San Antonio Brahmas End Birmingham Stallions 15 Game Win Streak

San Antonio Brahmas End Stallions 15 Game Win Streak

Week nine of the UFL continued today, with what was an intriguing matchup between two of the league’s best. The San Antonio Brahmas took on the undefeated Birmingham Stallions at the AlamoDome, for the first meeting between these two teams in franchise history.

Heading into this affair, the San Antonio Brahmas had just clinched a playoff spot last week. They’ve been dealing with quite a few injuries this season, but are 6-2 and looking to lock up home field advantage for the XFL Conference Championship.

Meanwhile, the Stallions continue to roll through their opponents. It’s been another familiar tale this season in the UFL: Skip Holtz simply doesn’t lose. The Brahmas are confident they can take them down, though, as Wade Phillips believes his team is capable of competing.

Let’s take a look at what went down today in San Antonio.

First Quarter

The San Antonio Brahmas received the football first. Phillips opted to go with Quinten Dormady this week, despite Garbers being back on the roster.

Their first drive looked fantastic. Anthony McFarland and Morgan Ellison got to work right away, putting the Brahmas in a position to score. However, DeMarquis Gates came off the edge unblocked, forcing a fumble on Dormady. Taco Charlton recovered, and the Stallions took over.

Birmingham wasn’t able to get off to a fast start offensively, which is a first. A couple of dropped passes put them in a hole, and a sack from Zach Morton led to a punt from Colby Wadman.

This led to some trickery for the Brahmas. Offensive Coordinator A.J. Smith loves the double forward pass. We saw him do it a year ago with Houston – and he pulled it off once again. Jontre Kirklin caught a pass behind the line of scrimmage, and unloaded it to Justin Smith for the touchdown.

The Stallions continued to falter offensively. On third and short, their vaunted “T-Formation” did not work out for the first time this year, as Jordan Mosley tackled Ricky Person behind the line to gain. Birmingham punted again, and San Antonio had life with one quarter down.

Second Quarter

Birmingham’s defense stepped up. Chase Garbers came into the game, playing his first snaps since going down with injury in week three. It wasn’t a smooth drive for Chase, throwing into triple coverage on third down – with it nearly being intercepted. San Antonio punted, and Amari Rodgers gave Birmingham solid field position.

The Stallions utilized the legs of Adrian Martinez to get into scoring position, which wasn’t a surprise. San Antonio’s defense held up, and Ramiz Ahmed kicked a 34 yard field goal to make it 6-3.

San Antonio controlled the tempo in this first half. Garbers came back out and looked much more poised this time around, and a big completion to Kirklin set them up in scoring position. Morgan Ellison ran it in from a yard out, diving over the pile to make it a 12-3 game.

Adrian Martinez struggled throwing the football early on, due to the excellent defensive play of Will Reed’s defense. Darrius Phillips, who was in his first game back from injury, made a key PBU on a pass intended for Deon Cain, resulting in an incompletion. Colby Wadman’s punt was spectacular, though, and San Antonio was buried inside their own five.

The Brahmas put together an impressive drive as the half came to a close. They dinked and dunked their way into Birmingham territory, helped out by another big completion to Kirklin. However, Ryan Santoso missed a 53 yard field goal off the upright, and it remained 12-3 at halftime.

Third Quarter

Birmingham got off to a much better start in this second half. Gary Jenning set them up with excellent field position on the return to the 45 yard line. Then, Adrian Martinez threw a no-look pass to Jace Sternberger, putting them inside the Brahmas’ 10.

Birmingham kept their foot on the gas pedal. Sternberger was huge on this drive, catching a touchdown on a dime from Martinez. Just like that, it was 12-9.

The Stallions stepped up defensively as well. Carlos Davis got a sack for the first time since week three, which led to a punt from Brad Wing and the Brahmas.

San Antonio held strong. After a couple of impressive plays from Martinez and Marlon Williams, the Stallions stalled out, having to punt. However, Jontre Kirklin dropped a pass on third down, and the Brahmas had to send it right back.

This Brahmas defense played some incredible football today. Delontae Scott sacked Martinez, which led to another punt for Birmingham. With fifteen minutes left to play, San Antonio had a three point lead, with momentum – and possession.

Fourth Quarter

The Brahmas put together an excellent drive, but shot themselves in the foot in the red zone. A touchdown to Anthony McFarland was called back, due to an illegal pick play set by Jontre Kirklin. This is the second time this happened to Jontre in two weeks.

That said, on 3rd and 25, Kenny Robinson got called for unnecessary roughness, which put San Antonio right back in business. This resulted in a touchdown run from Morgan Ellison, and the Brahmas took a 18-9 lead.

San Antonio continued to up the pressure defensively. Jaylen Twyman – the former Stallion – got home to Martinez, which made Birmingham have to punt yet again.

The defense for the Stallions held up well. San Antonio hurt themselves with a couple of penalties, and they had to send it away.

This game would come down to the wire, as expected. Birmingham pushed the ball down the field, as Martinez found Jace Sternberger for a couple of big plays. On a deep ball, though, Adrian was picked off by Teez Tabor, who put the game on ice for San Antonio.

For the first time all year, the Birmingham Stallions lost, with the San Antonio Brahmas taking them down 18-9 at home.

Standout Playmakers

QB Chase Garbers: In his first action in six weeks, Chase Garbers looked fluid out there for San Antonio. The stats won’t “wow” anyone, but he was efficient, and did what needed to be done in order for the Brahmas to win.

RB’s Anthony McFarland & Morgan Ellison: Both backs were tremendous today. McFarland posted 82 rushing yards, averaging 5.5 YPC. Ellison had two rushing touchdowns, which were the difference maker in this one.

WR Jontre Kirklin: Kirklin did a bit of everything today. He caught four passes for 66 yards – and threw an early touchdown that sparked this team to the win. Jontre continues to prove why he’s one of the top players in the UFL, week in and week out.

DB Darrius Phillips: Phillips left his imprint on this outing, playing his first minutes in a few weeks. Darrius had three tackles and two PBU’s – locking down the secondary all afternoon.

S Jordan Mosley: Mosley had another impressive outing, which is commonplace at this point. He led San Antonio with eight tackles, and had a TFL as well.

Birmingham Stallions

TE Jace Sternberger: Jace Sternberger had a huge day for Birmingham, and was the only player to show up consistently on offense for Birmingham. He caught seven passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, averaging 15.7 YPR.

LB DeMarquis Gates: Gates was effective today, after a bit of a rocky start. He forced a fumble on Dormady early, which shut down a scoring drive for San Antonio. Gates had nine tackles, a TFL, a forced fumble, and a sack against the Brahmas.

Post-Game Comments

Brahmas HC Wade Phillips talked to the media about this victory, and how important it is for San Antonio moving forward:

“What a win. Credit to Birmingham, you know, not losing a game for two years. What an accomplishment that’s been. But our team stepped up. Thought we played well on all sides of the football. Brad Wing hit a 64 yard punt at the end of the game that was a game winner essentially. Our defense came up with an INT. Our offense played well, and we out-rushed a team that was leading the UFL in rushing. We kept them away from success on offense. Third downs were key – we made a lot of third downs, they didn’t. We wanted to keep Martinez from making plays as a scrambler. Outstanding win, credit to the coaches and players for getting prepared to play a team that is an outstanding team. The home crowd certainly helped us.”

Chase Garbers commented on how great it felt to be back on the field, and how he felt in his first action in six weeks:

“It was great to be back out there as a competitor. Being away from the guys was difficult, but I know that rehab was on me, and I took it as seriously as possible. Really excited to be out here again. I think I played well enough to win, but with everything, you want to clean some things up. There’s reads you’ll always want back. We need to be more effective on conversions. Overall, our offense played well, but we have things to clean up.”

Stallions HC Skip Holtz spoke about the loss post-game, and what his takeaways were:

“In this football game today, I want to give a lot of credit to San Antonio and Coach Phillips. I thought they played a heck of a game, and offensively it was as clean as they played all year. They didn’t turn the ball over and didn’t put the ball in harm’s way. Give them credit for what they did. They’re a really good football team. I don’t feel like we put our best foot forward today. We had three drops in the first quarter. With their defensive line, they kept Adrian back there in the pocket. I think if nothing, we have to get better, the effort we put out today wasn’t good enough to win. This is a great wakeup call for us.”

Final Thoughts

We need to have a conversation about the Brahmas’ Defensive Coordinator, Will Reed. He has done an outstanding job this year, despite so many injuries to his unit. They held Birmingham to just 278 yards, and nine points today – well below their season averages.

Martinez just couldn’t get it going all game long, which led to inefficiency on third down (3-10). Reed had Birmingham’s offense guessing throughout the afternoon, and San Antonio took advantage with a massive victory at home.

The Birmingham Stallions have some things to sort through. They had a couple of horrible penalties in this game, which were self inflicted wounds – very uncharacteristic of the team. That said, even the best of teams have off days, and that felt like what happened to Birmingham today.

Week nine of the UFL continues tomorrow, with a double header on FOX at 2:30pm ET:

Memphis Showboats vs. DC Defenders
Houston Roughnecks vs. Michigan Panthers

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

Fubo