By Steven Weldon
We're almost to the playoffs! The best team in the league is knocked off, the on-fire Legends get a smack in the teeth and the Express picked up Johnny Football after their absolutely awful game! Let's see what the AAF brought us this past weekend.
SALT LAKE STALLIONS 22, MEMPHIS EXPRESS 9
Another week, more disappointment for the Express. This game was seemingly over in the first quarter, as the Stallions took a 16-point lead and never really let go of the game. Looks like the best of the worst comes out of the S-L-C.
Player of the game: Josh Woodrum, 24/37, 243 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Woodrum was finally consistent and played much better than the other players in the game. I mean, that's what it comes down to, right?
ARIZONA HOTSHOTS 22, ORLANDO APOLLOS 17
The best team in the league has fallen. In a back-and-forth game, the Hotshots controlled most of the game, but lost the lead in the middle of the fourth quarter. However, timely defensive play and a contested pass interference call led the Hotshots to a rushing touchdown to retake the lead. They did not let go of the lead, despite a late charge down-field by the Apollos. In the midst of their no timeout rush to the line of scrimmage, an Orlando player was found to be offside with four seconds left. By rule, the penalty came with a ten-second run-off, ending the game there, as well as the Apollos' streak.
Player of the game: Jhurell Pressley, 13 carries, 57 yards, 1 TD, 1 reception, 9 yards, TD
Pressley accounted for all of the Hotshots touchdowns, including the eventual game-winner. I almost gave this award to an Orlando player though, despite the loss.
SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS 37, ATLANTA LEGENDS 6
After a nice hot streak, the Legends fell back to earth -- hard. San Antonio's defense was all over Aaron Murray and now it's back to the drawing board for the Legends.
Player of the game: San Antonio Commanders Defense, 3 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, 2 sacks
Logan Woodside had a nice two-touchdown game, but the Legends were hindered by the massive defensive presence all game long.
BIRMINGHAM IRON 32, SAN DIEGO FLEET 29
After a few lackluster weeks, the Birmingham Iron came to play in San Diego, and they brought their offense too. Luis Perez of the Iron and Mike Bercovici of the Fleet were slinging the ball all over the field, combining for six touchdowns and four interceptions. While the Iron had a solid hold on the game in the first half, the Fleet busted the door down in the third quarter, scoring 14 points. The game was tied with just seconds left, when Nick Novak barely knocked in the game-winning field goal as time expired.
Player of the game: L'Damian Washington, 4 receptions, 128 yards, 2 TD.
Washington was huge in this game, including a long touchdown reception that opened the door further for the Iron. This award could have also gone to Trent Richardson, who was also all over the field, scoring two touchdowns of his own.
POWER RANKINGS WEEK 6
1. ORLANDO APOLLOS (5-1)
The Apollos were four seconds away from being 6-0. Despite their loss to the Hotshots, they still showed why they are the best team in the league. They'll get a huge chance at redemption taking on the lowly Atlanta Legends next week. They can actually clinch a playoff spot with a win.
2. SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS (4-2)
The Commanders stay in control of the western conference with an impressive victory over a team that seemed to be out of a slump. The best thing about the road ahead for the Commanders, is they have the easiest schedule. They face the Salt Lake Stallions twice, first game next week, and a game against the Memphis Express in week 9. The Commanders have control of their own destiny. Let's see what they make of it.
3. BIRMINGHAM IRON (4-2)
The Iron stood their ground, never wavered, and showed off a passing offense they haven't displayed before this past week. Their big win keeps pace with the top Apollos, and they need every win they can hold on to. They'll take on regional rival Memphis next weekend, and with a win, come one game closer to clinching a playoff berth.
4. SAN DIEGO FLEET (3-3)
I gave the Fleet the four spot on my power rankings because they have been consistent. They had the game against the Iron in hand but wilted late. The game could have very well have gone to overtime had Nick Novak shanked a second kick. It doesn't get any easier though, they'll face the Arizona Hotshots next week. Will they stay the second best team in the west?
5. ARIZONA HOTSHOTS (3-3)
A big win for the Hotshots, but it looks better on paper than it does in real life. The Hotshots can get back into the contender conversation with a win over the Fleet next week. I still think they've got the talent to compete for the championship, but they aren't convincing me unless they finish strong.
6. SALT LAKE STALLIONS (2-4)
They won the battle of the cellar against Memphis, and have nothing to lose coming into their game against San Antonio. They won't be able to hop anyone in the standings with a win, but they'll sure make things interesting if they do.
7. ATLANTA LEGENDS (2-4)
Ouch. Aaron Murray looked so good. I guess he only plays well against teams that don't have good defenses. He's the one bright spot on this team. Going into their game against the Apollos, they face almost certain elimination with a loss.
8. MEMPHIS EXPRESS (1-5)
I had nothing good to say about this team until the news came out that they signed Johnny Manziel. Johnny Football can revitalize this team and their fan base, but they're officially eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to Birmingham next weekend.
Check out the AAF this weekend on TNT, NFL Network and CBS Sports Network.