Week four of The Alliance of American Football began with a highly-contested comeback victory from The Memphis Express over The San Diego Fleet, the team’s first win in franchise history. In the night game, The Orlando Apollos didn’t let the snow in Salt Lake slow them down as they remain undefeated with a 4-0 record.
“As we near the halfway point of the season, we continue to be encouraged by the engagement around our product, online and on TV,” said Charlie Ebersol, co-founder & CEO, The Alliance. “Memphis fans were able to witness a historic victory at the Liberty Bowl, and The Apollos continue to showcase excellent execution and top-flight football play after a tightly-contested game with The Stallions. We’re encouraged by games like these that show The Alliance is not only able to showcase top level football games but ones that excite the fans as we saw in Memphis.”
Memphis notched its first victory of the season behind starting QB Zach Mettenberger’s game-controlling performance, completing 72 percent of his passing attempts for over 170 yards and one touchdown in a comeback 26-23 victory over The San Diego Fleet. Adding to Memphis’ come-from-behind win, Coach Mike Singletary’s defiant defense rose to the occasion behind star LB Drew Jackson’s 13 tackles and one interception. The San Diego Fleet executed the first punt return touchdown in Alliance history, a 57-yard return by DB Ron Brooks in the first quarter. The Fleet were unable to hold the lead, dropping to 2-2 on the season while The Express improve to 1-3.
Orlando secured their fourth consecutive victory to start the season. Apollos QB Garrett Gilbert continued to show playmaking ability, throwing for over 240 yards and one touchdown to WR Donteea Dye, Jr. Adding to The Apollos offensive success was WR Charles Johnson, who finished with 100 yards on nine receptions
The San Antonio Commanders handed The Birmingham Iron its first loss of the season, and The Atlanta Legends earned its first win in team history, concluding week four action in The Alliance of American Football.
“The Alliance is an opportunity for players to show what they can do on the football field, and we continue to see individuals rise to the occasion each week,” said JK McKay, head of football operations, The Alliance. “In Memphis and Atlanta, we saw Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray lead their teams to historic wins in their first major action under center. Kenneth Farrow II, who spent some time with the Chargers and Patriots, set an Alliance single-game rushing yards record this afternoon. Those are just some examples from this weekend, and that’s what The Alliance is all about.”
The San Antonio Commanders held on to a 12-11 victory over The Birmingham Iron, led by an Alliance record 142 rushing yards from RB Kenneth Farrow II and a stout defense that turned three forced turnovers into nine points. With The Iron driving into The Commanders territory in the second half, DB Zack Sanchez intercepted Iron QB Luis Perez. On the ensuing drive, Farrow II carried four times for 37- yards and RB Trey Williams ran for a 12-yard touchdown to put The Commanders up for good. The Iron cut the lead to one with 1:42 remaining when RB Trent Richardson scored his league leading seventh touchdown. The Iron then attempted an onside conversion, 4th and 12 from The Commanders 28-yard line, but the comeback attempt ended with an interception by Commanders DB Orion Stewart. The Commanders improved to 2-2 while The Iron suffered its first loss of the season, dropping to 3-1 ahead of a week five showdown with undefeated Orlando Apollos.
In the third quarter of the game, Birmingham Iron WR Tobias Palmer took a big hit on an incompletion. After no flag was thrown, the Sky Judge overruled the no-call on the field, enforcing a targeting a defenseless receiver penalty on Commanders DB Duke Thomas.
“The Alliance added the Sky Judge to correct obvious and egregious officiating errors without going to replay and unnecessarily delaying the game. We place an emphasis on player safety, and want to ensure a win or loss doesn’t come down to a missed call,” said Dean Blandino, officiating consultant, The Alliance. “In this instance, the Sky Judge observed the hit on WR Tobias Palmer and determined it was a violation of the defenseless player rule and put him at risk, so the decision was made to enforce a penalty. It was the first time the Sky Judge has come into play this season, and player safety is certainly a trigger for such a ruling.”
The Atlanta Legends earned a tough road win versus The Arizona Hotshots, 14-11. Legends QB Aaron Murray threw for 254 yards and ran for another 54, leading The Legends to its first win of the season. The Legends began the scoring with the first safety in Alliance history, a tackle in the end zone by DB Ed
Reynolds Jr. Legends RB Denard Robinson scored the first touchdown of the evening, a nine-yard run putting The Legends up 8-0. Hotshots K Nick Folk hit a 39-yard FG to end the half, cutting The Legends lead to 8-3. Arizona Hotshots QB Josh Wolford threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to his favorite target, WR Rashad Ross, and then converted the two-point conversion, to tie the game 11-11 with 5:20 remaining. The Legends proceeded to drive down the field, and K Younghoe Koo nailed a 33-yard FG to win the game.
Week five action features The Orlando Apollos at The Birmingham Iron on TNT Saturday afternoon, a battle for first place in the Eastern conference. The Salt Lake Stallions face the San Diego Fleet Saturday night on NFL Network. The Memphis Express take on The Atlanta Legends Sunday afternoon on CBS Sports Network, as both teams look to build on their first wins of the season. Concluding week five action will be The San Antonio Commanders against The Arizona Hotshots on NFL Network Sunday night.
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