AAF Week 8 scores, highlights, updates: Rashad Ross scores long TD for Hotshots; Iron earn playoff berth – CBS Sports

AAF Week 8 scores, highlights, updates: Rashad Ross scores long TD for Hotshots; Iron earn playoff berth - CBS Sports
Sunday AAF open thread: Birmingham Iron vs. Atlanta Legends
Saturdays action in the AAF had a little bit of everything. Orlando-Memphis went down to the final minute and the Apollos needed to stave off an upset bid to get their seventh win of the year. That was followed by San Diego-Salt Lake, an ugly game that had a combined six turnovers and 11 points. 

Sundays schedule has two important games in the playoff race. The Birmingham Iron secured the second playoff spot in the East with a win over the Atlanta Legends. The night cap between the Arizona Hotshots and San Antonio Commanders is between the top two teams in the West jockeying for position in the playoff race. 

I was honestly just trying to manage the game at that point, Price said. We were able to do that as a team. Its huge. Were not satisfied and, obviously, we have to make it through these next two weeks, and were going into the playoffs playing our best football. We have not yet put together a complete game, and I think thats what were striving for is for our offense, defense and special teams to all be playing at a high level going into the playoffs.

CBS Sports will be with you all day, so be sure to check back often for the latest scores, highlights and updates from Sundays games. 

Atlanta threatened late in the third quarter, but a goal-line stand by Birmingham gave the ball back to the Iron. Price replaced Perez on the ensuing drive as Richardson carried the ball five straight times for 33 yards to begin the drive before Price completed his first pass for 24 yards to Wes Saxton Jr. down to the Atlanta 42-yard line. The Iron drive stalled at the Atlanta 10-yard line but Novak extended the lead to 17-9 on a 28-yard field goal with 10:14 to go.

To say that nothing has worked for San Antonio offensively would be putting it lightly. The Commanders dearly miss deep threat wideout Mekale McKay, who is inactive with a high ankle sprain, and this team hasnt done much without him. To provide a spark on offense, coach Mike Riley swapped out Logan Woodside (4-of-9 with an interception) for Marquise Williams. The former North Carolina quarterback led the Commanders on their best drive of the first half, resulting in a long Nick Rose Field goal. Down 15-3, the Commanders need major halftime adjustments on both sides of the ball. 

Birmingham began the game with the ball but two sacks of Perez ended the first two drives as the Legends took a 3-0 lead with 1:39 left in the first quarter on a 33-yard field goal from Younghoe Koo. A second three-and-out threatened to suck all of the momentum from the Iron, but a roughing the kicker call gave new life that resulted in Novaks first field goal of the day, a 35-yard kick to tie the game at 3-all with 14:51 to go in the first half.

Orlando quarterback Garrett Gilbert is the frontrunner to be the Offensive Player of the Year, but Ross is right there, too. No other AAF wideout has consistently stretched the field like he has. That speed from the Hotshots star was on display in the first quarter of Sundays game against the Commanders as Ross ran right by the entire San Antonio defense for a 58-yard score to put Arizona up 6-0. Ross has been banged up in recent weeks, too, but hes a gamer — or, as an Arizona coach once texted, a “beast.” 

We pride ourselves on creating turnovers, Lewis said. We took the ball away and, in the stretch of games where we lost two in a row, we didnt turn the ball and take the ball away. We think its very important and, of course, the turnover battle is very important to us. If you can get the ball from the other team and steal possession for your offense and keep them from having it, its really important that we do that.

John Wolford launches one to @RocketRoss_19, 58 yards for the score! 🔥@aafhotshots | #AZvsSA pic.twitter.com/uo5Y8Iiid7

Birmingham was outgained by Atlanta, 266-176, but tallied four sacks while holding the Legends to 3-of-13 on third downs and forcing four turnovers. Matt Simms started the game for the Legends, going 13-of-22 for 135 yards and an interception. He was replaced by former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who finished 6-of-13 for 100 yards and an interception while leading Atlanta on its only scoring drive of the second half.

The Birmingham Iron are going to the playoffs, and in typical fashion, they didnt need much offense to do it. The Iron got a fumble recovery and an interception in the fourth quarter, the latter coming after punter Colton Schmidt pinned Atlanta inside its own 5-yard line, and defeated the Atlanta Legends, 17-9. The win locked up the No. 2 seed in the East for the Iron, after the Orlando Apollos locked up the No. 1 seed on Saturday. Birminghams defense has been making plays like this all season.

Our defense did a fantastic job today, Lewis said. Coach (Rick) Minter and our defensive coaches, they do a fantastic job of getting those guys ready to play. Putting in blitzes, zones, coverages, fronts and so forth just to stop what the opponent does and, week-by-week, coach Minter is very creative in what he does, and hes not afraid to do different things.

BOOM! 💥@aafiron defense forces fumble late in the 4th quarter. #ATLvsBHM pic.twitter.com/nzKlB6ll8R

Quarterback Luis Perez was hounded constantly, finishing 10-of-24 for 65 yards while being sacked three times for a loss of 25 yards. He was replaced late in the third quarter by Keith Price, who finished 2-of-2 for 31 yards. Richardson had his best performance of the season with 83 yards on 18 carries and scored the go-ahead touchdown midway through the second quarter.

Aaron Murray has relieved Matt Simms at quarterback for Atlanta in the third quarter, and it looked as though he would get them in the end zone on his first drive. However, Birminghams defense seldom breaks near the goal line, and it stood tall again. On 4th-and-goal from the 3, Murray tried to run it in but came up a yard short.

The Iron havent done much on offense, but it hasnt mattered: Birminghams special teams are on fire. After setting up a touchdown with a fumble recovery in the second quarter, the Irons DeVozea Felton returned a punt 49 yards to the Atlanta 19 in the third. The Iron settled for a 37-yard field goal from Nick Novak.

Atlanta soon answered with a field goal of its own. The Legends, as usual, are staying in the game thanks to their perfect kicker. Younghoe Koo made his third field goal of the game in the third quarter, and is now a perfect 14 of 14 this season.

The Legends (2-5) are not a good team but should not be overlooked. Unlike the first time these two teams met, the Iron will face former UGA QB Aaron Murray as opposed to Tennessee grad Matt Simms. On the bright side for ATL, Murray is 97 of 146 (66.4%) with 3 TDs passes. However, he has also thrown 6 INTs.

All the Iron and Legends could muster offensively was one field goal apiece until about eight minutes before halftime, but thats when the Iron finally broke through. It started with the Legends fumbling on a punt return — it was their third fumble on a punt in the first half, but they recovered the other two — after Birminghams Ike Spearman punched it out of the arms of Dwayne Hollis, and it was returned to the Atlanta 1. Thats where Trent Richardson did what Trent Richardson does, punching it in for his AAF-leading 11th touchdown.

Birmingham is shorthanded during todays game vs. Atlanta, but namely it will be without arguably its best player: cornerback Jamar Summers. The AAFs Defensive Player of the Year candidate suffered a knee injury in the Week 7 loss to Memphis and did not practice this week. He is on the Irons inactives list, along with running back Brandon Ross. The Irons pass defense suffered without Summers on the field a week ago and could be in jeopardy of giving up more big plays through the air today. 

Atlanta has used a slew of running backs with none of them really clicking with the offense. They have only two rushing scores on the season. Tarean Folston, formerly of Notre Dame, has gotten the most carries: 46-206, 1 TD.

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,… Full Bio

Share Share Sunday AAF open thread: Birmingham Iron vs. Atlanta Legends tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Welcome, Raider Nation, to the second day of AAFs Week 8! There are two more games today, and the first has the Birmingham Iron traveling to Atlanta to take on the Legends. The Iron are 4-3 while the Legends are 2-5, and the Iron have command of the second playoff spot in the East.

On offense for the Iron, quarterback Luis Perez has been an interception machine of late with five picks over the last two games, while Trent Richardson is their do-everything back. Hes scored 11 of the teams 16 touchdowns this year, and 10 of those have come on the ground, usually in short yardage.

For Atlanta, QB Aaron Murray is having a terrific year as he approaches 1,000 passing yards. Running back Taurean Folston has carried the load on offense for the Legends and is averaging 4.5 YPC.

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