Latest posts by Mickey W (see all)
- AAF Week 7 Grades – Memphis Express Week 7 Grades - March 27, 2019
- Memphis Express Week 5 Grades - March 12, 2019
- The Midway Point – AAF Week 5 Preview Memphis Express At Atlanta Legends - March 6, 2019
As we come down the final stretch of the inaugural Alliance of American Football (AAF) season, there has been plenty of ups and downs in Memphis. However, week 7 was a definite up. The express put forth an amazing comeback and won in the first ever AAF overtime game. The 31-25 victory over the visiting Birmingham Iron avenged a week 1 shutout loss and putting 31 points up on the board more than made up for the first result. Let’s see how they did by position:
While the hype was on Johnny Manziel, the primary QB roll was carried by Brandon Silvers. Don’t get me wrong, Manziel participated and went 3/5 for 48 yards (there was one bad drop by a WR, so it should have been even better) and added 20 yards rushing on 2 rush attempts in his first week with the team. Brandon Silvers made his first start and looked poised and confident throughout. He completed 24 of 35 pass attempts for 266 yards and 2 TD’s. Silvers also converted the game tying TD and 2-point conversion with 25 seconds to go on the 4th quarter before winning it with a TD pass in overtime. Silvers was gold in this game.
Running Backs: C+
The running game was nonexistent for the Express. Manziel’s 20 yards led the team. Stacy rushed 13 times for 14 yards. Terrence Magee did not do much better, rushing 3 times for 4 yards, but did punch in a rushing TD. Stacy did add some life to the passing game, catching 3 passes for 24 yards.
Wide Receivers: A
The wide receivers were straight balling in this one. Reece Horn caught 7 passes for a game high 113 yards and a TD. This was Horn’s second straight 100-yard game. His chemistry with Silvers is undeniable and the two have shown to be able to work very well together. Alton “Pig” Howard added 55 yards on 3 receptions and Daniel Williams played very well catching 5 balls for 30 yards, including the game winning TD. Devin Lucien added a pair of receptions as did Amir Carlisle for a very active WR corp. Brandon Barnes added 1 catch and 1 2 pt. conversion reception.
Offensive Line: B
The offensive line held up well considering how many pass attempts were made. QBs were hit 9 times and sacked 3 times. This is still an improvement from some recent efforts. In general, the Qbs had some more time as indicated by the high completion percentage The line was still unable to open the holes for the RBs and still have not put forth a complete effort. However, they deserve some accolades for this one.
Overall Offensive Grade: A-
The offense put up 35 points and fought back from a multiple score deficit in the 4th quarter to force OT and win. Putting up 30 plus points against a team that shut you out earlier in the year shows how much of an improvement the team has made. It is the hope that they continue to grow as a unit.
Defensive Front: B
No Drew Jackson meant other players needed to set up. Demarquis Gates had 7 tackles (1 for loss) and 2 QB hits., leading the way for the Express. They really needed to put the pressure on as the Iron seemingly went away from the rushing game. Richardson led the Iron with only 56 yards on the ground. Iron had only 83 yards total rush. The defense earned 3 sacks as well. Luis Perez an 7 times to scramble out of pressure. Overall, it was a good game by this group.
Defensive Backs: B
The Defensive backs were beat on several passes down field, but in general had tight coverage. They did allow 2 TD passes, but they came up big when they needed to late, forcing a 3 and out late in the fourth in a series of incompletions and then forcing the Iron backward in overtime not allowing Birmingham to really threaten a score when it mattered. Jeremy Cutrer led the squad with 2 passes defensed.
Overall Defensive Grade: B
The big bugaboo was the penalties. Too many defensive penalties were taken and a pair in the 4th almost cost them a chance to win. However, they did bounce back as a group and did what they needed to get the ball back and win in the clutch.
Special teams: B+
Reece Horn had another quality punt return game. The team also has a blocked punt by Demarquis Gates that was returned for a TD by Terrell Bonds. Austin MacGinnis hit one of 2 field goals (the miss was 34 yards and took points away from Johnny Manziel’s drive) and Ryan Winslow had a decent game with 1 poor punt. Winslow did have a long of 59 in the game. Coverage was good allowing only 4 total return yards.
The coaches must get the players more disciplined. The Express had 14 penalties for 111 yards. (the Iron had 8 for only 53). However, the coaches were able to keep the team motivated and focused despite all the hoopla regarding Manziel and the team never quit when down in the 4th. Overall, it was a well called game on both sides of the ball.
It does not get any easier for the Express next week as they play the 6-1 Orlando Apollos at home. Game time is set for 2:00 ET (1 CT) on Saturday, March 30.