Atlanta Legends Fail to Impress in Home-Opener

Trent Richardson leaps into the endzone to score a touchdown versus the Atlanta Legends

Atlanta Legends Fail to Impress in Home-Opener at Georgia State Stadium

The Atlanta Legends played their first home game of the season on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon at Georgia State Stadium. Unfortunately, the play on the field was underwhelming for a Legends team still seeking their first win of the Alliance of American Football season. The Legends suffered a brutal 28-12 loss to the Birmingham Iron – their third defeat of the season.

Even worse, they may be on the verge of losing their fanbase.

ontay Crockett goes all out  to catch a pass in the Atlanta Legends first home game
Montay Crockett goes all out to catch a pass in the Atlanta Legends first home game. (photo by William Curtis)

Matt Simms started his third-consecutive game at quarterback for coach Kevin Coyle, but if the Atlanta fans had their way, the backup quarterback would be their choice.

“We want Muray,” the fans chanted.

Former University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is whom the fans were deliberately calling for Coyle to insert into the game.

Simms won’t admit this, but his performance seemed to be affected by the fans’ criticism. He finished the game with 328 yards with three interceptions and one touchdown in the latter part of the game. Not to mention, the numerous penalties for delay of game.

Instead, it was Trent Richardson who had an excellent performance carrying the load for the Iron. Richardson scored his first touchdown on a five-yard run up the middle with 2:36 on the clock in the second quarter. His second touchdown was the most crucial of the game, giving the Iron a commanding 20-6 lead with 5 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Richardson finished the game with 17 carries for 46 yards and three touchdowns.

The Legends’ offense couldn’t sustain drives and continuously put their defense in tight situations. Without Michael Vick, the team’s initial offensive coordinator, and former NFL head coach Brad Childress calling the plays, the team has struggled to score points.

Then there’s play-caller Rich Bartel, who according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, resigned two days before their game against the Iron.

In the first three games of the season, the Legends have scored a total of 30 points – last place in the AAF.

“I don’t think anybody really anticipated that our offensive coordinator would leave two days before the game,” Simms said to AJC reporters. “That kind of delayed how we went about our process as far as having a rhythm and getting a rhythm going.”

Simms touchdown pass came with 1:43 left in the game on a back-shoulder throw to Montay Crockett for 23 yards.

“There’s definitely been some adversity our offense has had to deal with, our team, in general, has had to deal with,” Simms said. “At the same time too, I think the team is doing a really good job of rallying together and understanding the situation and knowing that we’re doing the best that we can do with the hand that we’ve been dealt at the moment.”

Defensively, the Legends were aggressive and forced an interception late in the fourth quarter.

If Atlanta hopes to keep their AAF hopes alive, they must win now. They’re next opportunity to secure their first win is next Sunday against the Arizona Hotshots.

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