On a cool and damp day, the Memphis Express played host to the Orlando Apollos, who are, the best overall team within the AAF. With the 6-1 Orlando Apollos coming to town, the Memphis Express knew they would have to bring their A game to have a shot at victory.
This was a massive game for both teams, for Memphis had they found a way to win they would have kept their playoffs hopes alive.
However, the Orlando Apollos were just a tad bit too much for the Express proving that with a hard-fought 34-31 road win.
Memphis showed the grittiness that Express fans have grown accustomed to. When Memphis lost backup QB Johnny Manziel early in the first half to a head injury, the Express kept fighting. After falling down 22-9 early in the 3rd quarter, Memphis’s refuse to lose mentality showed up behind QB Brandon Silvers.
Brandon Silvers led the Express with 269 yards and one touchdown in the loss on Saturday. Silvers also played a massive role in the Express comeback leading the team to a 31-22 lead early in the 4thquarter, before penalties and costly mistakes got the best of the Express. Toward the end of the game, it seemed like the officiating became a lot tighter and that proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Express.
Head Coach Mike Singletary had this to say about all penalties at the end of the game.
“As far as the clock is concerned, there were just a couple of times when either there was zero on the clock or something was happening, and they didn’t catch it or whatever it was. And they say ‘Okay, run down the sideline.’ You run down the sideline and there’s not enough time. You’re gonna run the play. You run on the field, you try to get somebody’s attention and that doesn’t work. So, I don’t really know what to do in that situation.”
One missed penalty in-particular seemed to break the back of the Memphis Express. It was a play where the play clock had hit zero but no flag was called, Orlando ended up scoring a few plays later to put Memphis away.
Memphis will travel next week to face the 5-2 San Antonio Commanders. The Express will look to bounce back and close out the season on a winning note.
Mike Singletary had this to say about bouncing back after this heartbreaking loss to Orlando:
“We will always bounce back. We’ll bounce back because we’re the Express. We’ll bounce back because I’ve got a lot of guys on our team that we came to win today. We came to play football. We came to win. And I wish we would have been allowed to play the game. We were not. And words cannot express how disappointed I am for our guys. We bounce back all year. This was a pivotal game for us. We knew that coming into it. We didn’t play perfect today, but we did some good things. So, it’s unfortunate for us that we couldn’t close it out.”
Memphis has two games left in the season, and will likely play with nothing to lose.
With the win over Memphis, Orlando improves to 7-1 overall and will face San Diego at home next Saturday. Orlando has also clinched home-field advantage for the playoffs.
Head Coach Steve Spurrier had this to say about the win over Memphis:
“Well, we were headed to halftime 14-6. We thought we when we hit that quick touchdown we thought we were in pretty good shape, and then obviously Memphis came back strong and got ahead. Somehow, we scored a couple touchdowns at the end of the game. But, yeah, referees, they get caught in difficult situations. They call some you like, some you don’t like on both sides. I’ve learned to just sort of go with it and hope I get a good one called the next time. And that’s all you can do as coaches. You can’t yell at the refs but so much. And there at the end of the game there was only gonna be about 15 or 20 seconds if you don’t make it and we got them to jump offsides, so that’s what ended the game. I don’t know what some of the players were so mad about before that. Do you?”
This was an amazing game of football, with both teams deserving of a win, but it was Orlando who came out on top.
Memphis will be back home Saturday, April 13th as the Atlanta Legends travel to the 901.