The first weekend of the Alliance of American Football league continued with another lopsided game on Sunday afternoon. While this wasn’t as bad as what the Orlando Apollos did to the Atlanta Legends on Saturday night, the Memphis Express still got shut out 26-0 in a loss to the Birmingham Iron.
Birmingham Iron vs Memphis Express AAF Week One Recap: Memphis Express Get Shut Out 26-0
Both teams came out and played some decent defense, but the deciding factor in the game quickly became the quarterback position. Christian Hackenberg was the starter for the Express and played quite poorly. Although he got a little better in the second half, he was still benched for Brandon Silvers late in the game, who promptly threw an interception on only his second attempt. Hackenberg finished 10-for-23, 87 yards, and one pick.
On the other side, Luis Perez started for the Iron and played pretty well, going 19-for-33 and 252 yards. He didn’t throw any touchdowns, but he didn’t turn the ball over either and he did score a two-point conversion. Simply put, he was efficient and neither of the Express quarterbacks were and that was ultimately the difference in the game.
Besides Perez himself, Trent Richardson surprisingly became the main star of the day on offense for the Iron. Although he only got 58 yards on 23 carries, he still scored two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. He got some important yards when it mattered. However, he will likely have to do better in the future than his 2.5 yards per carry.
Elsewhere, Quinton Patton had a strong day on the receiving end for the Iron. He pulled in four catches for 107 yards. While one of those catches proved to be a controversial point in the game, he was still the go-to guy for Perez. He had a few good games when he was in the NFL, so this may be another good chance for him.
For the Express, there was very little positive to say about the offense. Zac Stacy did well for the running game, getting 58 yards on 12 carries – averaging more yards per carry than Richardson. However, the Express were ultimately forced to rely on the pass down the stretch, limiting his opportunities. The leading receiver for the Express was Alton Howard, who pulled in four catches for 33 yards.
One could argue that the entire Iron defense was a standout. The standout on the defensive line, however, was Jonathan Massaquoi, who had two sacks and five tackles. Elsewhere, Jamar Summers stood out as well as he had one of the two Iron interceptions and a forced fumble as well. Xzavier Dickson was able to pull in an interception too.
Despite the Express being the ones who got slaughtered, their defense didn’t play too shabby either. They held the Iron to field goals early on, only starting to give way to touchdowns as the game went on. DeMarquis Gates was their big standout, having 10 tackles and two forced fumbles. While their defensive efforts weren’t enough to make a difference in this game, it still looks like the Express are doing things well on one side of the ball, at least.
The Express weren’t necessarily quite as horrific as the scoreboard would imply. The main issue for them was quarterback play. If they can manage to get better play behind center in future weeks, they should fare better since they have a decent defense and running back. Meanwhile, the Iron look to have one of the better squads in the league at the moment, especially given that their quarterback Perez has been one of the only AAF quarterbacks so far to look that good. They will likely be a team to watch out for.
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