Apollos top Legends 40-6 in inaugural AAF game
The Alliance of American Football officially kicked off its inaugural season on Saturday night, and the Orlando Apollos did not disappoint. The Steve Spurrier-led team trounced the visiting Atlanta Legends 40-6 in a game that was all but over by halftime.
After sputtering on offense in the early going, the Apollos had a pass reviewed into a touchdown and never looked back. The 26-yard strike from Garrett Gilbert to Jalin Marshall was the spark Spurrier’s offense needed to get going.
Two plays after Orlando scored the first touchdown in league history, the Apollos defense showed why it is a force to be reckoned with by picking off Atlanta quarterback Matt Sims and starting a trend that would continue throughout the night. Inside linebacker Terence Garvin jumped in front of the Simms pass for what would be his first of two interceptions. The Apollos would then convert the turnover into the first rushing touchdown in league history on a four play, 35-yard drive.
As strong as the offense was once it got rolling, the defense was really the star of the show. After giving up a long, 15-play drive that resulted in a field goal, the Apollos turned up the heat and stymied the Legends, particularly on the offensive line. The only other points Atlanta would score on the evening were another field goal that came courtesy of a three-and-out after a muffed punt.
The offensive player of the game was the quarterback, Garrett Gilbert. The SMU product started slow, going 1-8 for 16 yards on the first two drives, but rebounded to finish 15 of 25 for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Gilbert’s biggest highlight of the night though came when he caught a pass from WR Jalin Marshall on a play now known as the “Orlando Special,” named after the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl play from two seasons ago.
Next up for the Apollos is a road trip to San Antonio. The Commanders were also victorious in a lower scoring affair over the San Diego Fleet, 15-6. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network and the Alliance of American Football app.
Photo credit: Orlando Apollos, via Instagram