Fleet hand Commanders second straight loss

Video from Twitter via @aafcommanders

The San Antonio opened their first road game of the season with two big plays – a turnover by the defense and a long touchdown pass by the offense.

The rest of the night belonged to the San Diego Fleet.

The Fleet outscored the Commanders by four touchdowns after the opening seconds of the game to beat San Antonio 31-11 on Sunday night in San Diego.

The Commanders have lost two straight since beating the Fleet in the season opener in the Alamodome. The Commanders play their next three games on the road against the Birmingham Iron (3-0), Arizona Hotshots (2-1) and Atlanta Legends (0-3).

“It’s still early. It’s only Week 3,” Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside said. “We’ve got to continue to get better on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Those are huge days for us. Then when we come out and play just try to execute to the best of our ability.

“Obviously against a team like San Diego you don’t want to have turnovers and penalties. Thinking back to the first quarter, we had a touchdown pass called back. We could have been up 16-0. I don’t think we ever recovered from that.”

The night had a promising start for the Commanders.

On the very first play of the game, Commanders defensive back De’Vante Bausby intercepted a pass and returned it 18 yards. The next snap, the Commanders’ first offensive play, Woodside hit Mekale McKay for a 47-yard touchdown. Woodside passed to Evan Rodriguez for the two-point conversion and the Commanders led 8-0.

But the early magic faded into the Southern California night.

What looked like it was going to be the Commanders’ second touchdown came on a 14-yard pass to Greg Ward Jr. that was wiped out on a holding penalty.

For the game, Woodside passed for 151 yards – meaning he only passed for 104 yards after his first throw. He was 12-of-23 with the one touchdown and threw two interceptions. He was also sacked three times.

“They have a really good defensive line,” Woodside said. “They did a great job all night. Some of that’s on me. They made it tough. They were coming hard all four quarters.”

For the second week in a row, Woodside threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Fleet linebacker AJ Tarpley returned an interception 27 yards for a score.

Fleet quarterback Philip Nelson, who came in off the bench when these teams met in the season opener, passed for 193 yards and two touchdowns. He stayed free of interceptions after the first play of the game.

The Fleet also got 122 yards rushing from Ja’Quan Gardner. He helped put the game out of reach with a league-record 83-yard touchdown run.

“We’re obviously disappointed with the outcome of the game tonight,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “We had real high expectations coming in and expected a good game and had an interesting start to the whole game.

“The turnover touchdown and the big play later on in the second half were major, major parts of the game.”

Video from Twitter via @aafcommanders

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