After an insane Saturday, the USFL Sunday slate featured two of the top teams in the league, the New Orleans Breakers and the Birmingham Stallions. With the Breakers winning against Birmingham last week, these two teams went into their matchups on different paths. The Breakers, trying to remain the only undefeated team in the USFL, and the Stallions trying to prove the loss was just a fluke.
New Orleans Breakers vs. New Jersey Generals
The USFL traveled to Canton, Ohio, and set up a spectacular matchup to start off with. New Jersey put on an absolutely dominant rushing display last week and looked to do so again against the undefeated Breakers. They did so once again, rushing 22 times for 172 yards. The yards per carry (YPC) between the three runners was 7.8 yards, an insane rate! De’Andre Johnson contributed 113 yards through the air and added a passing TD in the losing effort. Darius Victor and Trey Williams added 64 yards and 70 yards, respectively. Williams scored the lone rushing TD.
The Breakers trio of McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Wes Hills, and Sage Surratt proved once again to be too straining on defenses. MTB eclipsed the 1,000-yard passing mark, with his 279 performance. Wes Hills added another two TDs and went over 150 total yards once again (88 rushing, 71 receiving). As far as I am concerned, Hills has to be THE frontrunner in the early MVP talks. Sage Surratt continues to prove why he is the receiving yards leader in the USFL. He currently sits at 351 yards on the season, almost 100 yards MORE than the next closest receiver (Davion Davis-268 yards). This team is humming and looks better and better each week.
Birmingham Stallions vs. Pittsburgh Maulers
Birmingham, the defending USFL champions, came into week four with a little bit to prove. Could they bounce back after the loss to New Orleans? And could they do it on the road, one of their first TRUE away games? With 6:52 left in the fourth quarter, it seemed like Birmingham was en route to a major upset. Surprise special teams standout, Deon Cain, had a different ending in mind. Down 20-17, just after giving up a long TD run by QB Troy Williams, Cain returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for the go-ahead score. That was Cain’s second return TD in two weeks. Alex McGough and the Stallions were able to force a quick punt and run a perfect four-minute offense to kill the game. McGough, who didn’t start the game out very well, made a fantastic play early in the fourth, resulting in his only passing TD of the game.
Whatever the USFL is paying Chris Blewitt, it isn’t enough. Through his two games in the league, he is 9/9 on FGs. When you consider the Maulers have only scored 14 points offensively (first offensive TD last week, one this week), it shows the value Blewitt has immediately brought to Pittsburgh. The Maulers’ defense is incredible, and we are starting to see the offense come alive. Troy Williams threw for 217 yards and rushed for another 63 and a score. Baily Gaither, Isiah Hennie, and Tre Walker all had over 40 yards receiving. The inability to score inside the red zone is crippling the Maulers. In three trips, the Maulers came away with three FGs. If they can’t find a way to score, the offensive improvements, the incredible defense, and the stellar kicking performances will all be for naught.