The USFL’s second game of the week was primed to be one of the best. New Orleans and Birmingham faced off in a primetime FOX Saturday night showdown, and it did not disappoint.
Both the Stallions and Breakers have been superb on the season so far, being the only two undefeated teams left. Birmingham took care of business against Houston last week, while New Orleans destroyed Tampa Bay in dominant fashion.
As expected, this matchup turned out to be very entertaining, despite the defensive standoff to start. Let’s take a look at what all went down on this spectacular USFL Saturday night thriller.
Birmingham got the ball first, but could not take advantage of the early possession. A quick three and out led to a punt, giving New Orleans the ball quickly. The Breakers were unable to capitalize, as fantastic defensive efforts from Birmingham forced New Orlenans to punt right back.
Both defenses were out for blood to begin the game, leading to very little offense on the first couple of possessions. Birmingham punted again, struggling to even gain any yardage at all.
Things got a bit crazy on New Orleans’ next drive. The Breakers put together a phenomenal possession, getting inside Birmingham’s one yard line. Somehow, the team failed to score, as Kyle Sloter fumbled on a QB sneak.
The trends continued in the early goings of the second quarter, as neither team found a way to produce offense at all.
Last week, Marlon Williams caught a huge touchdown, and boasted about his “big time” playmaking abilities. Well, that was on display again. J’Mar Smith threw a quick slant to Williams, who then made the entire New Orleans’ defense look foolish en route to the game’s first score.
The Breakers finally put together a good drive as the half came to a close. Sloter made an excellent throw to Johnnie Dixon on a long 3rd and 14, before finding him again for a touchdown. A missed XP left points off the board, though, and New Orleans trailed 7-6.
Birmingham was able to make the most of their limited time left in the half, swiftly pushing the ball down the field. Brandon Aubrey converted on a short field goal, and the Stallions led 10-6 at halftime.
New Orleans opened up the second half with a perfect possession. They ate up almost nine minutes, with a slow and methodical march down the field. It was capped off with another TD pass from Sloter to Dixon, and the Breakers took a 13-10 lead.
Unfortunately for the Stallions, they decided to go for it on a short 4th and 1, but failed to convert. After such a promising drive, coming away with zero points in the fourth quarter was not ideal.
Birmingham’s defense stood strong, forcing New Orleans to punt the ball. This allowed the offense another opportunity, and they took advantage. On a long 3rd and 18, Smith found Cary Angeline for a 44 yard gain, keeping the drive alive.
Then, Victor Bolden made an incredible catch in the end zone, which put the Stallions back in front, 17-13. Bolden made a fantastic adjustment on this ball, as it was underthrown – plus pass interference was called on the defender.
COUNT 👏 IT 👏@vicbolden was gonna get it one way or another 💯
On the ensuing drive, things got pretty crazy. Sloter fumbled the ball in the endzone, and it was picked up by an offensive lineman. He then fumbled it, and Scooby Wright III recovered it for a score. But, after review, it was discovered that the lineman was down by contact – so the result was a safety.
Disappointingly, a missed field goal from Austin MacGinnis left New Orleans empty handed, and they still trailed by six. Another defensive stop gave the offense another opportunity, but it was short-lived.
DeMarquis Gates, a spring football legend, made a huge play. A mistimed pass from Sloter ended up in Gates’ hands, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
INTERCEPTED 😱🗣@Y_DGates has that KILLER instinct tonight 🥵
Even though it was a defensive slugfest in the early goings, this game shaped up to be quite enjoyable to watch. With two undefeated and hungry teams going at it, we saw some excellent defense, and scrappy offense throughout the game’s entirety.
Despite J’Mar Smith completing under 40% of his passes, Birmingham found a way to get it done. Their defense was superb, and outlasted the Breakers’ solid efforts of their own. Ultimately, the Stallions found a way to win, remaining as the only undefeated team left.
Did you enjoy watching Birmingham vs. New Orleans? Which players’ performances were the best in your opinion? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!