AAF Week Four Preview: San Antonio Commanders at Birmingham Iron

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AAF Week Four Preview
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 24: Trent Richardson #33 of Birmingham Iron celebrates with his teammates after scoring a rushing touchdown against the Atlanta Legends during the third quarter of the Alliance of American Football game at Georgia State Stadium on February 24, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Logan Riely/AAF/Getty Images)

Once considered a legitimate threat in the AAF, the San Antonio Commanders are free-falling as a team. After beating the San Diego Fleet in game one, the Commanders put up a tough fight against the Apollos in week two, but a pick-six late decided the game. And last week, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for the Commanders in their rematch loss to the Fleet. Logan Woodside, who began showing promise of being a great quarterback in this league, is just one interception away from tying Matt Simms with the most in the AAF. The Birmingham Iron, on the other hand, is one of two undefeated teams that remain. Coming off a dominating win against the Legends, the Iron look to become 4-0. A win from the Apollos could set a date of undefeated teams next week.

San Antonio Commanders vs. Birmingham Iron: AAF Week Four Preview

Offensive and Defensive Struggles

The Commanders put forth their worst offensive performance against the Fleet in their 31-11 loss. Quarterback Logan Woodside put together another sub-par performance, throwing 12 for 23, 151 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. And for the second straight week, Woodside threw a pick-six that would swing the momentum of the game.

Don’t be surprised if backup quarterback Marquise Williams is inserted into the lineup if Woodside struggles early in the game. Williams ability to run can give the Iron defense fits if the Iron spend all week preparing for the pocket passer Woodside is.

The Commanders defense didn’t provide much support either. Fleet breakout star running back Ja’Quan Gardner ran past and through the Commanders defense all night long. The Birmingham Iron heavily depend on their running game to score on offense. In fact, all six offensive touchdowns the Iron have this season have come on the ground by Trent Richardson, who leads the AAF in touchdowns. One week, the Commanders struggle to stop the air attack. The next week, the defense struggles to stop the run. It’s time for the Commanders defense to step up to give their offense a shot to crack a tough Iron defense.

The Iron Curtain

Old school football still exists. The 2000 super bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The 1985 Chicago Bears. The 2015 Denver Broncos. All three teams have one thing in common: ground and pound offense, dominating defense. Through three AAF games, the Iron defense has only allowed 21 points. For a league that is as dynamic as the AAF, only giving up two touchdowns this season is an amazing feat. The Iron defense has nine total takeaways this season, along with multiple goal-line stands. The Iron defense truly embodies a bend, don’t break mentality.

On offense, timely third-down conversions and a power run game tell the story for the Iron offense. The offense is about as balanced as they come, passing 102 times and running 85 times this season. The Iron must expect the Commanders defense to take away Trent Richardson and the Iron running game. This could be a game that puts Luis Perez in the discussion as one of the league’s best quarterbacks. On the season, Perez is 60 of 102, 596 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. With a championship level defense, it’s time Perez has a breakout game.

Last Word on Iron vs. Commanders

The Iron defense should have the edge in this match-up. The biggest key to the game will be whether or not the Commanders offense can generate enough big plays to put pressure on the Iron offense. This will be the Iron’s toughest test thus far, so it will be interesting to see how they respond.

The Commanders are in danger of falling into last place of the Western Conference with a loss. This becomes an early must-win scenario because their schedule only gets tougher. Expect the Iron to win a low scoring affair, where the Iron offense dominates time of possession.

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