In a rematch of last year’s ArenaBowl, the Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor gave us an epic game to start AFL season. Here is a list of what those watching witnessed: 14 touchdowns, 2 of which were long passes at the end of quarters, a 58 yard kickoff return, two interceptions, an ejection, and a 4th down defensive stop by the Brigade to prevent a potential tying TD by the Valor.
The Valor opened the game with bubble screens and quick curl routes to get QB Arvell Nelson in rhythm. This seemed to also make the Brigade aggressive in pass coverage and opened up a post to the back right corner of the end zone for Nelson’s first TD pass. Once the quick passing attack was established the Valor put the Brigade defense in uncomfortable positions by running a curl, seam route combination causing the safeties decide to shut down the short pass or the long pass. This was noticed by Baltimore Brigade QB Shane Boyd and Baltimore Head Coach Omarr Smith who stayed there were some struggles and lack of execution early.
The second half is where Coach Smith and the Brigade shined. The adjustments at halftime led to more interior pressure and tighter coverage on the quick passes.
“This fuels me to keep getting better week after week, ” Baltimore Brigade DB Joe Powell said.
That is a scary thought for the rest of the league. Joe was also the Brigade’s leading solo tackler. That playmaking ability is what Coach Smith hopes to continue on defense along with more consistency and execution on both sides.
Looking forward to Friday, the Brigade play the Philadelphia Soul after their 48-41 win, led by James Romain who recorded two interceptions. If the Brigade keep up the defensive intensity they may be able to take advantage of a Soul offense who had a solid game but still seemed not quite in sync. Brigade QB Shane Boyd will need to make sure that the cleanliness from Week 1 carries over to this Friday and based on his play last week, it will be hard to bet against him keep that level of play up.