By Cody Bays
ATLANTA — The San Antonio Commanders scored early and never trailed as they defeated the Atlanta Legends 37-6 in front of 10,619 people at Georgia State Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Commanders (4-2) set a season-high in points by scoring 37, and the defense matched its best performance of the year by holding the Legends (2-4) to just six points.
The San Antonio defense led the way by forcing four turnovers, marking the third straight week with three or more turnovers. De’Vante Bausby, Zack Sanchez and Derron Smith all tallied an interception and Duke Thomas recovered a fumble in the victory. Offensively, Logan Woodside completed 17 of his 23 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns – one to Mekale McKay and another to Evan Rodriguez.
Legends’ quarterback Aaron Murray completed 30 passes for 215 yards, in addition to one TD and three interceptions. Keith Towbridge and Seantavius Jones combined for 11 receptions and 80 yards.
San Antonio got on the board first when Kenneth Farrow II scored his third touchdown of the season via a 13-yard rush with 7:45 to go in the first quarter for a 6-0 Commanders’ advantage. The one-play drive was set up by a Duke Thomas fumble recovery of a Brandon Radcliff fumble that was forced by Darnell Leslie on the first play of Atlanta’s second possession.
On the ensuing drive, the Commanders made the Legends pay for their second turnover in as many possessions. After Zack Sanchez intercepted a Murray pass, the Commanders marched 48 yards in 12 plays with Woodside finding Mekale McKay in the end zone for a 5-yard pass. The two then connected on the 2-point conversion, giving San Antonio a 14-0 lead with 13:35 to play in the opening half.
Bausby made it three consecutive Atlanta possessions with a turnover as he picked off Murray on the Legends’ first second-quarter possession. The interception was Bausby’s Alliance-leading fourth of the season. Two plays later Woodside hit Evan Rodriguez in stride down the right side for a 33-yard TD pass. The ensuing conversion attempt failed, putting the Commanders ahead 20-0 with 10 minutes to play before halftime.
Atlanta responded with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that consumed 7:18 off the clock and resulted in a Murray to Tarean Folston touchdown pass on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line. The conversion attempt failed, leaving the Commanders ahead 20-6.
Greg Ward Jr. capped the first half scoring with an Alliance-record 79-yard punt return for a touchdown. Ward Jr. fielded the 42-yard Cameron Nizialek punt at his own 21-yard line, let the blocks set before sprinting untouched down the right sideline. The score gave San Antonio a 26-6 halftime lead.
Nick Rose connected from 23 yards out for his 11th field goal of the season on the Commanders’ opening drive of the second half. The drive, which resulted in a 29-6 San Antonio advantage, consumed 80 yards over 11 plays and 6:21 of game time.
Two Atlanta drives later, the Commanders came away with a stop inside the red zone with 14:14 to play. Duke Thomas stopped the Legends’ Justin Thomas short of the line to gain at the 2-yard line on a 4th-and-7 play.
San Antonio returns to the Alamodome from its four-game road trip on Saturday, March 23 as hosts to the Salt Lake Stallions. The game, which will start at 7 p.m. CT, will be televised on NFL Network.