18 °C London, GB
16th July 2019

AAF: Hotshots @ Stallions Review

It has finally happened, the unluckiest team in the AAF, the Salt Lake Stallions turned their fortunates around on Saturday to earn their first victory ever against the visiting Arizona Hotshots.

Subsequently, the Hotshots also set a franchise first as they lost there first ever game in AAF history, falling 15-23.

For the second straight week Arizona played the first quarter in passive fashion finding themselves 9-0 very early on. It wasn’t until Nick Folk stuck the ball through the upright for Arizona from 48 yards, 6 minutes from the half, that they managed to get on the scoreboard.

Rashad Ross continued to fight for his spot as the leagues best receiver towards the end of the first half as he took in a 1-yard TD throw from Wolford, a score which had briefly put the Hotshots 11-9 up only for the 2PT attempt to be overturned. The game reached the half with a 9-9 scoreline.

Much like the first half started, Arizona started the 3rd quarter incredibly slow. Within 66 seconds of the restart, Stallions monster linebacker Greer Martini picked the ball off at the Hotshots 29-yard which subsequently lead to Brandon Oliver running the ball in.

During the interception play, Wolford, who was 14-of-22 for 127 yards, left the game after injuring his back – he never returned to the field. Backup Trevor Knight, who many expected to start the season for Arizona offered a new dimension to the Hotshots offence as he threatened to do damage with his legs if the Stallions weren’t careful. Fortunately, he was only able to find 68 yards through the air, 0 net yardage on the floor and only 6 completions from 15 attempts.

Over the remainder of the game, Arizona only found space for 98 yards. Kicker Nick Folk put the ball through from both 35 and 45 yards to give the visitors their only away scores of the second half.

No doubt, had the Hotshots not lost Wolford this game could have gone very differently.

Midway through the 4th quarter, with less than 8 minutes to go in the game, Salt Lake found a way through into the endzone after an on-field ruling a turnover on downs was reversed to a touchdown. 12-23 Stallions lead.

Rice-Eccles Stadium had even more reason to make noise with the home team managing something the Hotshots couldn’t, a stop on 4th down. Personally, I feel Rich Neuheisel, AZ head coach, made a poor call trying to get into the endzone. A field goal at this point would have made it a one score game as the clock ticked down.

As we entered the final 30 seconds, Folk came in handy once again, coverting from 45-yards.

What happened next is one of my favourite ever footballing creations. In the NFL it’s customary to try for an onside kick late in the 4th after bringing the game back within reach. In the Alliance however, things are a little different.

The Alliance has no concept of kick-offs or special teams. Instead, to allow teams a chance to mount a comeback they receive what is effectively a 4-down, 12 yards away from the first down marker at their own 28-yard line.

Had it been completed the AAF would be 1 for 1 with attempts and completions but it wasn’t to be. Salt Lake made the stop, sealing the victory, about time really.

Did the officials cost Arizona the game?

Have an opinion on this article? Why not share it with the world? Write With us.
Hello. Add your message here.