Friday, March 1, 2019

Fleet visits struggling Memphis Express

🏈 San Diego Fleet (2-1) at Memphis Express (0-3)
✈ Memphis, Tennessee (Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium)
📅 Saturday, March 2nd 🕐 1:00 PM (PT)
💻 Bleacher Report Live 📻 XTRA 1360

Riding high following back-to-back wins at home, the San Diego Fleet travels to Tennessee for what could be a "trap game" against a team itching to end its winless streak while the season is still young.

After a 26-0 loss to Birmingham in week one, the Memphis Express dropped their next two games by a combined six points (20-18 vs. AZ, 21-17 vs. ORL). The three teams they loss to are currently tied for first place in their respective divisions, so underestimating this squad is not an option.

Also in a first place tie, the Fleet will need another complete performance if they want to remain in the driver's seat and secure its first-ever road win.

Tale of the Tape

San Diego Fleet (2-1, T-1st AAF West)

Head Coach: Mike Martz (55-33)
Week 3 Result: Defeated San Antonio 31-11
Points Scored: 61 (20.3 PPG)
Points Allowed: 38 (12.6 PPG)
CBS Power Ranking: #3

Memphis Express (0-3, T-3rd AAF East)

Head Coach: Mike Singletary (18-25)
Week 3 Result: Loss to Orlando 17-21
Points Scored: 35 (11.6 PPG)
Points Allowed: 67 (22.3 PPG)
CBS Power Ranking: #7

Fleet Offense vs. Express Defense

Following a record-setting performance in last week's win, Ja’Quan Gardner was named the AAF Offensive Player of the Week. The league's leader in rushing yards recorded the longest scoring play in Alliance history with an 83-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, finishing with a season-high 122 yards. Quarterback Philip Nelson is coming off his best game as the Fleet starter so far, connecting on two touchdown passes to Nelson Spruce, the team leader in receiving yards (119).

Looking to help slow down San Diego's momentum in the run game will be a linebacking corp operated by DeMarquis Gates, who is tied for second in the league with 19 total tackles, and Anthony Johnson, who has two of Memphis' five sacks.

Fleet Defense vs. Express Offense

Allowing less than 13 point per game, the Fleet defense continues to improve each week. AJ Tarpley earned the defensive nod for Player of the Week after returning an interception 27 yards to the end zone for the first pick-six in team history. Shakir Soto's 2.5 sacks puts him in a third place tie for the league lead.

Zach Mettenberger was named the new starting quarterback for Memphis after replacing Christian Hackenberg in the second half of last week's loss. He threw for 120 yards and two touchdowns in his effort to rally the team. Zac Stacy only trails Gardner for the AAF lead in rushing yards (188), but he was out performed last week by Sherman Badie, who racked up 59 yards on eight carries against Orlando.

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