San Antonio Brahmas 2024 UFL Season In Review | Wyatt Ray

San Antonio Brahmas 2024 UFL Season In Review

As the UFL season got underway, the San Antonio Brahmas were a team that most predicted would not make it very far in the XFL Conference. Despite an entirely new coaching staff – and a completely different set of faces on the roster, the hangover from Hines Ward’s 3-7 campaign was going to be a tough narrative to overcome.

However, the Brahmas ended up pulling off what many thought wasn’t possible: making it to the UFL Championship game. They had a tremendous season under the leadership of Wade Phillips, as San Antonio rolled to a 7-3 record, knocking off the Battlehawks in the XFL Conference Championship.

While it was an underwhelming end to what was a fantastic year, the San Antonio Brahmas have plenty to be proud of; and plenty to build upon heading towards 2025.

What isn’t talked about enough, is how Wade Phillips and General Manager Marc Lillibridge gutted this roster, retooling it with NFL-caliber talent that put them in a position to see the success they did. Let’s take a look at what 2024 looked like for San Antonio, as it was full of ups and downs.

Early Success With Chase Garbers

One of the major additions that was made during the offseason was the signing of QB Chase Garbers. He ended up beating out Quinten Dormady in Training Camp for the starting gig, which made sense after they won the first two games of the year. San Antonio made quick work of DC in week one – something that caught quite a few fans off guard. It quickly became evident that these were not the same Brahmas from the 2023 season.

Week two was an absolutely wild finish for the Brahmas. They played horrible football for three quarters, but managed to mount an improbable comeback in Memphis, scoring 20 points in the final 10 minutes to take down the Showboats. With a 2-0 record and momentum, it felt like the Brahmas were on the cusp of something greater than anticipated to begin the year.

However, week three would completely shake up the entire season. In a loss to the St. Louis Battlehawks, Garbers suffered a wrist injury on a late hit. He finished playing the game; but that week, was placed on IR – and was expected to miss the rest of the year.

Quinten Dormady’s Inconsistencies

Quinten Dormady, the former Orlando Guardian, took over in week four. He got off to a solid start, leading the Brahmas to the win over Michigan. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but Quinten fit smoothly into A.J. Smith’s offense, and showcased his big arm on a couple of deep balls that allowed San Antonio to pull ahead.

That said, Quinten did not live up to expectations throughout the year; even with the Brahmas winning football games. Dormady turned the ball over nine times in just six games of action. His inability to protect the football made their defense have to step up time and time again – and luckily for San Antonio, they did.

Dormady actually got benched in week seven against Houston, and Kevin Hogan ended up leading the Brahmas to victory in that game.

Now, Quinten didn’t have a terrible season by any means. He was responsible for leading this San Antonio team to a few crucial wins that pushed them into the playoffs. It was clear, though, that the offense was not the same unit without Chase Garbers involved.

The Return Of Garbers

Chase Garbers was impressively able to return to the lineup in week nine, taking over for Dormady, who got injured in the game against Birmingham. Garbers had an efficient day, as the Brahmas were the first team to take down the Stallions in 2024.

In week ten, Chase re-injured his wrist; leading to Dormady being put back into action. Quinten actually played the best game of the year, putting San Antonio in a position to take the lead in St. Louis not once, but twice. Unfortunately, a penalty and then a missed field goal resulted in the Battlehawks taking that week ten matchup to claim home field advantage.

It wouldn’t matter too much though, as San Antonio went into St. Louis just one week later and took down the mighty Battlehawks on the road. Garbers looked fantastic, throwing for 179 yards and two touchdowns as the Brahmas won by 10 points.

With a Championship berth clinched, the Brahmas were feeling pretty good about their odds: looking to take down the Birmingham Stallions for the second time this season.

UFL Championship Collapse

Disappointingly, San Antonio would drop an absolute dud in the Championship. Their offense looked the worst it did all season long, with Chase Garbers making poor decisions throughout the entire affair. On multiple occasions he gave himself up early, which was strange behavior given the magnitude of the game. Those sorts of plays set the tone for how the evening would go.

The Brahmas failed to score a single point against the Stallions in the Championship, averaging just 3.9 yards per play. The explosives we saw all year long from this talented offense under A.J. Smith were nonexistent.

Defensively, San Antonio played a decent game, but simply couldn’t hold up long enough with zero production from the offense. After what had been a historic season in many ways; to come up short in the final game the way that the Brahmas did was confusing. They played the worst game of the year at the worst possible time.

Defensive Success

Speaking of the defense, the name of the game for the Brahmas this entire year was what they were able to do on that side of the football. Under first year DC Will Reed, the San Antonio Brahmas led the UFL in multiple defensive categories, flexing their muscles week in and week out.

The Brahmas finished the regular season with the following statistics:

  • 256.7 yards per game (1st)
  • 15.3 points per game (1st)
  • 885 rushing yards allowed (3rd)
  • 1,682 passing yards allowed (1st)
  • Touchdowns Allowed: 9 Passing (1st), 3 Rushing (1st)
  • 31.9% Third Down Conversion rate for opponents (1st)

Surprisingly, the Brahmas only “struggle” on defense was their inability to generate takeaways, as they had just 10 this year – last in the UFL. To an extent, though, that makes the aforementioned statistics even more impressive.

What allowed this defense to see so much success were the pieces and depth acquired in the offseason. At every single position, the Brahmas had starting-caliber players coming off the bench. This allowed for this unit to continue to play at a high level, even with all of the injuries they faced in 2024.

San Antonio put together two incredible defensive performances in back to back games against St. Louis. While they lost in week ten, the defense did everything they possibly could to win that game – holding the Battlehawks to just 2-12 on third downs, while generating pressure on A.J. McCarron all day long. They gave up just 12 points in that game.

Then, they proceeded to mop the floor in the playoffs. St. Louis looked completely out of sorts offensively, unable to convert on a third down play until the final drive in garbage time. The Battlehawks only scored nine points offensively, with just 239 yards of offense. One of the UFL’s most potent offenses – who averaged 26 points per game in the regular season, scored just 21 points in two games against Will Reed’s squad. The definition of dominance.

The Injury Bug

Something that was an issue all year long for San Antonio: injuries. On both sides of the football, they dealt with a plethora of players who either missed time, or had their seasons cut short entirely because of an injury. This list includes:

QB Chase Garbers
RB Anthony McFarland
RB John Lovett
TE Cody Latimer
OL Greg Eiland
OL Derrick Kelly Jr.
C Alex Mollette
DT Jalen Dalton
DT Taron Vincent
DL Caeveon Patton
LB Nate Wieland
LB Zach McCloud
DB Darius Phillips
K Donald De La Haye

This doesn’t include every athlete who may have missed a week or two – but the picture is clear: San Antonio had a slew of injuries this year. Regardless, they still found ways to win football games. Part of this is because of their General Manager, Marc Lillibridge, who continued to bring quality talent to the organization as these injuries built up.

To win eight games, despite losing so many pieces for large chunks of the year, is not easily accomplished. This speaks to the outstanding staff that Wade Phillips put together in San Antonio this year – one of the best we’ve seen in the modern spring football era.

The Deestroying Saga

A storyline that was quite fascinating this year, was the signing of Kicker Donald De La Haye Jr. – aka “Deestroying”. The famous Youtuber managed to make the roster, but was injured in week two, and couldn’t return this year. It’s unfortunate, because he was the top kickoff specialist through those games; and was an excellent source of publicity for the UFL.

This led to Ryan Santoso taking over. He made an impact with a couple of clutch field goals this year; but also missed six attempts in 2024 – including the potential game winner against St. Louis. The star of the Special Teams unit was punter Brad Wing, who was statistically one of the top punters in the UFL just one year after doing the same in the XFL.

Standout Talent

QB Chase Garbers: Garbers played in just five games in the regular season, but threw for 795 yards and six touchdowns, to just one interception. He was one of the most efficient passers this year, completing 68.6% of his pass attempts. Being a part of A.J. Smith’s offense helped quite a bit, as he fit the schemes perfectly.

RB John Lovett: Lovett was an absolute machine this season, rushing for 422 yards and five touchdowns – averaging 4.1 YPC. He was in the MVP conversation for a while this year, and for good reason. With all of the injuries offensively, Lovett was one of the core pieces that allowed this team to continue to win football games.

RB Anthony McFarland Jr.: Despite missing half the season, McFarland was nothing but a difference maker when he was on the football field. He was elite coming out of the backfield, with 15 receptions for 206 yards and three scores. He also notched 192 rushing yards and a score on the ground. His 69 yard scamper in the playoffs allowed the Brahmas to pull away entirely from St. Louis.

WR Jontre Kirklin: Jontre was on another level this season in the UFL, being the go-to guy for Garbers and Dormady all year. He finished with 614 receiving yards (2nd), and three touchdowns. On top of that, he also threw for a touchdown this year. Kirklin led the league in targets (87), and should receive some NFL interest following a dominant campaign.

TE Cody Latimer: Prior to a season-ending injury in week nine, Latimer was one of the most productive players in the UFL. He had 391 receiving yards and a touchdown this season, and had a couple of big performances down the stretch of the year before he got knocked out for the year.

Defense

DE Wyatt Ray: Wyatt Ray had an outstanding campaign for his first season in spring football. This defensive line was full of depth, and Ray took advantage of all of his opportunities. He led the Brahmas with 5.5 sacks in 2024, finishing with 24 total tackles and six TFL’s. Ray recently had a workout with the Dallas Cowboys.

LB Tavante Beckett: Beckett joined San Antonio this offseason after spending last year with Houston. He is one of the smartest linebackers in the league, serving as a leader for Will Reed’s defense. Beckett had 72 tackles (3rd), 9 TFL’s (T-2nd), 1.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in 2024. His 77.3 Defensive Grade via PFF was one of the best in the UFL for linebackers.

DB Darius Phillips: Phillips was arguably the top cornerback in the UFL this year, and it’s unbelievable that he wasn’t nominated to the All-UFL list. He allowed just a 45.2% completion percentage when targeted this year, while having an outstanding 91.6 Defensive Grade according to PFF. Phillips, when healthy, took all of the toughest assignments for San Antonio – and excelled.

S Jordan Mosley: Mosley is another defender who had a tremendous season. He was second in the UFL with 75 tackles, and filled the stat sheets with two TFL’s, 0.5 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.

There are so many players defensively who deserve recognition. DE Delontae Scott, LB Jordan Williams, DT Prince Emili, DE Garrett Nelson, DB Teez Tabor – the list just goes on and on.

Final Thoughts

The San Antonio Brahmas put together an incredible run in the UFL, but fell just short of the ultimate goal of a Championship victory. The organization as a whole took a major step in the right direction this year. This Brahmas team wasn’t even remotely close to what it was in 2023, in a positive way.

For Wade Phillips, Marc Lillibridge, and the rest of the staff – the focus now shifts to tweaking the roster this offseason. They’ll likely lose some pieces to the NFL; and already have seen OG Kohl Levao and DT Prince Emili sign NFL Contracts.

Before the season began, all of the sportsbooks said that San Antonio had the least likely chance of making it to the Championship game. They proved everyone wrong, and will look to do the same in 2025.

One final note: in week one, we saw one of the wildest plays of all time. Brad Wing attempted a fake punt, somehow managing to throw a touchdown to the center, Alex Mollette. One of the reasons why we love spring football is the innovation and creativity we see week in and week out. Trick plays were a big part of what San Antonio produced in 2024, which isn’t surprising with A.J. Smith and Payton Pardee on this coaching staff.

What are your thoughts on this San Antonio Brahmas 2024 UFL season? Which players impressed you? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

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