The San Antonio Commanders recorded their first defensive touchdown in franchise history in Week 2.
Here is the scene Sunday:
The Commanders had just boosted their lead to 21-17 over the Orlando Apollos in the third quarter after a Nick Rose field goal. The Apollos have a second-and-16 at their own 19-yard line.
Apollos quarterback Garrett Gilbert drops back in an obvious passing situation. Commanders linebacker Jayrone Elliott gets to Garrett from his backside, hitting Garrett in the right shoulder and arm. Garrett, who was set to throw, has the ball jarred up in the air.
Joey Mbu, moving in from his defensive line position, gets around the pile of Garrett, Elliott and Apollos offensive lineman Aaron Evans. The 332-pound Mbu scoops up the ball and takes off for the end zone – setting off a celebration in the Alamodome.
The touchdown and the successful two-point conversion gave the Commanders a 29-17 lead with 8:10 left in the third quarter.
That, however, was the last time the Commanders scored. The Apollos put up 20 points in the fourth quarter to take a 37-29 victory.
Two members of the Orlando Apollos were named AAF players of the week after their performance against the San Antonio Commanders on Sunday.
From the AAF news release:
Offensive player of the week:
Orlando QB Garrett Gilbert.
Gilbert completed 19 of 28 pass attempts for 393 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 134.5 passer rating, leading the Apollos’ to a 37-29 come-from-behind win over the Commanders at the Alamodome.
Defensive player of the week:
Orlando CB Keith Reaser.
Reaser had two tackles, three passes defensed and a 38-yard interception return-touchdown with 7:02 remaining in the fourth quarter. Reaser’s late pick-six broke a 29-29 tie and proved to be the game-winning score.
Special teams player of the week:
Birmingham DB Jamar Summers.
Summers recorded three tackles and forced a fumble on punt coverage in the third quarter that was recovered in the end zone by LB Shaheed Salmon for the Iron’s first touchdown of the game, sparking a second-half comeback victory at Legion Field Stadium.
Logan Woodside was the San Antonio Commanders’ starting quarterback for the second straight game.
And Woodside did indeed get off to a good start as the Commanders put up touchdowns on their first two possession on Sunday at the Alamodome.
But the Commanders didn’t score an offensive touchdown the rest of the game and the Orlando Apollos rallied in the fourth quarter for a 37-29 victory.
“They’re a lot of Tampa-two (defense),” Woodside said. “It made it hard on us. We really had to be patient to pick and choose our spots to take our shots and just tried to move it down the field.
“They made a good adjustment the second half. Played some zone. Dropped some guys out of there. Credit to coach Spurrier and that defensive staff for what they did. They made it hard on us.”
For the game Woodside completed 20-of-39 passes for 223 yards. He threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Evan Rodriguez. Woodside’s longest passes of the game were for 29 yards to De’Marcus Ayers and also 29 yards to Mekale McKay.
In what was the most crucial play of the fourth quarter, Woodside threw an interception that Orlando’s Keith Reaser returned 38 yards for a touchdown to put the Apollos in front for good.
“It’s off coverage. We ran a 10-yard out route, something we do every day in practice,” Woodside said. “I have all the confidence in the world to throw it to Mekale McKay. Threw a good ball, threw it on time. He just made a play.
“That’s football. I’m not going to stop throwing it because he made an interception. He just made a really good play and all credit to him.”
The San Antonio Commanders made a temporary change of quarterbacks Sunday.
Marquise Williams entered the game in the second quarterback and played for one possession in the Commanders’ 37-29 loss to the Orlando Apollos at the Alamodome.
Williams completed 2-of-4 passes for 3 yards. His completions went for a 6-yard gain and 3-yard loss. He also ran with the ball three times for 32 yards including a 17-yard gain.
The Commanders got a 50-yard field goal from Nick Rose at the end of the drive to extend their lead to 15-8.
“I think Marquise, as you saw, made some plays,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “We should have put him back in the second half and lost track of what was going on there when he should have gone back in. But we’ll continue to do that with him.”
Here is the official play-by-play for the Commanders’ possession with Williams at quarterback.
San Antonio Commanders at 12:53
1-10-SA 25 (12:53) (Shotgun) M.Williams left guard to SA 25 for no gain (T.Parks; E.Okine). New QB #12 Williams
1-10-SA 25(12:21) (Shotgun) K.Farrow, II right tackle to SA 27 for 2 yards (R.Davis, Sr.; G.Newberry).
2-10-SA 25(11:48) (Shotgun) M.Williams scrambles up the middle to SA 42 for 15 yards (W.Hill, III).
3-8-SA 27R11(11:08) (Shotgun) M.Williams pass incomplete deep left to D.Ayers.
1-10-SA 42(11:01) (Shotgun) K.Farrow, II left guard to SA 48 for 6 yards (T.Parks; J.Evans).
2-10-SA 42(10:22) (Shotgun) M.Williams scrambles right end to ORL 35 for 17 yards (L.Gunter).
3-4-SA 48R12(9:36) (Shotgun) M.Williams pass short left to A.Moore to ORL 38 for -3 yards (L.Gunter).
1-10-ORL 35(9:10) (Shotgun) M.Williams pass incomplete short middle to G.Ward, Jr..
2-13-ORL 38Timeout #2 by SA at 09:05.(9:05)
3-13-ORL 38(9:05) (Shotgun) M.Williams pass short left to A.Green to ORL 32 for 6 yards (L.Gunter) [A.Moten, Jr.].
4-7-ORL 32(8:24) N.Rose 50 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-S.Daly, Holder-J.Zema
ORL 8 SA 15, 10 plays, 43 yards, 4:33 drive, 6:40 elapsed
After the one possession, starter Logan Woodside returned at quarterback.
“We think that they both should play by really what they’ve done,” Riley said. “I failed on that the first game and we decided just to go put him in the third series of the game today and we should have done that the second half too.
“I’m not really suggesting too big of a drama part of this thing. I wouldn’t do it if I thought it was hurting our team. I think he’s earned that position to play. We kind of look at the bulk of the work that was done from mini-camp all the way through.”
The Commanders, who scored touchdowns with their first two possession of the game with Woodside at quarterback, didn’t score an offensive touchdown the rest of the game.
“I do think Logan is our starter. I like him,” Riley said. “But I think Marquise, as you saw, can give us a change of pace.”
Any football team loves to make a statement early in the game by running the ball successfully.
The Commanders did that on Sunday night on the legs of Kenneth Farrow II. The Commanders’ opening drive lasted 10 plays and went for 59 yards while burning almost six minutes off the clock.
Four of those first 10 plays were runs by Farrow. He carried the ball for 4 yards on the Commanders’ first offensive play. He also had carries of 8 and 6 yards on the drive before scoring.
Farrow pounded and then hurdled his way to a 15-yard touchdown run for the first points of the game with 5:57 left in the first quarter. Farrow hit the end zone head first and had to get some assistance before walking off the field.
Farrow returned to the game and led the Commanders in rushing with 74 yards on 13 carries (5.7 yards per carry). He also caught two passes for 25 yards.
The Orlando Apollos turned a fourth-quarter interception into the go-ahead touchdown to beat the San Antonio Commanders 37-29 on Sunday at the Alamodome.
The Commanders (1-1) split their first two games of the season at home. They play the next four games on the road. The Apollos stayed undefeated at 2-0.
Orlando defensive back Keith Reason intercepted a pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown with 7:02 left in the game. The Apollos outscored the Commanders 17-0 in the fourth quarter.
The Commanders got the first score of the game on a 15-yard run by Kenneth Farrow II. Logan Woodside hit a 1-yard pass to Evan Rodriguez to give the Commanders a 12-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Commanders’ next three scores came on Nick Rose field goals of 50, 38 and 37 yards.
Rose’s last field goal put the Commanders ahead 21-17. San Antonio extended the lead to 29-17 after the Commanders’ defense produced a sack and fumble and defensive lineman Joey Mbu returned it 8 yards for a touchdown with 8:10 left in the third quarter.
The Apollos tied it on the fourth quarter on two field goals and a 23-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Gilbert to Jalin Marshall.
Pos Player Injury Thurs. Participation
TE Cole Hunt Knee Limited
OL Fred Lauina Knee Full
S Orion Stewart Back Full
CB Duke Thomas Thigh Limited
RB Trey Williams Foot Limited
Pos Player Injury Thursday Participation
OLB Ryan Davis Sr. Ankle Full
CB LaDarius Gunter Knee Full
CB Mark Myers Jr. Head Full
DT Leon Orr Knee DNP
CB Cody Riggs Hamstring Full
CB D’Joun Smith Knee Full
While San Antonio’s eyes were on the Commanders on Saturday night at the Alamodome, three other teams won their AAF season openers this weekend.
The Arizona Hotshots beat the Salt Lake Stallions 38-22 in the highest scoring game of the weekend. The Hotshots, coached by former San Antonio Gunslingers quarterback Rick Neuheisel, got 275 passing yards and four touchdowns from former Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford.
The Orlando Apollos were the highest scoring team of Week 1, pounding the Atlanta Legends 40-6. The Apollos are led by venerable college coach Steve Spurrier. Orlando’s Garrett Gilbert, a former Texas and SMU quarterback, passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Birmingham Iron recorded the only shutout of the weekend with a 26-0 victory over the Memphis Express. Birmingham quarterback Luis Perez was originally assigned to the Commanders before being picked by the Iron in the AAF’s protect-or-pick draft. Perez passed for 252 yards. The Iron held the Express to 202 total yards.