San Antonio Commanders prepare for Birmingham Iron

The San Antonio Commanders travel to the Birmingham Iron in the fourth week of the inaugural Alliance of American Football season on Sunday. The game starts at 3 p.m. This is the first matchup between the two teams. San Antonio will look to snap Birmingham’s three-game win streak and get back on track after losing two straight.

KEY STORYLINES

HEAD COACHES: San Antonio’s Mike Riley and Birmingham’s Tim Lewis have never faced off as head coaches as this is Lewis’ first year as a head coach at any level.

GETTING BACK ON TRACK: After defeating the Fleet in week one, the Commanders have lost their last two games. They will look to right the ship in Birmingham and improve to 2-2 as the midpoint of the season quickly approaches.

BALANCED OFFENSE: San Antonio has offensive weapons all across the field, and they will all be needed on Sunday. The Commanders have the second-best rushing attack in the Alliance, averaging 149.0 yards per game, while the passing attack ranks third at 202.0 yards per outing. When the Commanders face the Alliance’s best defense in Birmingham, a balanced attack will be a prerequisite for success.

SLOWING RICHARDSON: Birmingham running back Trent Richardson is a former top three NFL draft pick. Richardson leads the Alliance in rushing TDs with six, including three scores last week. The San Antonio defense will be tasked with slowing down the high-powered attack.

THE LONG ROAD: After starting its season with two home games, the Commanders traveled west last weekend to San Diego for its first road game. Sunday’s game vs. Birmingham will mark the second of a four-game road trip.

TAKING COMMAND UP FRONT

• San Antonio’s Alliance-leading 13 sacks are three more than any other team in the Alliance through three weeks. The Commanders’ six sacks against San Diego in week one is an Alliance record. SA followed its week one performance with four against Orlando in week two and three at San Diego in week three.

WINNING THIRD DOWN

• The Commanders are one of the most efficient third down teams on both sides of the ball in The Alliance. But Sunday will pit the two best third down teams in the Alliance against each other.

• The Commanders’ offense has converted 22 of its 49 attempts on third down, good for an Alliance-best 44.9 percent. The defense has been just as strong, allowing opponents to convert just 10-of-29 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.

RUNNING BY COMMITTEE

• San Antonio’s 447 rushing yards through three weeks marks the second-best ground attack in the Alliance. But what makes the Commanders’ rushing attack so difficult to stop is its versatility and how fresh the running backs are kept.

• Through three weeks, the ball has been carried by eight different players a total of 93 times.

• Thirty-six of those carries have gone to former Houston standout Kenneth Farrow II. Farrow II’s two TDs are tied for third most in the Alliance.

• Rotating in at running back for the Commanders are David Cobb, Trey Williams and Aaron Green, who have combined for 38 carries through three weeks. Each offer a different skill set than Farrow II as Cobb is a traditional power back, while Williams and Green are shifty runners that can make men miss in open space.

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