San Antonio flexes its muscle against outmanned Atlanta
It is rare in professional sports to see one team that is head-and-shoulders above the competition. But that’s exactly what happened Sunday afternoon in Atlanta when the Legends took on the star studded San Antonio Commanders. In a game that saw Legends quarterback Aaron Murray struggle, the Commanders jumped out to an early (and impressive) 20-0 lead and never looked back.
Early in the game, it appeared that Atlanta had devised a scheme to allow it to hang with the West Division’s most dangerous team. That, however, proved to be an illusion. With 7:45 remaining in the opening quarter, San Antonio recovered a Brandon Radcliff fumble on the Legends 12 yard line. The very next play San Antonio running back Kenneth Farrow II bolted into the end zone. The two point conversion was no good, and the Commanders were up 6-0.
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Atlanta took control following the San Antonio score and appeared to be putting a nice drive together. Three minutes later, the Legends committed their second turnover; this time Aaron Murray was intercepted by Zack Sanchez. The Commanders took over at the Atlanta 48 yard line. The Commanders hit a bit of a speed bump when faced with a 4th and 2 from the Atlanta 24 yard line, but this proved to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience for San Antonio and early in the second quarter, the Commanders were on the board again. This time courtesy of a 5 yard touchdown pass from Logan Woodside to Kale McKay. Woodside then found McKay again for the 2 point conversion, and it was 14-0 Commanders.
On Atlanta’s ensuing drive, Murray was intercepted again which allowed San Antonio to begin its third straight possession in Legends territory. The drive was capped moments later with another Woodside touchdown strike, this time to tight end Evan Rodriguez. Although, some would argue the Atlanta defense should be credited with an assist on the score as a blown coverage allowed Rodriguez to waltz into the endzone without a Legends defender anywhere near him. The conversion was no good and the Commanders were up 20-0.
Finally, after three disastrous drives, the Legends offense appeared to be finding its stride. Quarterback Aaron Murray completed eight straight throws which helped Atlanta advance to the San Antonio 3 yard line. However, Atlanta nearly squandered a golden opportunity with a fumbled snap after starting center Parker Collins exited the game with a lower leg injury. The Legends were able to recover their fumble and save themselves from committing another turnover. This ultimately saved the drive as they converted a 4th and goal from the 1 when Murray found running back Tarean Folston for the score. The conversion was no good, but Atlanta showed signs of life as they ate into the San Antonio lead. With 2:37 left in the second quarter, the score was 20-6 Commanders.
The teams exchanged punts following the Legends touchdown drive which had potential to give the Atlanta defense an opportunity to slow the dominant Commanders offense. The Legends defense, however, never got the chance as San Antonio’s Greg Ward Jr. returned the Atlanta punt 79 yards for a touchdown with 1:00 remaining before halftime. The two point conversion was no good, but San Antonio stretched its lead 26-6.
The third quarter saw San Antonio add a Nick Rose field goal and the fourth quarter brought a San Antonio pick six with a successful two point conversion that sealed Atlanta’s fate.
Atlanta fans entered Sunday’s game thinking they had found their solution at quarterback with former Georgia standout Aaron Murray, and left the game wondering if it would be Murray or backup quarterback Peter Pujals that would get the start next week. The final stat line for Murray: 30-41 for 215 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions.
The Commanders push their winning streak to three games and improve their record to 2-2 in the Western Division and 4-2 overall. The Legends see their record fall to 1-2 in the Eastern Division and 2-4 overall. Both teams now turn their attention to their next opponents. San Antonio will host the Salt Lake Stallions, and Atlanta will host the Orlando Apollos.