Johnny Manziel Debuts But Memphis’ No. 3 QB Leads Team To 1st OT Victory In AAF History Over Iron

For those of you who have been paying even a moderate amount of attention to the Alliance of American Football so far this NFL offseason and my coverage of it, you probably have a pretty good sense of how the Birmingham Iron is doing. They had the opportunity to virtually ensure a playoff berth yesterday, but ended up losing in a historic heartbreaker.

Visiting the bottom-feeding Memphis Express as they tried to secure their fifth win in seven games, the Iron ultimately gave way in the end, leading by eight points late. But the Express’ third-string quarterback drove on them to tie the game with seconds to spare.

That led to the first overtime game in the history of the AAF—and the Iron ended up on the wrong side of it, with Brandon Silvers finding Dan Williams for the 10-yard touchdown to conclude the overtime period. Birmingham possessed the ball first.

You might be thinking, “uh…didn’t the Express just get Johnny Manziel?”. Yes, yes they did, in fact, and he even played in the game, but he was limited to only three drives as a sort of change of pace—for now. He did complete three of five pass attempts for 48 yards, and also recorded two runs for 20 yards.

But it was the little-known Silvers, who opened the season behind Christian Hackenberg and Zach Mettenberger, who led the Express to just their second win of the season against the best defense in the AAF.

He completed 24 of his 35 pass attempts in the game for 266 yards, throwing two touchdowns while doing a good job of protecting the football. He also converted a two-point attempt.

“Right now, Brandon is our quarterback”, Express Head Coach Mike Singletary said after the game. “I’m very excited about what Johnny does and what he brings to the team, but Brandon is our starting quarterback”.

Memphis scored the final 17 points of the game, as the Iron defense continues to cool off after a hot start that helped them get out to a 3-0 start to the season. They have gone 1-3 in the four games since, leaving them with a 4-3 record, but still in good position to reach the postseason with three games to go.

Last week’s breakout performed for the Iron offense was former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver L’Damian Washington, who recorded four receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Yesterday, he was only targeted once on a deep incompletion.

Birmingham quarterback Luis Perez, however, did continue to perform better since his benching. He only completed 16 of his 37 pass attempts, but they went for 235 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Running back Trent Richardson also scored his 10th rushing touchdown of the year.

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