The Orlando Apollos have won the very first barn-burner in Alliance of American Football history, downing the San Antonio Commanders 37-29 with outstanding performances by Charles Johnson and Keith Reaser.
Week 2 Recap: Orlando Apollos vs. San Antonio Commanders
San Antonio Commanders: Pluses and Minuses
The Commanders offense came out in the first quarter with beautiful efficiency, but their rhythm petered out as the game wore on. Demarcus Ayers established himself as one of the best receiving threats on the Commanders offense with five receptions for 80 yards. Over the course of the game, Alonzo Moore left yards on the field that could have put the Commanders in excellent position to keep this one from getting away from them. Kenneth Farrow was excellent in the first half, stepping up from his mediocre performance last weekend to score the first touchdown of the game for San Antonio and posting a 13-carry, 74-yard game.
In an effort to spread the love, Marquise Williams saw his first snaps at quarterback for the Commanders. Williams’ passing game turned out to be sub-par, but he flashed his athleticism with a couple of quality runs to pick up new sets of downs. The former UNC Tarheel demonstrated some questionable decision-making ability on the field, throwing behind receivers or dumping the ball out to the flats for little to no gain.
The Commanders defensive line was relentless throughout the first half, putting Garrett Gilbert under constant pressure and forcing him to get the ball out quickly and forcing poor play early in the game. Excellent play up front kept the Apollos from establishing a consistent run game, a boon for the Commanders. In the second half, the defensive front continued their valiant effort, notching several sacks and a strip-sack returned for a fumble.
Orlando Apollos: Pluses and Minuses
But, despite the Commanders defensive front’s efforts, when Gilbert had the time to choose his receiver, he took advantage of slow and inattentive Commanders defensive backs to gash San Antonio for big plays. The Apollos offense started the game slowly, but Gilbert really came alive in the second half, connecting again and again through wide open spaces in the Commanders secondary on a blistering drive in the fourth quarter.
But the true hero of the Apollos offense was Charles Johnson. Johnson had an NFL-ready performance with 192 yards and a touchdown on just seven receptions. Johnson’s 192 yards is an AAF single-game record. Jalin Marshall was a close second in the race for offensive MVP with three receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown. Marshall also had an unsuccessful pass attempt on a blown trick play.
Orlando’s defense stood up when it mattered, notably shutting down the Commanders on several red zone attempts. The Apollos sealed their win with Keith Reaser’s fourth-quarter interception returned for a touchdown off of Logan Woodside. Reaser had a phenomenal game with a team-high three passes defensed.
In unfortunate news, Ryan Davis, linebacker for the Apollos, was carted off the field and taken to a local San Antonio hospital after a collision late in the second quarter.
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