Heading into Week 7, Orlando remains cut above on offense

March 19, 2019 10:41 PM

Here’s our weekly look at “drive points” in the Alliance of American Football. Six games into the season, we’re switching to per-game averages from raw totals. These are ONLY points scored on offensive drives of 60 yards or more. We’re trying to isolate skill sets on both offense and defense in this area. Any special teams points, defensive points, or points scored on offensive “field position” drives of less than 60 yards are ignored.

Ideally, we want to learn which offenses can drive the field and which can’t. We want to know which defenses can stop opponents from doing so and which can’t.

 

OFFENSE

Orlando 17.7, Arizona 15.2, Salt Lake 12.8, San Diego 11.5, Birmingham 9.5, Atlanta 7.8, San Antonio 7.3, Memphis 6.7

 

Orlando’s offense has been the class of the league all season. Arizona’s had a good couple of weeks (22 and 16) after getting shut out on long drives three weeks ago. Not a lot of explosiveness elsewhere.

 

DEFENSE (drive points allowed per game)

San Diego 8.2, Salt Lake 8.8, Birmingham 9.2, Atlanta 10.5, Orlando 11.7, Memphis 12.8, Arizona 13.7, San Antonio 13.7

 

A tighter range, because it’s easier to build an acceptable defense from scratch. The problem with the numbers now is that San Diego and Birmingham were FANTASTIC early, but have slumped defensively of late. They played a high scoring shootout against each other this past Sunday night, and both were lit up the week before too. San Diego just allowed 22 and 15 drive points, Birmingham 23 and 14. We could now be trending toward everyone having very similar defenses.

DIFFERENTIALS

Orlando 6.0, Salt Lake 4.0, San Diego 3.3, Arizona 1.5, Birmingham 0.3, Atlanta -2.7, Memphis -6.1, San Antonio -6.4.

Here’s a quick recap of last week’s games. Important to note a very misleading final score in the third game.

 

  • Salt Lake (-8) beat Memphis 22-9, winning yardage 340-239, yards-per-play 5.3 to 3.9, and drive points 11-3. Memphis quarterback Zach Mettenberger was injured on his first offensive play. Brandon Silvers played the rest of the way and was largely in over his head. Memphis signed Johnny Manziel later in the weekend, suggesting Mettenberger won’t be back for the 1-5 also-ran. Salt Lake is 2-4.
  • Arizona (plus 9) upset Orlando 22-17 winning yards-per-play 5.3 to 5.0, rushing yards 179-111, and drive points 16-14. Orlando won yardage 369-341, while suffering its first loss of the season. Obvious letdown spot off the big road win at division rival Birmingham last week. Arizona pulls to 3-3.
  • San Antonio (plus 1.5) won at Atlanta 37-6. That looks like an offensive explosion. But, San Antonio scored touchdowns on an interception return, a punt return, a 13-yard drive after a turnover, and two different 48-yard drives after turnovers. Just 234 total yards on 4.9 yards-per-play for the day. Atlanta imploded under Aaron Murray, who traded “yards between the 20’s” for turnovers this week. San Antonio moves to 4-2 despite the lousy drive point differential we just showed you. AAF boxscores show the team enjoying a 13-2 turnover advantage the past three weeks. Tough to keep something like that going. Atlanta falls to 2-4.
  • Birmingham (plus 6) upset San Diego 32-29 in a real barnburner. This kind of game is what the league was hoping for out of the gate. Birmingham wins total yardage 448-378. San Diego wins yards-per-play 6.6 to 5.7. Both offenses passed for more than 300 yards, but each also threw two interceptions. Birmingham is now 4-2 on the season, San Diego 3-3. 

Noticed this and wanted to pass it along. Orlando has shown an ability to move the chains, with a 28-yeard old quarterback playing for a head coach who's a former quarterback. Apollos were 8 of 15 on third downs last week. Ugly numbers everywhere else…5/13, 5/15, 5/16, 3/11, 2/12, 2/15, 1/10. So, in week SIX of the season, seven of eight teams combined to convert only 25% of third downs (23/92). Not much “developing” going on in that sense. Quarterbacks have to move the chains in the NFL.

Oh, those three road wins  in the AAF last week helped bring “home-field advantage” back to the normal range for sports analysis. Through 24 games, the average result is the home team winning by 2.25 points. Hosts are 13-11 straight up.

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