It’s hard to believe that a team is already in midseason form by Week 2, but that is exactly where The Birmingham Stallions are at right now.
The Stallions put together an impressive outing in the season opener, defeating the New Jersey Generals 27-10 but lost some key starters in the process. This could’ve made them take a step back but apparently, it only made them stronger.
Birmingham were firing on all cylinders in every phase of the game this past Saturday, completely conquering the Memphis Showboats, 42-2. Quarterback Alex McGough led the charge for the Stallions, completing 21-of-28 pass attempts for 301 yards and four touchdowns. He finished with a 149.0 passer rating.
Here are some observations from the dominant home victory.
Run game rebounds
Despite the win in Week 1, one of the biggest disappointments was how the ground game disappeared, specifically from the running backs. And without Bo Scarbrough in the backfield, it seemed unlikely that things would improve in Week 2, but CJ Marable and ZaQuandre White impressed early and often.
Marable carried most of the load, totaling 16 attempts for 68 yards, but White was the shining star. The South Carolina product broke free for big gains multiple times, including an explosive but nimble touchdown from 35 yards out.
He finished with eight carries for 72 yards and two scores.
The Stallions finished with 172 rushing yards on 30 attempts. While the numbers are impressive, Birmingham was in control from start to finish and the game was never in doubt for the entire second half. However, it will be even more impressive if they can sustain this level of success for a prolonged period of time.
Receivers Rise to the Occasion without Marlon Williams
When Marlon Williams torn his achilles in Week 1, there was reasonable doubt of how and who would step up as the No. 1 receiver going forward. As it turns out, the Stallions had not one but two receivers make a name for themselves against the Showboats.
Davion Davis made an immediate impact, as he scored a 16-yard touchdown on the Stallions’ opening drive. He finished with four receptions for 47 yards and a score.
Another receiver that stepped up was Myron Mitchell. With the Stallions in the red zone, Mitchell dropped his defender and created enough separation to score an easy, late-game touchdown. He finished the contest with four catches for 32 yards and a touchdown.
As a unit, the receivers caught 13 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Jace Sternberger was his usual, dominant self, hauling in five receptions on six targets for 127 yards and a score.
It’s hard to imagine how superior the Stallions offense would be with Williams still in the lineup but his fellow receivers made plays throughout the game against the Showboats.
Defense pitches a shutout
Although it says the Stallions won 42-2, the only time the Showboats scored was when McGough was sacked in the end zone for safety. Memphis’ offense struggled to move the ball consistently, and the Stallions defensed pitched a shutout in just the second week of the season.
What’s most impressive about this outcome is how dominant the defense was without three of Stallions’ best defensive players. Linebacker Scooby Wright III, safety JoJo Tillery and defensive lineman Joe Jackson all missed the game with injuries, yet the rest of the Stallions defense allowed just 183 total yards on 3.7 yards per play.
Jordan Thompson, Nate Holley, and Lorenzo Burns led the way with each defender finishing with six tackles apiece. Linebacker Rashad Smith, his first season with the Stallions, racked up two sacks and a force fumble while cornerback T.J. Carter recorded an interception.
Objectively, the Stallions are playing like the best team in the USFL and ranked at the top of the power rankings, according to USFL News Hub. They lead the league in total yards per game, passing yards per game and third down conversion rate. They’ve outscored their opponents 69-12 over the first two weeks with no sign of slowing down.
The Stallions are riding high and have the momentum on their side to go on a massive winning streak. Birmingham will look to defend home field again and start the 2023 season 3-0 when they face the New Orleans Breakers at Protective Stadium on Saturday, April 29 at 12:30pm on the USA Network.