Week 1 of the USFL action demonstrated how much the offenses needed more time to gel. Early and often we saw miscues on both offense and special teams. However… defense was a different story.
In week 1 of the USFL, we saw relatively low-scoring games with 28 the high for the week. With that being said many points were thanks to the defensive units putting on a show.
New Jersey Generals at Birmingham Stallions
In game 1 we saw New Jersey fall to Birmingham despite the efforts of Shalom Luani who had 8 tackles, 1 for a loss, 1 interception, and 2 passes deflected. Also, Deyon Sizer collected a sack on their way to a 28-24 loss.
Birmingham saw Tay Hayes and Demarquis Gates collect 20 tackles, 1 for a loss, 1 sack, and 1 pass deflection. While other members of the roster contributed 2 more sacks and 3 pass deflections. Ultimately we saw defense and special teams account for 14 points in three games.
Houston Gamblers at Michigan Panthers
In the Michigan and Houston game, we saw the Houston defense step up in a big way. Ahmar Gooden lit up the opposing offense on his way to 9 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. Reggie Northrup had a forced fumble and a scoop and score that went 95 yards. Donald Payne fell just 1 short of 20 tackles and tipped a pass flowing sideline to sideline like no other linebacker at this level so far. The Michigan offense fumbled 9 times.
On the other side of the field, Michigan’s defensive captain Frank Ginda racked up 10 tackles, .5 sacks, and 1 tackle for a loss. Jameson Houston intercepted an errant pass from Clayton Thorson. Again showing just how much Defenses were on Display in Week 1.
Philadelphia Stars at New Orleans Breakers
In the New Orleans and Philadelphia game we watched as Davin Bellamy took over the game. He would find himself in the backfield more often than not. He had many dominant plays. However, it was the interception return for a touchdown early in the game, a blocked punt for a safety, and a sack-fumble that ultimately sealed the game. If the Breakers defense can keep this up they will be a hard team to beat.
On the Philadelphia side, it was Channer Stribling who was all over on defense with clutch pass deflections, key tackles, and big hits but his performance couldn’t stop New Orleans from hanging 28 on the board.
Ultimately despite all the talk of the quarterbacks and offensive talent in the league it was the defense that was on display in the first 3 games of the season. It remains to be seen if game 4 can change that narrative after our first weekend of USFL action.
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