Here Are 3 Reasons Why the Orlando Apollos Are Still Undefeated in the AAF

B/R Live StaffContributor IMarch 14, 2019

Head coach Steve Spurrier and quarterback Garrett Gilbert have the best record in the AAF.
Head coach Steve Spurrier and quarterback Garrett Gilbert have the best record in the AAF.Todd Kirkland/AAF/Getty Images

The Orlando Apollos stand alone as the Alliance of American Football's lone undefeated team. 

Five weeks into the inaugural AAF season, coach Steve Spurrier's squad is 5-0. The teams tied with the next-best record, the Birmingham Iron, San Antonio Commanders and San Diego Fleet, are all 3-2.

Orlando opened up the season with a 40-6 drubbing of the Atlanta Legends (2-3). It won an offensive showcase against San Antonio 37-29. It escaped with a close 21-17 win against the Memphis Express (1-4). And the past two weeks it's dispatched the Salt Lake Stallions (1-4) and Birmingham 20-11 and 31-14, respectively.

Here's why the scores keep going in the Apollos' favor.


Orlando has the AAF's best offense

Orlando leads the league in points per game (29.8), passing yards (1,319), rushing yards (691), average yards per play (6.9) and total points (149). In these five categories, the Apollos have some challengers, such as the Commanders' 686 rushing yards and Legends' 1,145 passing yards.

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Quarterback Garrett Gilbert leads the league in passing, while running backs D'Ernest Johnson and De'Veon Smith continue to be among the AAF's rushing leaders. Wide receiver Charles Johnson is atop the receiving yards leaderboard.

Gilbert, in addition to his eight touchdowns, has yet to throw an interception. D'Ernest Johnson and Smith both own yards-per-carry averages that are better than any running backs with more carries or more yards than them. Charles Johnson has five more catches and 92 more yards than the next leading receiver.

It's an offense that produces and rarely gets in its own way.


Orlando has a star-studded yet balanced defense

Of the 12 AAF players with at least three sacks, three play for the Apollos; Anthony Moten Jr. and Earl Okine each have four. Of the four AAF players who lead the league with three interceptions, two of them, Terence Garvin and Keith Reaser, play for the Apollos. And while Orlando's leading tackler, Will Hill III, is tied for eighth in the AAF with 22, nine Apollos have at least 10.

Orlando has multiple players at multiple positions who could finish the season as the best at their position. Not many other teams can say that.

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It's why Orlando allows just 15.4 points per game and owns an average scoring margin of 14.4. The Apollos have scored in 17 of the 20 quarters they've played this season, while opponents have only scored in 11. And three of those 11 times, it's been just three points. That's hard to beat.


Orlando has the potential to change the game in one quarter

The Apollos finished the first quarter against the Legends with no points and a three-point deficit. By halftime, they were up 22-6 and on their way to the 34-point opening win. 

It's an enviable place to be in, especially since that's more points in one quarter than the Hotshots, Legends, Iron, Express, Stallions and Commanders average per game. Orlando has scored 14 or more points in a quarter five times this season. That's a quarter of the quarters the Apollos have played.

Orlando scored 14 points in the first quarter of its win against Birmingham, which scored 14 points in the entire game. The Apollos scored 17 in the second quarter of their game against the Commanders, who actually led 18-17 after the first half, and then 17 again in the fourth quarter to help deliver the win. Try entering the fourth quarter of a game without that in the back of your mind.


Orlando's Remaining Schedule

Arizona Hotshots (home): Saturday, March 16, 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network

Atlanta Legends (away): Saturday, March 23, 2 p.m. ET on TNT (Skycam on B/R Live)

Memphis Express (away): Saturday, March 30, 2 p.m. ET on B/R Live

San Diego Fleet (home): Saturday, April 6, 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network

Birmingham Iron (home): Sunday, April 14, 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network