Adrian Martinez Leads Birmingham Stallions Past Memphis

Adrian Martinez Leads Birmingham Stallions Past Memphis

Week six of the UFL kicked off this afternoon, with the Memphis Showboats hosting the Birmingham Stallions in what was a must-win matchup for Memphis.

When these two teams played a couple of weeks ago, Birmingham dominated. The Stallions pass rush was something that Memphis could not slow down, which led to a 33-14 beating that the Showboats took.

Birmingham, right now, is rolling. They are 5-0, having taken care of business every single week this season. No matter which quarterback Skip Holtz starts, they find a way to win.

Memphis, on the other hand, has lost four games straight. With Michigan being two games ahead, the Showboats cannot afford to drop another one. Let’s take a look at what happened in this affair.

First Quarter

The Memphis Showboats received the football first, and immediately got off to a rough start. John DeFilippo decided to start Case Cookus this week, and he was sacked by Dondrea Tillman on the very first play from scrimmage.

Memphis didn’t get down on themselves early, though. They picked up a first down, and the drive was moving. The same early mistakes showed up once again, unfortunately. Cookus held onto the ball too long, and Jonathan Garvin forced a fumble. Carlos Davis recovered, and Birmingham took over.

Defensively, the Showboats were on point to start this game. Jordan Ferguson blew up Ricky Person Jr. in the backfield, which put the Stallions in a hole that they couldn’t climb out of.

The Memphis Showboats put together a fantastic drive on their second possession. Despite dealing with some offensive mistakes, Cookus bounced back, and found Sage Surratt on an absolute dart for a touchdown. The Showboats struck first, taking a 6-0 lead.

Heading into the next period, Birmingham was marching, courtesy of a dime from Adrian Martinez to Deon Cain.

Second Quarter

Martinez looked sharp on this second drive. He knew Memphis wanted him to beat them through the air, and that’s exactly what he did. Adrian drove the ball down the field efficiently, before Ricky Person Jr. ran it in from a few yards out. A successful two point conversion from Martinez to Jordan Thomas gave Birmingham an 8-6 lead.

The Stallions defense continued to up the intensity throughout this game, which wasn’t a surprise. Memphis got the ball to midfield, but stalled out and had to punt.

It was another easy possession for Birmingham. The Showboats defense continued to give up chunk yardage, which allowed Martinez to get whatever he wanted across the middle. Once Birmingham got into the red zone, they ran their classic “T-Bone” formation, which resulted in a touchdown pass from Martinez to C.J. Marable.

Jordan Thomas had a spectacular day, making a wild one handed catch on this drive. He also caught another two point conversion, to give Birmingham a 16-6 advantage.

Memphis put together a reasonably solid drive, getting more points up on the board. DB Mark Gilbert made an excellent PBU to keep the Showboats out of the end zone, and they settled for a 47 yard field goal from Matt Coghlin.

Birmingham caught a break towards the end of this half. They tried a fake punt which did not work – but on the very next play, Cookus fumbled the ball again, and Jordan Thompson recovered. It was Taco Charlton who generated the pressure.

The Stallions found payday this time around. Just a couple of plays later, Adrian Martinez dropped a dime to Marlon Williams, and Birmingham had a 22-9 lead heading into halftime.

Third Quarter

While the Birmingham Stallions received the opening kickoff of the second half, the offense surprisingly wasn’t in a rhythm after the score. The defensive line got to Martinez, and they had to punt. It wasn’t much better for Memphis, though, as Cookus was getting rocked every time he stepped back to pass, and the Showboats sent it back to the Stallions.

Adrian Martinez used his legs to get the team into field goal range. A couple of drops from his receivers didn’t help, but Ramiz Ahmed hit from 45 yards out to make it 25-9.

Memphis could not get out of their own way. Cookus missed on a couple of throws, and they had to punt it away. Adrian Martinez struck gold once again, dropping a dime deep to Kevin Austin – who took it to the house for 79 yards.

As we approached the end of the third quarter, Troy Williams entered the game at quarterback for Memphis. They trailed 31-9 with fifteen minutes left to play.

Fourth Quarter

Memphis was essentially waving the white flag in this quarter. They got into field goal range, and opted for the kick, even though the deficit would remain three scores. Coghlin hit again, and it was 31-12.

Martinez threw a perfect deep ball to Marcus Baugh, which put them in scoring position again. Ramiz Ahmed missed the field goal attempt, though, and it remained 31-12.

Things wouldn’t improve much for Memphis. Troy Williams was high on a throw, and was picked off by Kenny Robinson Jr., which effectively put an end to this one.

Marlon Williams had a big day, and recorded another touchdown. He caught a screen from Martinez, which he took down the sidelines for a diving score. Jordan Thomas snagged another two point try, and Birmingham went up 39-12.

Troy Williams put together what was a decent drive for Memphis, dropping a pass in the bucket to Dee Anderson for a score. He found Anderson again on a three point try, and the Showboats had a bit of life with time near expired.

The Showboats attempted a 4th and 12 onsides conversion, but the pass was incomplete to Wes Saxton. Birmingham took over, and that put an end to this one, as the Stallions rolled to their sixth win of the year.

Standout Playmakers

QB Adrian Martinez: Obviously, Martinez makes his way back onto this list. He was tremendous today. Memphis didn’t want him to beat them with his legs, so what did he do? Throw for 368 passing yards, and a UFL record four touchdowns. Adrian even had a couple of drops/miscues – his day could have been even better.

TE Jordan Thomas: Thomas was special today, converting three two point attempts for Birmingham. Not to mention, his one handed catch turned quite a few heads on social media. Thomas’ big frame makes him an unstoppable force, especially in the red zone.

WR Kevin Austin Jr.: After being quiet for most of the year, Austin burst onto the scene today. He caught four passes for 108 yards, including the 80 yard touchdown in the second half.

WR Marlon Williams: For those of us familiar with Marlon Williams’ story, it’s amazing to see him back on the field making an impact. Williams tore his ACL in the first game a year ago, but pushed through recovery making the 2024 roster, and today posted two TD’s and 58 receiving yards.

S Kenny Robinson Jr.: Kenny Robinson has been playing outstanding football this year, and got his first interception of the season today. He finished with four tackles, an INT, and a PBU in this one.

LB Kyahva Tezino: Tezino continues to step up for Birmingham, a team that is riddled with injuries at the linebacker position. He led the Stallions today with seven tackles.

Memphis Showboats

S T.J. Green: Green has been one of the few consistent players in Memphis. He posted seven tackles, a sack, and a PBU today against Birmingham.

WR Dee Anderson: Anderson has been inactive for large portions of this UFL season, but showed up late in this one. Hopefully we see him get more involved moving forward.

Key Factors

The Birmingham Stallions cannot be stopped. They put up 466 yards of offense, making Carnell Lake’s defense look silly throughout. Truthfully, Memphis has not played good defensive football since week one, which has been evident with the yardage and points they’ve allowed.

John DeFilippo’s Showboats are a shell of what we expected them to be this year. Case Cookus looks frazzled in the pocket, which isn’t entirely his fault given the offensive line issues this team has had. That said, he hasn’t helped himself out – as Cookus has tended to hold the ball too long. This was evident today, with two fumbles. When it comes to his decision making, it hasn’t been ideal.

Because the Showboats continue to put themselves in large deficits, they have to move away from the run, which hurts their offense. They can’t pass protect forever, and it’s something Memphis hasn’t been able to avoid this season.

Despite nearly equal time of possession, Birmingham put up double the points and yardage of Memphis. The Stallions averaged 7.8 yards per play – Memphis averaged just 4.1.

Final Thoughts

The Birmingham Stallions are the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the UFL this year. With a 6-0 record, they appear to be well on their way to another Championship run.

 

Week six of the UFL continues tomorrow, with the Michigan Panthers hosting the Arlington Renegades at 1pm ET on FOX.

What are your thoughts on this matchup between the Birmingham Stallions and Memphis Showboats? Which UFL players impressed? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!