to put up his most impressive game of the season. Woodside finally made the most of his talented receiving corps, spreading the ball out and helping get the Commanders out to a quick 26-0 lead. The former Toledo quarterback did enough to help his team hold on for the victory, and has this performance as a building block going forward. His work this week should do enough to quiet the talk of the Commanders signing Johnny Manziel for now.
8. De’Mornay Pierson-El, Salt Lake Stallions Wide Receiver
8 receptions, 130 yards
De’Mornay Pierson-El has become a sure thing for Salt Lake. This week he caught eight of his nine targets and has hauled in 22-of-25 targets in his last four games. Pierson-El had his first game of over 100 yards this week and has established himself as the number one target in the Salt Lake offense. While the running game of the Stallions has some work to do to improve, the Woodrum-to-Pierson-El connection is a strong focal point for the offense moving forward.
7. D’Ernest Johnson, Orlando Apollos Halfback
9 carries, 49 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 73 yards
Apollos halfback D’Ernest Johnson just edged out his backfield-mate De’Veon Smith for a spot on this list by way of his versatility. The duo combined to rush for 168 yards, running wild on Birmingham. Johnson showed off his receiving skills as well as his rushing this week, hauling in five of his six targets and accounting for six first downs for the Apollos. Johnson did have one misstep on the day, muffing a punt early in the game that lead to a Birmingham field goal attempt that missed.
6. Tarean Folston, Atlanta Legends Halfback
11 carries, 83 yards, 1 TD, 6 receptions, 23 yards, 1 TD
Atlanta has needed a halfback to step up and establish themselves, and this week Tarean Folston looked like that back. Folston only had 11 carries but made them count for the Legends, gaining valuable yards for his team. He also became a favorite target of Aaron Murray, catching all six targets thrown his way and picking up a receiving touchdown. Folston got off to a rocky start in week one with a 2.7 average yards per carry, but if he can keep up this pace will give Atlanta a stable backfield that they haven’t had all year.
Murray to Folston for the TD! This thing is knotted up at 20 in the 4th! #MEMvsATL
— PFF_XFL (@PFFXFL) March 10, 2019
5. Aaron Murray, Atlanta Legends Quarterback
27/43 passing, 306 yards, 1 TD, 1 2-PT
The Atlanta Legends switched to Aaron Murray at quarterback last week and picked up win number one. They stuck with Murray and collected win number two this week to move within a game of a playoff spot. Murray made smart decisions with the football all game and only turned the ball over on a botched handoff to Denard Robinson. The stability at the quarterback position that Murray has brought solved one of Atlanta’s biggest issues early in the season and has them prepared for the second half.
4. Derron Smith, San Antonio Commanders Safety
1 tackle, 2 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 1 defensive TD
Derron Smith was essentially playing catch with Arizona Hotshots quarterback John Wolford in the Sunday night game. He had two interceptions, returning one 66 yards back for a score. Smith, a former sixth round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, could have had four interceptions in this game. He had two more interceptions on back to back plays in the game’s final two minutes and both were called back due to pass interference. Smith made life difficult for the Hotshots passing offense by being a lurking presence on any pass more than five yards downfield.
3. Garrett Gilbert, Orlando Apollos Quarterback
23/35 passing, 286 yards, 2 TDs, 2 2-PTs
Orlando QB Garrett Gilbert had no problem operating against the vaunted Birmingham defense. Gilbert’s opening drive set the tone for the day with five of six passing and a touchdown. He spread the ball out to eight different receivers, and always showed composure under pressure. Half way through the inaugural season of the Alliance, Gilbert is distancing himself in the race for Most Valuable Player for the 5-0 Apollos. Anyone who can put up a performance like that against the league’s best defense deserves to be in the conversation for the league’s MVP.
Garrett Gilbert to Charles Johnson for a touchdown over Jamar Summers, the likely best cornerback in the league pic.twitter.com/yAfxW5G4vB
— Arif Hasan, but spooky 👻 (@ArifHasanNFL) March 9, 2019
2. Damontre Moore, San Diego Fleet Defensive End
3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 sacks, 4 QB hits, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Salt Lake quarterback Josh Woodrum passed for nearly 400 yards this week, but his life was made difficult by San Diego’s defensive line. Moore was the big factor for the San Diego defensive line getting to Woodrum four times. Moore, a former third round pick by the New York Giants in 2013, was a constant source of pressure this week. The Fleet defensive line has been a good unit this year, and Moore will look to continue to get pressure and maybe play himself back into the NFL.
1. Kameron Kelly, San Diego Fleet Cornerback
5 tackles, 4 passes defended, 3 interceptions, 1 defensive TD
Former San Diego State defensive back Kameron Kelly is a man of many talents. He was a high school quarterback, a safety and corner in college, and originally made the Fleet as a wide receiver. Kelly switched back to corner after some San Diego injuries, and that seemed to be a smart move for San Diego. A three interception game (an AAF record that was almost matched by Derron Smith) helped keep the Fleet in the game and allowed them to win on a last-second field goal. All of Kelly’s interceptions showed exceptional timing as he made breaks on the balls and even took one all the back for a touchdown.