Turnovers sting Legends against Commanders

Turnovers sting Legends against Commanders
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – MARCH 17: De’Marcus Ayers #14 of the San Antonio Commanders carries the ball against the Atlanta Legends during the second half in the Alliance of American Football game at Georgia State Stadium on March 17, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/AAF)

By Jaylon Thompson / The Alliance

ATLANTA— A string of turnovers hurt the Atlanta Legends on Sunday afternoon. The Legends committed four turnovers in the game. In the first half, three of their initial four drives ended with turnovers.

The Legends couldn’t get out of their own way. Mistakes hindered the offense’s ability to move the ball. Legends quarterback Aaron Murray threw two of his game-high three interceptions and running back Brandon Radcliff fumbled inside his own 20-yard line.

The Atlanta Legends (2-4) conclude a three-game home stand against the Orlando Apollos this Saturday, March 23, at 2 p.m. ET at Georgia State Stadium. The game can be seen on TNT. Tickets to all Legends games are available here.

Each turnover proved costly. The Commanders capitalized and scored 28 points off the mistakes en route to their fourth victory of the season.

“Today, it seemed like we were a little off—the timing was a little off,” Legends head coach Kevin Coyle said. “We were late with a couple of throws. They (Commanders) had couple of good breaks on the ball that created turnovers.”

Coyle admitted the game was eerily familiar to the team’s Week 1 loss to the Orlando Apollos. In that game, the Legends also had several turnovers. Both instances put them in an early hole that was difficult to overcome.

“There were similarities of today’s game to the opening game for me,” Coyle said. “We turned the ball over in the game against Orlando and got way behind. I didn’t feel like there was that big of discrepancy between the two teams. I still feel the same way now. Bottom line is that the scoreboard didn’t reflect that, and that’s what it’s all about.”

The Commanders hit on all cylinders against the Legends. Outside of generating four turnovers, they also scored in different ways. Quarterback Logan Woodside threw two touchdown passes and punt returner Greg Ward Jr. had a 79-yard touchdown return.

Strong safety Derron Smith chipped in with an 87-yard interception return and running back Kenneth Farrow II had a rushing touchdown.

The all-around effort hurt the Legends. Several players felt they left opportunities on the field to make a stop and generate some positive momentum.

“We need to watch the tape and make the corrections we need to make,” Legends safety Ed Reynolds Jr. said. “Defensively, if you look at the stats, I think we gave up under 250 total yards and held the top rusher in the league to under 100 yards. There’s a lot of good things, but we still didn’t play perfect today even when we needed to.”

The Legends hope to turn things around against the Apollos next Saturday. It’s a crucial home game that could have playoff implications. The Apollos sit atop the Eastern Conference and are coming off their first loss of the season.

The game will be another test for the Legends. They plan to refocus and show up with a renewed energy. They know it will be important to pull out a victory.

“It’s everything,” Legends linebacker Jeff Luc said. “It’s really important to know you can get punched and get back up and play your hardest. If we fold now, then that means our season is over and we might as well pack our stuff and go home. There’s a lot of football left to be played. We have an amazing team and an amazing coaching staff, and we’re going to get back up and continue to play how we know to play.”

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Jaylon Thompson covers the Atlanta Legends for The Alliance of American Football. Follow him on Twitter JaylonThompson.