8 Teams/8 Takeaways
1. Iron Curtain
Seriously, the Iron Curtain is SO GOOD. That goal line stand during which they stopped the Commanders on seven straight plays inside the 5 yard line was one of the greatest things I have ever seen. This defense was completely let down by the offense. The defense shut down the Commanders all game long. San Antonio didn’t convert a 3rd down over 6 yards, racked up 95 yards through the air, and averaged 3.82 yards per play. Beniquez Brown is second in the league with 26 tackles, and Jamar Summers still looks like a dominant shut down corner.
2. NFL Already Looking to AAF
Apparently, the NFL Rules Committee is looking into how a SkyJudge would work in the NFL. The SkyJudge made a major call in the Iron game, assessing a hit on a defenseless player penalty on the Commanders. While the SkyJudge would be cool, I think the NFL should do the live feed of the replay official before they do the SkyJudge. It would really clear things up for fans as to why the refs are making the calls they are making.
3. Bham Lost, and I am Sad
Like many who started watching the AAF at the beginning of the season, I picked a team to give my allegiances. I chose the Birmingham Iron. I live in Auburn, AL. I went to (and still go to) Auburn University, and the Iron have the players with whom I share an alma mater. This is the first week I have had to deal with an Iron loss. When the Iron lost this game, (kind of blew this game in my opinion, but that is here nor there), I was upset. I was surprised that I was upset, but I was upset none the less. That is huge for the AAF. Yes, I realize I am one unimportant fan who would watch either way. It is huge for the AAF that people in general are feeling allegiances for these teams. It is huge that people are upset when their team loses.
4. Revisiting my Running Theory
You may recall that last week I had a theory on how to win football games in The Alliance. If you don’t remember it, you can see it here. One week into my theory, it doesn’t have the same overwhelmingly positive results as last week, but it still holds water for all but one game. I am not ready to call my theory a whopping success yet, but I am ready to revisit it next week. The team with the better rushing numbers are now 7-1 in the last two weeks.
- Memphis Express
- 32 carries for 57 yards and 1 TD
- Orlando Apollos
- 33 carries for 123 yards and 1 TD
- San Antonio Commanders
- Farrow – 30 carries for 142 yards
- Team – 41 carries for 161 yards and 1TD
- Atlanta Legends
- 39 carries for 177 yards and 1 TD
- San Diego Fleet
- 30 carries for 105 yards
- Salt Lake Stallions
- 27 carries for 116 yards and 1 TD
- Birmingham Iron
- 20 carries for 85 yards, and Trent Richardson’s 7th TD of the season
- Arizona Hotshots
- 24 carries for 138 yards
5. PARITY PARITY PARITY
After Week 4, we are finally seeing how much parity there truly is in the Alliance. The Apollos are still 4-0, and the Iron sit at 3-1. Behind them, the Hotshots, Commanders, and Fleet are all 2-2, and the Stallions, Express, and Legends are all 1-3. The Express and Legends both look SO much better with Mettenberger and Murray at their helms respectively. The next 6 weeks are going to be a ton of fun as a bunch of relatively evenly matched teams race for the playoffs.
6. Coach Power Rankings
- Steve Spurrier – Orlando Apollos
- There were multiple times during the game against the Stallions that I was so impressed with a timely play call or performance by the Apollos team. Spurrier continues to set himself apart from the rest of the pack of coaches.
- Tim Lewis – Birmingham Iron
- I know the Iron lost this week. I know his late game timeout/clock management was not good. The halftime adjustments by his staff are impeccable. The offense came out and moved the ball right away until Perez threw a bad INT in the red zone. The defense continues to be absolutely unreal.
- Mike Riley – San Antonio Commanders
- Credit where credit is due. The Commanders may have been awful in the red zone, but Riley put together a good gameplan and beat an undefeated team on the road this week.
- Kevin Coyle – Atlanta Legends
- This is out of luck
- Coyle is getting credit for his new offensive coordinator, and the fact that his QB got hurt. He still made some truly awful decisions, and his team commits so many stupid penalties. The defense is good. The offense certainly looked way more dynamic with Murray in command.
- Mike Singletary – Memphis Express
- Defense looks great again, for the 4th week in a row, and Mettenberger has revitalized that offense. Express get their first win of the season.
- Dennis Erickson – Salt Lake Stallions
- Piss poor performance by the Stallions at home this week. They didn’t look ready. Spurrier embarrassed Erickson in Erickson’s home stadium.
- Mike Martz – San Diego Fleet
- Martz is a different coach each week. He looked great in week 3, but he looked awful in weeks 2 and 4. You can’t be higher than 7 when I don’t know which version of you I am getting. I will give him credit for Philip Nelson not looking incompetent anymore.
- Rick Neuheisel – Arizona Hotshots
- I have been telling you this since Week 1. I have no faith in Neuheisel. Letting a winless Legends team come into your stadium and flat out beat you is embarrassing. Arizona starts very slow again. This is the third week in a row. They started down 12-0 to Memphis, 9-0 to Salt Lake, and 8-0 to Atlanta, and it should’ve been worse against Atlanta last night. Arizona has the worst 3rd down defense in the league. In my mind, the horrible safety taken by Rashad Ross is on poor coaching also. How in the world does that guy think that play is okay to attempt?
7. QB Rankings
- Garrett Gilbert – Orlando Apollos
- 22/32 for 244 yards and 1 TD this week. He has still not thrown an INT. He has by far been the best QB in the league.
- Zach Mettenberger – Memphis Express
- Going 18/25 for 174 yards and 1 TD this week, Mettenberger has flat out changed the Express season. He led them to their first win of the season. He led them to a roaring comeback the week before that. Mettenberger gives Memphis something that they just didn’t have the first two and a half weeks.
- Aaron Murray – Atlanta Legends
- Aaron Murray completely changed this Legends offense. He went 20/33 for 254 yards and added 7 carries for 54 yards on the ground. His legs were a huge factor in this game. His 54 yards led the team in rushing, and he was able to use his legs to escape pressure time and time again.
- Philip Nelson – San Diego Fleet
- I am getting dangerously close to having to apologize to Philip Nelson. I was firmly in the “he doesn’t belong on a football field” camp after his first start. The last two games, he has been so much better. He got injured during this game after starting 9/12 for 110 yards and 1 TD. I may not be a fan, but, obviously, you never want to see anyone get hurt.
- Josh Woodrum – Salt Lake Stallions
- Woodrum had an efficient but pedestrian 16/22 for 161 yards. He was fine in what was a horrid performance from his team.
- Luis Perez – Birmingham Iron
- An incredibly disappointing 19/39 for 202 yards and 2 INT for Perez this week. Up until this game, he has a great job of not turning the ball over. This week, he threw a bad red zone INT that gave the Commanders all the momentum to start the second half. He has still not thrown a TD pass this season. He is starting to look closer to Hackenberg and Simms than Mettenberger and Murray.
- John Wolford – Arizona Hotshots
- At halftime of the game against the Legends, Wolford was 8/16 for 74 yards. That is not good. Wolford ended up 17/31 for 185 yards and 1 TD. Some math tells us that he was much better in the second half. This has been a theme for the Hotshots and Wolford this season. It has bit them in the butt the last two weeks.
- Logan Woodside – San Antonio Commanders
- He just isn’t very good. There was supposed to be an open QB competition in San Antonio, but we didn’t see Marquise Williams at all against the Iron. Woodside had a not very good 11/25 for 106 yards. If I’m not mistaken, the Commanders have first dibs on Johnny Manziel. Just saying. Something to think about if you’re Daryl Johnston.
- Alex Ross – San Diego Fleet
- The fourth string QB for the Fleet went 8/18 for 80 yards. 1 TD, and 1 INT after he replaced an injured Philip Nelson. It is hard to expect more from a team’s 4th string QB.
8. Power Rankings
There isn’t much shakeup in my power rankings this week. The Stallions were the week’s most disappointing team by far, so they plummeted in my rankings. With 3 teams at 2-2 and 3 teams at 1-3, it is tough to distinguish teams 2 through 7. Orlando remains the only unbeaten team, and the best looking team in the league. Each team’s place in my Week 3 Power Rankings are in parenthesis.
- (1) Orlando Apollos (4-0)
- (2) Birmingham Iron (3-1)
- I know they lost, but they have the best defense in the league, make arguably the best halftime adjustments in the league, and usually their quarterback is very solid.
- (4) San Diego Fleet (2-2)
- (6) Memphis Express (1-3)
- They just beat the Fleet, how could you have them below them in your rankings? Well, because the we saw the Fleet dominate the Commanders in week 3, and their starting QB got injured during this game. I bumped them up to #4 ahead of two 2-2 teams because Mettenberger has made that offense look so much better.
- (5) Arizona Hotshots (2-2)
- Inexcusable loss at home to a winless Atlanta team. Neuheisel is not a good coach. THEY HAD A WIDE RECEIVER RUN BACKWARDS INTO THE END ZONE AND GET TACKLED FOR A SAFETY.
- (7) San Antonio Commanders (2-2)
- Solid win over the Iron, but if you can stop their running game, the offense sucks. The Iron had three offensive linemen injured. I’m not over the beatdown the Fleet put on them.
- (8) Atlanta Legends (1-3)
- If Aaron Murray, the #LegendSavior, continues to start, this team might move rather quickly up these power rankings.
- (3) Salt Lake Stallions (1-3)
- What a piss poor performance by this team at home. Honestly, when their entire team walked out in long sleeves, you knew that this soft ass team didn’t stand a chance. The team from Florida didn’t wear sleeves, but the team that plays in Salt Lake needed sleeves. At home. Embarrassing. Pathetic.
About the Author: I am Michael Pappas, aka THE @CouchPaptato, and these are Views from the Couch. Not necessarily my couch. Usually my couch…because I don’t often leave my apartment. I have a really great couch. Any couch is great though, I don’t discriminate. My home couch is in Dallas, TX, but for the last 5 years my butt has happily been couching in Auburn, AL. Hit me up on twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what the view is like from your couch. Or how stupid the view is from my couch. You can also listen to me host The CouchPaptato Podcast every day on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Sticher, or SoundCloud.