Atlanta has seen its fair share of iconic duos: Braves’ pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, the Coke museum and Georiga Aquarium, and Dominique Wilkins and Kevin Willis for the Hawks. However, Atlanta’s most iconic duo has to be no other than André Benjamin (André 3000) and Antwan Patton (Big Boi). The two Atlanta MC’s, Dré and Big Boi, comprise the rap group OutKast. Fans and critics alike view OutKast as one of the most successful and influential groups in genre history. The group reenergized “southern-hip hop” and amassed numerous accolades, including 6 Grammys and 25 million records sold.
So we can recognize Atlanta as a city of dynamic duos. Sunday’s 23-20 over the Memphis Express provided a glimpse into the Atlanta Legends’ potential going forward. Let’s take a look into some of the -legendary duos- from Sunday’s game in the Week 5 edition “the Good, the Bad, and the (clever phrase).” I hope everyone is, at least, half as excited as I am for this week’s OutKast theme, but “It’s just my interpretation, of the situation.”
- Legends beat the Express 23 to 20 on a last-second field goal
- Murray’s efficiency continued under Coach Zampese’s offensive scheme
- Atlanta’s secondary held QB, Zach Mettenberger, to 9 of 17 passing
- Legends’ defense recorded 13 QB hits
- Failed to establish consistency in the run game
- Penalties were an issue
- Legends’ defense had trouble stopping big plays
- OutKast songs to describe Legends’ players and coaches
— Atlanta Legends (@AafLegends) March 11, 2019
Aaron Murray and Coach Zampese
“The Cadillac of Offenses”
It is only fitting that the Legends’ quarterback and offensive coordinator are a duo. They both made their debuts in week four, but this was the first week we were able to witness what a Zampese scheme built around the former UGA quarterback would look like. The duo did not disappoint. Murray was placed in situations that catered to his strengths; the deep ball out of the pocket, rolling out from the play-action, and a check down option on first down. Murray ended up completing 27 of 43 attempts for 306 yards with 1 touchdown.
The Legends as a team netted 410 total yards while once again dominating in time of possession, 38:17 minutes to Memphis’s 21:23. Another benchmark of success in Zampese’s scheme has been third down efficiency. This week Atlanta converted on 56% of their third down attempts (10-18). The Legends’ new OC has looked like an OG the past two weeks (ya, I know you liked what I did there).
— Atlanta Legends (@AafLegends) March 10, 2019
QB Hits and a Lockdown Secondary
“Smelling sweeter than a plate of yams with extra syrup.”
The Legends were without star safety, Ed Reynolds, Jr. for week five; however, that didn’t halt the unit’s destructive presence. The front seven generated a season-high 13 hits on the quarterback. The effort was captained by LB Dylan Donahue. The linebacker tallied 1.5 sacks off of 3 QB hits in addition to a fumble recovery. Khalil Bass, J.T. Jones, and T.J. Sprinkle all recorded multiple hits on Zach Mettenberger as well.
The effort by Atlanta’s front seven was the catalyst for the secondary’s lockdown performance. Mettenberger was held to a mere 9 completions on 17 attempts passing. The Express’s nine completions was the lowest number posted by any AAF team this season. The pinnacle moment of the secondary’s performance occurred in the closing minutes of the game. With the game tied 20-20, the Express were amid a game-winning drive. With the ball on Atlanta’s 21-yard line, Mettenberger was picked off by safety Tyson Graham, Jr. to set up the game-winning drive for Atlanta. The Atlanta defense was hungry in week five; however, that hunger was satisfied by feasting on the Memphis offense.
Pressure from KeShun Freeman forces Zach Mettenberger out of the pocket. He throws an off-target pass on the run, it gets tipped and Tyson Graham, Jr. intercepts it late in a tied game pic.twitter.com/g8StZ2Xzpc
— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) March 10, 2019
*An entire separate article could be written analyzing all the positive takeaways from week five. However, this article addresses more than only “the good.” To keep this somewhat of a brief read, I must press forward.
“I apologize a trillion times.”
The one thing that halted offensive momentum was penalties. The Legends gave up a total of 68 yards that were enforced off of eight penalties. The most frustrating of these infractions were flags thrown for an illegal formation on offense. Atlanta’s wideouts lined up in an illegal formation on three occasions (once on consecutive plays), each occurring within the red zone.
“It made me think for a minute.”
I would say that penalties fall into this more overarching category. However, penalties were just one facet of mental mistakes. I do not like to single out an individual player for their mistakes, but Justin Thomas had three fumbles. Only one of Thomas’s fumbles were recovered by Memphis. However, that fumble came off a botched handoff when he was running wildcat QB and set the Express up for a touchdown drive.
The hometown kid, DeMarquis Gates, definitely had his @Skittles today.
— Memphis Express (@aafexpress) March 10, 2019
Now, I will be the first to say; the Atlanta Legends will never achieve the same status as OutKast (let’s be honest, no one will). However, Atlanta fans were able to witness a few dynamic duos in week five; Murray and Coach Zampese, Tyson Graham, Jr. and Dylan Donahue, and Jeff Overbaugh and Younghoe Koo. Going forward, do any of these duos have the potential to become legendary? Fans will have to wait and see if they have an André 3000 and Big Boi on this team. What we do know, is that the past two weeks have been the type of Legends’ football we expect to see going forward.
OutKast Songs that Describe Legends’ Players
- DT Tracy Sprinkle: “Rosa Parks” – Aquemini
- LB Dylan Donahue: “B.O.B” – Stankonia
- S Tyson Graham, Jr: “So Fresh, So Clean” – Stankonia
- QB Aaron Murray: “Hey Ya!” – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
- RB Tarean Folston: “Wheelz of Steel” – Aquemini
- WR Bug Howard: “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” – Aquemini
- WR Seantavious Jones: “Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik” – Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik
- HC Kevin Coyle: “Ain’t No Thang” – Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik
- OC Ken Zampese: “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” – UGK (I know OutKast is just featured)