San Antonio Brahmas Stun Memphis Showboats In Unreal UFL Comeback

San Antonio Brahmas Stun Showboats In Unreal UFL Comeback

Just like that, week two in the UFL has kicked off. The Memphis Showboats hosted the San Antonio Brahmas, in what was a battle between two undefeated teams.

For San Antonio, they took care of business against the DC Defenders – who were favorites to win that game – taking them down 27-12. A fresh Brahmas personnel group looked a lot different than last year, and the AJ Smith-Chase Garbers duo is already on pace to be elite in this league.

On the other side, the Memphis Showboats won their week one matchup against the Roughnecks. That said, it was an ugly affair, most notably in the second half. The Showboats have some things to clean up, especially within their offensive line.

With the Brahmas having an opportunity to be the first XFL team to beat a USFL team, let’s take a look at what happened today.

First Quarter

The Memphis Showboats opened up with the football first. RB Trey Williams had an excellent kick return, which put them inside San Antonio territory to start.

One of Memphis’ struggles was field position, especially on first down last week. During their first drive, Case Cookus methodically marched the team down the field. On 3rd down inside the ten yard line, he found his favorite target – Daewood Davis – for the touchdown. Cookus then ran it in himself for the one point conversion, and Memphis went up 7-0.

While Brycen Alleyne gave San Antonio a fantastic start with a big kick return, the Brahmas went three and out, and punted from inside Showboats territory.

Memphis originally got bailed out on their second possession by a DPI call on Bryce Thompson. San Antonio’s defense held strong, though, and some pressure from Jalen Dalton forced a punt from the Showboats.

Memphis’ defense came up big on the next drive. Maxi Roberts strip sacked Chase Garbers, and recovered it himself, setting up the Showboats nicely heading into the second period.

Second Quarter

Daewood Davis is a top receiver in this league, and continues to get better every week. He made a couple of big catches on this drive, and Darius Victor also knocked off a few solid runs. After getting inside the ten yard line, a couple of great defensive plays from Teez Tabor and AJ Hendy resulted in a 23 yard field goal from Matt Coghlin.

The Showboats defense continued to apply pressure. They were forcing San Antonio to throw checkdowns, and the secondary was flying around, ensuring the Brahmas could not convert. Brad Wing came out for another punt, and Memphis took over.

On 3rd and 1, Case Cookus ran it up the middle himself for a first down – but upon further review, he fumbled the football. Darius Phillips recovered for the Brahmas, and they regained possession with a massive turnover.

Carnell Lake’s defense played an outstanding first half. Maxi Roberts got to Chase Garbers again, forcing another punt.

After what looked like a promising drive for Memphis, a disastrous sack by Jordan Williams put them in a hole. Williams and Tavante Beckett combined for the next two tackles. Matt White punted it away, and the Brahmas had one last crack at it before the half.

Their sloppy play continued, though, and the Memphis Showboats got the ball back with less than a minute to go. Case Cookus used his legs to get the team in field goal range, and Matt Coghlin knocked through a kick to give Memphis a 13-0 halftime lead. 

Third Quarter

Marquez Stevenson got San Antonio off to a great start in the second half, with a 41 yard reception. However, the Brahmas still could not capitalize, ultimately stalling out. Jarey Elder made one heck of play on a deep ball to Kirklin, preventing what would have been a touchdown.

On their first drive of the third quarter, Cookus took off on a scamper, and got injured. This made backup QB Troy Williams come in for a play. The injuries continued, with TE Wes Saxton Jr. going down the very next play. Cookus came back in, but a sack from Wyatt Ray forced a punt.

San Antonio’s offense was stuck in a rut. It didn’t make much sense, given their success a week ago. Penalties, and poor execution left them empty handed, and they sent it back to Memphis.

The Showboats offensive line took some hits in the second half. Their penalties put Memphis in a 2nd and 26 situation – but, Jonathan Adams made a ridiculous catch deep down the field, on a prayer from Cookus.

San Antonio’s defense stood strong in the redzone, and Coghlin knocked through another chip shot. With fifteen minutes to play, the Brahmas were marching, looking alive for the first time all game.

Fourth Quarter

After three quarters of poor offensive play, Chase Garbers made things happen for San Antonio. He was productive through the air – and on the ground – eventually finding Marquez Stevenson for their first touchdown of the day. A successful two point attempt, courtesy of John Lovett, made it an eight point affair.

Memphis was able to take advantage of excellent field position, thanks to another great return from Trey Williams. A roughing the passer call allowed for the Showboats to keep moving, and Cookus found Jonathan Adams again on a deep ball to put them in the red zone.

Once again, though, Memphis couldn’t punch it in the endzone. Matt Coghlin hit another short field goal, and the Showboats went up 19-8.

San Antonio pushed the ball down the field quickly, as Garbers was in a groove in the fourth quarter. After getting down to near the 20 yard line, though, Chase threw an interception to Delrick Abrams Jr. on fourth and one.

Brahmas Comeback

As the game wound down, San Antonio had one more shot at it. This time, Garbers was able to put the Brahmas in the endzone. After a quick march down the field which involved a few different receivers, Chase found Jontre Kirklin for a touchdown, dropping a dime in the back of the endzone.

Some confusion led to a long delay before the XP attempt. Once that was sorted, San Antonio attempted a three point conversion, but Delrick Abrams broke it up.

This is where things got out of hand. In the UFL, you can attempt a 4th and 12 instead of an onsides kick, when trailing in the fourth. Garbers converted to Jontre Kirklin, just barely, and the Brahmas maintained possession.

Chase continued to push the ball deep into Memphis territory. With the Showboats giving their receivers some space to not get beat over the top, the Brahmas took advantage.

Then, with less than 10 seconds to go, Garbers scrambled and found Cody Latimer in the back of the endzone, completing the comeback with a couple of seconds left.

With one play left, Cookus was going to attempt a hail mary – but was stripped of the ball. This ended the game, and the San Antonio Brahmas pulled out a miraculous 20-19 win.

Standout Playmakers

QB Chase Garbers: I’ll be the first to say it – there were some rough moments for Garbers today. His decision making was questionable at times, and the overall chemistry didn’t seem to carry over from a week ago. Ultimately, that didn’t matter during the final three minutes. Garbers ended up throwing for almost 300 yards and three touchdowns. For those of us who watched the full game, it’s hard to believe that was his final stat-line.

WR Marquez Stevenson: Stevenson has proven to be a valuable weapon for A.J. Smith’s offense. Today, he posted 103 receiving yards and a touchdown, dicing up the secondary in crunch time. His speed and savviness makes him into an NFL-caliber prospect, especially if he keeps playing like this.

TE Cody Latimer: After a quiet start, Cody Latimer erupted in the second half. He finished with 91 yards on eight receptions, and made the biggest play of the day as Garbers found him for the walkoff touchdown. The veteran showed up in the most important moment, and we’d expect nothing less.

LB Jordan Williams: Williams was all over the place today. He posted eight tackles, a sack, and a TFL. The XFL’s leading tackler from a year ago continues to prove week in and week out why he’s a top defender in the spring football scene.

Safeties A.J. Hendy & Jordan Mosley: Mosley, who was with the Roughnecks a year ago, led the team with 10 tackles today. Hendy, the veteran, posted eight tackles and a PBU. Both were dynamic and did an excellent job in the red zone.

Memphis Showboats

QB Case Cookus: Cookus did what he could for Memphis today. Despite being banged up once again, Case totaled 194 passing yards, and added 58 on the ground. The Showboats lone touchdown of the day came from a Cookus dart to Daewood Davis.

WR Jonathan Adams: The former New Orleans Breaker put on a show in the second half, totaling three receptions for 76 yards – including the aforementioned grab on 2nd and 26. He’s been tremendous through two weeks so far.

DB T.J. Green: Green had an outstanding day in the secondary, with seven tackles and two TFL. While their unit crumbled down the stretch, for most of the outing they were fantastic, largely due to T.J.’s efforts.

DB Delrick Abrams Jr.: Abrams Jr. put Memphis in a position to close things out. He picked Garbers off with less than five minutes to go, and also prevented their three point attempt. Delrick finished with seven tackles, a TFL, an interception, and a PBU.

Key Factors

Well, I had to rewrite this entire section as I had it almost all typed out with two minutes left…so much for that. For the Memphis Showboats, talk about a coaching collapse. With full control and an 11 point lead, not to mention multiple penalties late from San Antonio, the Showboats still found a way to let the Brahmas back into it.

The biggest factor for Memphis: their red zone inefficiency. They kicked three field goals from within 25 yards out, and their fourth FG from 35 would have been a 25 yarder, had a penalty not been assessed prior to the kick.

You’d have to imagine that Coach DeFilippo is sick to his stomach over this loss. Memphis dominated 58 minutes, but let it all slip away in the final 120 seconds.

How about those San Antonio Brahmas? Just when you think you can count them out, they put together one of the craziest comebacks you’ll ever see. It’s a full circle moment for the fans, as they watched their Brahmas choke away a late lead to St. Louis last season.

A.J. Smith has some work to do, as his offense was unable to move the ball much at all against the zone throughout the first half. The adjustments he made in the final two quarters – alongside Memphis moving into more of a man set – allowed for the unthinkable to become reality. The resiliency of this group cannot be understated.

Final Thoughts

With a 2-0 record heading into week three, the Brahmas will have firm control of the XFL conference. Meanwhile, the Memphis Showboats let an opportunity slip, as they could have been the first USFL team with a 2-0 record.

Week two of the UFL continues tonight. The St. Louis Battlehawks make their 2024 home debut, against the Arlington Renegades at 8pm ET on ABC.

Did you enjoy watching this game between the San Antonio Brahmas and Memphis Showboats? Which UFL players stuck out to you? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!