Folks, we made it. Pro football is finally here … again!
Week 1 of the inaugural Alliance of American Football regular season is halfway over as the San Diego Fleet traveled to the San Antonio Commanders, while the Atlanta Legends went to Orlando to take on the Apollos. By the end of the night, there were two dramatically different results. San Antonio needed a strong defensive effort to outlast the Fleet while the Apollos didn’t leave any doubt in handling the Legends.
There will also be two more games on Sunday with Arizona, Birmingham, Memphis and Salt Lake City all squaring off (Here’sall of this weekend’s games). What should fans expect? It’s hard to say, specifically, as there’s simply no history from which to derive any kind of expectations, but hopefully, we’ll see some good football.
CBS Sports was with you the entire evening as the first two AAF games played out. Here’s what went down on Saturday night …
Orlando Apollos 40, Atlanta Legends 6
San Antonio Commanders 15, San Diego Fleet 6.
Check these out …
Terence Garvin should get a call back up to the NFL soon
Orlando Apollos linebacker Terence Garvin was a journeyman in the NFL, but he’s already making waves in the AAF. Even though the Apollos 40-6 victory was an offensive display, it was probably Garvin who came away as the most impressive player of the game. He had 10 tackles on the evening, including some in the backfield for negative plays, plus a pair of interceptions, one of which he returned to the house for a touchdown. You don’t want to start teasing fate after one game — Atlanta looks like it has a lot to sort out — but Garvin did a little bit of everything. He was disruptive, played well in coverage and was all over the field.
San Antonio’s defense shines in low-scoring game
You’re not going to believe this, but there was yet another interception in the San Diego-San Antonio game. However, the biggest one of the night came courtesy of Commanders defensive back Zack Sanchez, who showed great technique in this game-sealing pick. That helped the Commanders get a 15-6 win in the opener. While it might not have been the offensive showcase many around the AAF thought San Antonio would put on display, it was a good win nonetheless and should give Mike Riley’s team confidence in its defense moving forward.
Commanders, Fleet feasting off of turnovers
San Antonio and San Diego haven’t exactly been participating in a barn burner. Both defenses have played well and forced key takeaways, including interceptions by both teams in the red zone. However, perhaps the most impressive interception of the evening came courtesy of San Diego’s Ryan Moeller, who picked off a pass without any gloves. San Antonio holds on to a 12-6 lead, but at the rate these two are picking off passes, one might go back to the house.
The Orlando Special is signature Spurrier
Of course Steve Spurrier ran the “Philly Special” against Atlanta. Of course he did. Except this time it’s probably the Orlando Special. Either way, it worked. Garrett Gilbert handed the ball off to Akeem Hunt, who flipped it to Jalin Marshall, who hit Gilbert in the end zone for a touchdown to go up 22-6 on the Legends. It’s a fun-as-hell play, but the reality is the Apollos have not needed tricks to dominate Atlanta. If the Legends can’t make some halftime adjustments, this one could get out of hand.
Orlando’s first touchdown was a close one
The Apollos scored the first touchdown of the night (and for the AAF) when quarterback Garrett Gilbert connected with wide receiver Jalin Marshall on a strike over the middle of the field. Marshall, who was double-covered, came down with a tough catch, but Atlanta coach Kevin Coyle challenged the score. However, after further review, the officials determined that Marshall’s elbow was down and he possessed the ball.
Younghoe Koo scores the first points of the AAF
There are two things you can say about Atlanta kicker Younghoe Koo: 1) GREAT name. 2) He scored the first points, ever, for the AAF. Koo nailed a 38-yard attempt in the first quarter against the Orlando Apollos to give the Legends a 3-0 lead. The former Georgia Southern player spent one season with the Chargers in the NFL before joining the Legends.
Shaan Washington brings the boom
Who says the AAF is all about offense? Granted, defenses are pretty much prevented from bringing the house, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get to the quarterback. Check out San Antonio linebacker Shaan Washington absolutely obliterate San Diego quarterback Mike Bercovici on this sack-fumble. It’s sort of astonishing that Washington had that clear of a path fo Bercovici. Either way, what a highlight, and what a start for the Commanders’ defense.
Injury updates for Saturday’s games
There is some injury news for Saturday’s games before things get rolling. Commanders running back Trey Williams (foot) and cornerback Jordan Thomas (thigh) are out for Saturday’s game. Fleet cornerback Curtis Mikell (ankle) is listed as doubtful.