The 6-1 Orlando Apollos traveled to Tennessee to take on the 2-5 Memphis Express. The Apollos look to maintain their 1 game lead in the race for best overall record in the AAF and clinch home field advantage in the playoffs.
The Express took the opening snap and with the help of 2 crucial penalties on the Apollos were able to “flip” the field position and pin the Apollos deep to start their first drive.
Garret Gilbert and the Apollos’ offense struggled at first but a 40 yard strike to WR Charles Johnson seemed to help the team settle in.
That wasn’t the case, after 3 incompletions the Apollos had settle for a 25 yard FG.
Memphis QB Johnny Manziel led the Express all the way down the field only to be picked off by Apollos DB Will Hill. Manziel was hurt on the play.
The Apollos offense continued to be efficient between the 20’s but stalled once nearing the redzone. The Apollos settled for a 37 yard FG.
Memphis responded by driving inside of Orlando territory only to stall and have to settle for a 51 yard FG.
The Apollos offense continued it’s struggles as QB Garrett Gilbert threw his 2nd interception, setting the Express up with excellent field position.
The Apollos defense held strong in holding the Express to a 29 yard FG.
The Apollos, looking to get something going before the half grinding out an impressive click killing drive that was capped off by a 2 yard pitch to D’Ernest Johnson.
Memphis was able to respond before the half with a 37 yard FG.
Apollos- 14 Express- 9 at the half
The Apollos and Garret Gilbert had the opening snap in the 2nd half and wasted no time by hitting former Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Donteea Dye on a 65 yard TD.
The Express, now down by 13 needed a huge drive and they came through with a 10 play 80 yard drive. Memphis RB Terrance McGee drove in from the 2 yard line to close within 5 points of the Apollos.
Apollos- 22 Express-17
After an exchange of possessions the Apollos looked to mount a drive and kill some clock. That came to a halt when Memphis DE DeMarquis Gates came free on a blitz and absolutely destroyed Apollos QB Garrett Gilbert knocking the ball loose followed by DE Cory Crawford scooping the ball up and returning it for a TD.
Express-23 Apollos- 22
The Apollos defense continued its struggles and the Express capatalized on it with a 9 yard TD pass to cap off an 8 play 87 yard drive.
Express- 31 Apollos- 22
The Apollos answered back with a 18 yard TD pass to bring the score to 31-28 in favor of the Express.
The Apollos came up with a clutch drive as the weather turned to rain and took the lead 34-31 on De’Veon Smith’s 1 yard TD dive.
Memphis offense struggled to get anything going in the bad weather and Orlando’s defense capatalized on it forcing an INT with less than 2 minutes left. Orlando simply needed to get a few 1st downs and kill the clock.
Final: Apollos-34 Express-31