Atlanta Legends: Aaron Murray Falters for the First Time

Atlanta Legends Aaron Murray (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Atlanta Legends Aaron Murray (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Legends saw their two game winning streak come to an end, with a 6-37 defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Commanders. Former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray had his first sub par game of the season and was a major culprit in the defeat.

Turnovers led to the Atlanta Legends demise against San Antonio. Starting quarterback and local fan favorite Aaron Murray there his first interception of the season. He went on to throw two more and was a major reason that Atlanta lost the ballgame. In addition to Murray’s three interceptions, the Legends also loss a fumble. San Antonio scored touchdowns off of all four turnovers. One of the touchdowns was a pick six.

Other than the three turnovers, Aaron Murray was fairly accurate completing 30 of 41 passing attempts. That’s a respectable 72.3 percent completion percentage. The issue was a lack of explosive plays, as Murray threw for just 215 yards, a meager 5.2 yards per attempt. Despite the low total, Aaron Murray’s 215 yards passing was a game high. His lone touchdown pass was a one yard strike to running back Tarean Folson on fourth down.

The Pro Football Focus AAF Twitter page tweeted this highlight of the lone Atlanta Legends touchdown:

Pressure allowed and penalties, were also a problem that slowed the Atlanta Legends offense. Aaron Murray was under duress all game, being pressures 16 times and sacked twice. The team was also called for an unacceptable seven penalties on offense. Guard Isaiah Williams, tackle Brandon Pertile and tight end Charles Standberry Jr were whistled for two penalties each, accounting for the majority of the Legends penalties on offense.

Aaron Murray appeared to have his worse game of the season by far and the grades given by Pro Football Focus confirm that. He received a team low-grade of 29.4 for the contest. He was graded 31.9 as a passer. Both of which are an F performance by letter grade. In fact no player on the Atlanta Legends offense received a grade of 70 or above. Chase Farris the Legends’ starting right guard, led the way with a grade of 68.6.

The Atlanta Legends running game did not provide much help for Aaron Murray. The team managed to gain just 65 yards on the ground in 18 attempts. 14 of those yards were gained by the quarterback Murray himself, on four scramble attempts. The lackluster performance in the running game was problematic in two ways. The team’s 3.6 yards per carry is well below average, making it nearly impossible to move the chains. Also the fact that Atlanta only ran the ball 18 times, is an issue in itself. It shows that the Atlanta Legends staff abandoned the running game too soon. They need to make a better commitment to stick the ground assault. This will open up the play action passing game and take some pressure off of their quarterback. A full look at the stats can be found on the official AAF website by clicking here.

Aaron Murray took responsibility for the loss, as was also typical after losing as the quarterback at the University of Georgia. He gave these comments after the game.

"“I have to be better recognizing coverages and making the right decisions,” “We can’t turn the ball over.” “We knew this was a good defense and probably one of the best defenses in this league. There is a ton of plays that could’ve been made today. We know that and just have to clean it up.”"

The Atlanta Legends defense actually played well, despite the lopsided score. They held the Commanders to just 153 yards passing and defensive end J.T. Jones registered a sack in the process. The defense also limited San Antonio to just 81 yards on the ground in 22 attempts, a sub-par 3.9 yards per carry. Atlanta also limited running back Kenneth Farrow II, who entered week six as the leading rusher in the AAF, to only 35 yards on nine totes. In addition to allowing 28 points off turnovers, the Legends allowed a punt return for a touchdown, so the defense did not allow a standard touchdown drive. Jaylen Thompson of The Alliance at has a comprehensive breakdown of the game, that can be found by clicking here.

Defensive tackles led the defense, as both starters received solid grades from Pro Football Focus. Nose tackle T.J. Barnes was given a PFF grade of 72.3 for his efforts. Defensive tackle David Bean earned a grade of 71.4. Sandwiched between the two defensive tackles, was cornerback Dorian Grant. Grant earned a grade of 72.1, despite allowing a touchdown reception. Outside linebacker Antonio Simmons played well in a limited role. He actually had the highest grade on the team, receiving a grade of 74 for his 14 snaps played.

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The crushing defeat against San Antonio drops the Atlanta Legends to a record of 2-4. They currently sit at third place in the East Division and trail second place Orlando by two full games, with only four games left to play. The Legends will probably need to win all four games, to move into second place and gain a playoff berth. This week’s matchup against Orlando is a must win, if Atlanta is to keep its playoff hopes alive. The matchup will take place on Saturday March 23, at 2PM eastern standard time in Atlanta, at Georgia State Stadium. Despite his mishaps in week six, I still believe that Aaron Murray is the man for the Atlanta Legends quarterback job. If the Atlanta Legends are to make the playoffs, Murray will have to prove me right.

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