AAF Recap: San Antonio Commanders Blitz Arizona Hotshots Early, Hold on Late

Commanders Hotshots
TEMPE, ARIZONA - MARCH 10: Derron Smith #32 of the San Antonio Commanders intercepts a pass intended for Rashad Ross #15 of the Arizona Hotshots in the fourth quarter during the Alliance of American Football game at Sun Devil Stadium on March 10, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. The play was called back due to a defensive interference penalty. (Photo by Christian Petersen/AAF/Getty Images)

In a weekend where two of the three games prior to this one ended in a walk-off field goal, this game was expected to be an epic one. But up until the fourth quarter, this game was far out of reach. Four first-half turnovers by the Hotshots helped add to their 26 point halftime deficit. The Commanders simply blitzed the Hotshots with an offensive onslaught in the first half. A late rally by John Wolford falls short by a Wolford fumble, a fitting end to a disastrous game for the Hotshots. The Commanders held on for a 29-25 victory.

First Half

This game was decided once the first quarter ended. John Wolford and the Hotshots offense could not hold on to the football. The Hotshots turned the ball over four times, including three interceptions thrown by Wolford. On the Hotshots first drive of the game, Wolford threw a pick-six that would begin the downward spiral by the Hotshots. Wolford finished the half completing 50 percent of his passes, for 67 yards and three interceptions.

The Commanders offense, on the other hand, came out on fire. Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside finally began playing like a potential star in this league. Woodside only had one incompletion in that first half, throwing 12 of 13 for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Kenneth Farrow ll added 17 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Commanders outgained the Hotshots 232 to 129 in total yards.

Second Half

Not much changed for most of the second half to make it a close contest. The 26 point lead was just too insurmountable for the Hotshots to overcome. Wolford played a little bit better in the second half but his first-half mistakes were too much to overcome.Β The Hotshot offense did come alive though. A bomb from Wolford to Rashad Ross and two touchdowns later in the 4th help cut the lead to four. But a late fumble on an onside conversion by Wolford was a fitting end. Wolford finished the game 19 of 33 for 246 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.

The Commanders offense became stagnant in the second half. After moving the ball up and down the field against the Hotshots defense all first half, the Commanders offense only mustered three points and 135 total yards of offense in the second half. The Hotshots took away Farrow’s rushing attack, limiting him to only 25 rushing yards after running for 142 last week against the Iron. Woodside finished the day with 290 yards, a completion percentage of 77 percent, and a QB rating of 120.7.

Last Word on Commanders vs. Hotshots

The Commanders defense have taken things to another level. This is the second week in a row where the Commanders defense has forced three or more turnovers. After forcing the Iron to turn the ball over three times last week, the defense followed up by forcing 4 turnovers. When the game was still in the balance, the Commanders defense shut down the Hotshots offense. The defensive MVP was certainly Derron Smith. He pulled in two of Wolford’s three interceptions and was a force all game long.

The Hotshots are reeling. This is their third loss in a row, and a team who looked poised to be in the playoffs by years end looks lost. The defense can only do so much when the offense keeps turning the ball over, or not sustaining drives. The more the Hotshots continue to lose, the slimmer their playoff chances become.

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