San Antonio Commanders (3-2) vs. Atlanta Legends (2-3)
When, where: Sunday, 3 p.m., Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta
TV: 3 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Last meeting: First meeting
Commanders last week: Beat Arizona Hotshots 29-25, Tempe, Ariz.
Legends last week: Beat Memphis Iron 23-20, Atlanta
Commanders head coach: Mike Riley
Commanders general manager: Daryl Johnston
Legends head coach: Kevin Coyle
Legends general manager: Billy Devaney
Commanders players with San Antonio ties: Running back Aaron Green (Madison High School / TCU), wide receiver Josh Stewart (College Station / UTSA), Joseph Zema (Melbourne, Australia / Incarnate Word).
Ticket information: (210) 944-0504
Notable: Sunday's game is the fourth in a row on the road for the Commanders. San Antonio, which played its first two games at home, will host the Salt Lake Stallions on Saturday at the Alamodome . . . Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside was named the AAF's offensive player of the week after completing 21 of 27 passes for 290 yard and two touchdowns in last Sunday's 29-26 win over Arizona. Woodside, a University of Toledo alum, set a torrid pace in the first half, hitting 12 of his first 13 attempts for 192 yards and the two TDs. . . .San Antonio, Atlanta, Arizona and Salt Lake are four of eight teams in the AAF. San Antonio competes in the Western Conference with Arizona, Salt Lake and San Diego. Birmingham is in the Eastern Conference with Orlando, Atlanta and Memphis . . . Each AAF team will play a 10-game regular season. The top two teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will advance to the playoffs, with the championship game scheduled for Sunday, April 28, in Las Vegas.
It’s not true that the Commanders have played every game of their inaugural season on the road. It just seems that way.
San Antonio (3-2) played its first two games at home before hitting the road for the next four weeks because the Alamodome was not available.
The Commanders, who start the second half of the AAF season in Atlanta on Sunday, have gone 2-1 on the road. They lost to San Diego in Week 3 after splitting their first two games at home, and have won their last two on the road. San Antonio is coming off a 29-26 victory over Arizona.
Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside was named the AAF’s offensive player of the week after completing 21 of 27 passes for 290 yards and two TDs against the Hotshots. He got off to a hot start, hitting 12 of his first 13 attempts for 192 yards and the pair of scoring strikes.
“I think we had a good game plan going in,” Woodside said this week after a workout. “Receivers made plays and I think we were just clicking as an offense in general. Stalled out some drives in the third quarter, which we can’t have three-and-outs, but defense did a great job starting out.”
Atlanta (2-3) also has won two straight, beating Arizona 14-11 on the road March 3 and Memphis 23-20 last week at home.
“Atlanta has really rejuvenated themselves,” Riley said. “They’re a whole different group than when we saw them in training camp. I think they’re playing with confidence. The quarterback (Aaron Murray) has mobility and has been performing.
"They’ve put up good numbers offensively, as good as have been put up in the league in a game, and they’ve got the leading defense, yardage-wise, in the league. That is obvious that they’re playing good solid football on both sides of the ball.”
Murray hadn’t played in a game until he replaced Matt Simms two weeks ago. He has completed 61 percent of his passes for 598 yards, one TD and one interception in nearly two full games.
Murray will face a defense that leads the Alliance of American Football with 15 takeaways. The Commanders had five in their victory against Arizona last week. Safety Derron Smith had the defensive highlight of the game, opening San Antonio’s scoring with a 66-yard interception return.
“I think there are some guys with some good instincts,” Riley said of his defense. “I think everybody has an assignment, like in the secondary, everybody has a job, like a man or an area. But there’s also a special guy called an interceptor. They don’t all have that quality.
“Sometimes you get a great cover guy that really doesn’t have many interceptions. He’s a bump-and-run guy. He’s in their (receivers’) face and you don’t see the guy catch many balls, but you don’t get many turnovers from it. So there’s a tradeoff there. And that’s a good tradeoff.”
Riley then singled out Smith and the big play that sparked the Commanders, who took a 26-0 lead before holding off the Hotshots.
“He really was playing an area,” Riley said. “Quarterback extended the play, and he (Smith) had his eye on it the whole way and the quarterback obviously didn’t see him. So guys have instincts. They’re opportunistic. They’re pretty aggressive. I like all those parts.”
The Commanders’ “ground and pound” offense has been fueled by running back Kenneth Farrow II, who leads the AAF in rushing yards with 305. A University of Houston alum, Farrow was named AAF offensive player of the week after rushing for 142 yards on 30 carries two weeks ago.
So, beyond their 3-2 record, where are the Commanders as they head into the second half of the season?
“I actually think the team is in a good place,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “I think that we have recovered from what our worst performance of the year three weeks ago in San Diego, and fought back on the road for two wins on the road. Got to go on the road and get another one.
“As much as anything right now, it’s mentality. These teams are all really even, and it’s really about how you play that day. Then it’s really about how you get ready for that day. What we are striving for are good practices with speed.”