It was touch and go for a while, apparently, but Week 3 of the Alliance of American Football will officially kick off this weekend. The Sunday nightcap game will feature a match up between the San Antonio Commanders and the San Diego Fleet at 8 p.m. on the NFL Network.
The AAF coughed blood this week as we learned the league was in such dire financial straights that it nearly didn’t make its payroll after Week 1. Tom Dundon, the owner of the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL, shelled out $250 million to buy the young league. The AAF has shown a lot of promise. The games have been fun and the ratings good. People are watching and hopefully Dundon can fix whatever was broken in the front office to keep it alive.
Anyway, we still have games to bet on, so let’s wrap up the weekend with this one.
San Antonio Commanders at San Diego Fleet (-2.5, O/U: 43.5)
The Fleet (1-1) picked up their first victory of the season last week, besting the Atlanta Legends, 24-12, in what I’m sure was more like the offensive output head coach Mike Martz was expecting. San Diego was down 9-0 in the first quarter, but tied the game in the third, before putting it away with a 15-point fourth.
Is Philip Nelson Mike Martz’s guy? Maybe not, but he played the whole game, finishing 14-of-30 for 142 yards with an interception. What Martz was able to do is unleash a legit running game. Ja’Quan Gardner carried the ball 15 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 6.9 yards per carry. Terrell Watson had 14 carries for 49 yards.
Nelson Spruce was the Fleet’s leading receiver with four catches for 58 yards. On defense, San Diego got 1.5 sacks from Shakir Soto and a sack from Galen Robinson. Ryan Moeller picked off a pass.
The Commanders (1-1) lost a shootout with the AAF’s hottest team, the Orlando Apollos, 37-29. San Antonio looked sharp for three quarters, but couldn’t manage so much as a field goal in the fourth in spite of gaining 25 first downs to Orlando’s 19 and having a nearly 11-minute advantage in time of possession.
Two quarterbacks took the field for the Commanders, with Logan Woodside doing most of the work. He finished 20-of-39 for 223 yards, one touchdown and one pick. Kenneth Farrow II carried the ball 13 times for 74 yards and a touchdown, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. De’Marcus Ayers caught five passes for 80 yards.
On defense, Shaan Washintgon, Winston Craig, Jayrone Elliott and Austin Larkin all got at the quarterback and registered sacks. Elliott added a forced fumble. A defense that can rush the passer, especially in a league with teams still finding their offensive footing, could pay dividends down the road.
In spite of San Diego’s offense coming to life, San Antonio appears to be one of the league’s better teams. If not for a stalled offense in the fourth quarter, they could be coming into this game 2-0. Facing a pass rush that can get after the quarterback, I can see the Fleet turning the ball over a few times with Nelson at quarterback. I like San Antonio here in the upset. Commanders 22, Fleet 18
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