The San Antonio Commanders travel to the San Diego Fleet in the third week of the inaugural Alliance of American Football season on Sunday at 7 p.m. For the second time in Alliance history, two teams will square off for the second time. In the first game between the Commanders and Fleet, San Antonio won 15-6 at home in week one. Both teams will look to improve to 2-1 on the season.
HEAD COACHES: San Antonio’s Mike Riley and San Diego’s Mike Martz will face off for the second time this season. Prior to 2019, the two head coaches last met on Oct. 1, 2001 with Riley coaching the San Diego Chargers and Martz the St. Louis Rams. The Rams prevailed 57-31 that day in St. Louis. Quarterbacking the teams in the meeting were current University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh (Chargers) and NFL Hall of Fame inductee Kurt Warner (Rams).
RUN IT BACK: The Commanders and Fleet are facing off for the second time this season. The Western Conference foes faced off in San Antonio on February 9 in the Alliance’s inaugural weekend with the Commanders winning 15-6. Sweeping the season series is never easy but having to do it in a three-week span adds to the difficulty level.
AREA 51: After struggling against Orlando in week 2, the San Antonio secondary, dubbed “Area 51”, will look to bounce back against San Diego. In the week one contest the Commanders intercepted the Fleet three times and held San Diego to 196 yards through the air.
GARDNER VS. EVERYONE: San Diego running back Ja’Quan Gardner exploded on to the scene with an Alliance-high 104 yards and two TDs in the Fleet’s week two win. The Commanders will need to slow him down to have success defensively on Sunday. San Antonio held Gardner to 55 yards on eight carries in the week one victory.
WELCOME TO THE ROAD: After spending training camp and the first two games in two games in their home city, the San Antonio Commanders will play each of their next four games away from the Alamo City. The road swing, which was necessitated by the Alamodome being booked before the team was founded, starts in San Diego (Feb. 24), followed by trips to Birmingham (March 3), Arizona (March 10) and Atlanta (March 17).
KEYS TO SUCCESS:
Taking Command up front
• San Antonio’s defense is allowing the fewest rushing yards in the Alliance, surrendering 82.5 rushing yards per contest. The total is more than 15 yards better than Salt Lake, which ranks second.
• San Antonio’s Alliance-leading 10 sacks are four more than any other team in the Alliance through two weeks. The Commanders’ six sacks against San Diego in week one is an Alliance record.
Winning Third down
• The Commanders are one of the most efficient third down teams on both sides of the ball in The Alliance.
• The Commanders’ offense has converted 21 of its 37 attempts on third down, good for a staggering 56.7 percent. The next best mark in the Alliance is Birmingham’s 43.7 percent (14-32).
• The defense has been just as strong, allowing opponents to convert just five of 20 third downs. The only mark better than the Commanders’ third down defense has been Birmingham who has held its opponents to a 21.3 percent conversion rate.
Photo: Edward A. Ornelas/AAF/Getty Images