Week Four is in the books in the Arena Football League, and the Albany Empire have established they dominance as the only undefeated team left in the league.
Columbus has struggled this season, currently the only team without a win, while the other four teams in the league sit at 2-2, which could lead to interesting seeding scenarios for what could be an extremely fun postseason.
This week, Arena Football made it’s first appearance in Columbus, Ohio for the first time in 11 years, Washington and Philadelphia had an absolute shootout in the nation’s capital, and the Blackjacks rolled the dice to their second win in franchise history. Let’s dive in shall we?
Week Four Results:
Washington 53 Philadelphia 46
Atlantic City 48 Baltimore 41
Albany 56 Columbus 40
Nelson and Raudabaugh Light Up the Nation’s Capital
Arvell Nelson and Dan Raudabaugh almost blew the roof off the Capital One Arena with their fireworks. Raudabaugh went 19-of-26 for 7 TDs and 280 yards, while Nelson went 23-of-38 for 5 TD including a 46 yard strike to Josh Reese.
Meanwhile, Tommy Grady did Tommy Grady things for the Empire, going 22-of-32 for 320 yards and 7 TD. Grady also threw for his 800th career passing touchdown, giving him 805 total and moving him to sixth all time and just four touchdowns behind Andy Kelly and cracking into the top five.
Guerra is Good
Last week, I said that Dezmon Epps would need a huge week to help the Valor beat the Soul. I don’t know if he checks out AFL Fan Zone, but he was impressive, with 9 receptions for 113 yards. And while Epps didn’t have any touchdowns, his play helped free up the other Valor receivers like Reggie Gray who had four receptions for 58 yards and two touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, the Soul receivers had a great day with Aaron Wascha and Darius Prince each finishing the game with 115 yards receiving and a combined five touchdowns. In fact, every player for Philadelphia who recorded a catch scored a touchdown.
In Atlantic City, Kendrick Ings of the Blackjacks and Brandon Collins of the Brigade both hit double digit receptions, with Ings having 10 receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns, and Collins finishing with 10 receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
And while Malachi Jones was fantastic for Albany, going for 10 receptions for 179 yards and three touchdowns, Fabian Guerra has established himself as wide receiver one in Columbus, going for 13 receptions for 202 yards and four touchdowns.
Guerra also added another kickoff return for a touchdown, giving him two on the year. The entire AFL had just two kickoff returns last season.
Rise of the Empire
While the final score of the Baltimore Brigade-Atlantic City Blackjacks game finished with a high score, there were three combined sacks and a defensive score as Nias Martin of Baltimore had a 26 yard interception return to get the Brigade back into the game in Atlantic City.
Once again, the Empire established their dominance, scoring 21 points off turnovers and spoiling the homecoming in Columbus. Speaking of Columbus Destroyers and turnovers…
The Destroyers have had a rough go so far in their first season back in the Arena Football League. One of the reasons has been problems holding on to the ball, as Columbus has fumbled the ball eight times, losing the ball four times.
For the most part, it’s been the exchange between the quarterback and the center that has given the Destroyers issues, as over half of those eight fumbles have come in the exchange.
After giving up 21 points off turnovers this past week, the Destroyers will need to get some chemistry between the offensive line and the quarterback or else it will be a long season in Ohio
This Week’s Games
May 25, 2019
Washington Valor (2-2) @ Columbus Destroyers (0-4) — 3:30 PM
Albany Empire (4-0) @ Atlantic City Blackjacks (2-2) — 7:00 PM
May 26, 2019
Philadelphia Soul (2-2) @ Baltimore Brigade (2-2) — 3:30 PM