Back to .500. On the heels of a tough start, the Atlanta Firebirds scored their second-straight win over an expansion team with a 35-10 victory against the Miami Mustangs.
“It doesn’t matter who it’s against, that ‘W’ looks the same in the standings,” said Atlanta head coach Rob Ryan. “We’ve got things moving in the right direction, and we’ve got a little bit of our mojo back. We’ve just got to keep rolling.”
Atlanta made sure not to take their opponent lightly. Forcing a Miami three-and-out on their first possession, the Firebirds made it count with Trindon Holliday reeling in the punt and returning it for a 71-yard touchdown.
Midway through the second quarter Miami got on the board with a field goal, and Atlanta responded emphatically. Matt Barkley found Cameron Meredith for a 7-yard touchdown to extend the lead, and the duo hooked up again on a 48-yard bomb late in the half for a 21-3 lead.
They padded the gap on their first drive of the second half, capping off a 10-play, 63-yard drive with a 5-yard Chris Warren touchdown plunge.
Miami strung together their best series of the night, pushing 81 yards in 10 plays and finishing with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Brad Kaaya to Kenny Britt for their lone touchdown of the evening.
The Firebirds put the game out of reach midway through the fourth quarter on a six-minute, 64-yard drive. Barkley and Meredith combined for their third touchdown for the final blow in the 35-10 victory.
“I’m proud of the boys. It was a real complete effort,” said Ryan.
On the night, Barkley completed 19 of 29 for 292 yards with 3 touchdowns and an interceptions.
Meredith hauled in 7 passes for 137 yards and 3 scores. Derrick Griffin had his best game in Atlanta with 8 catches for 104 yards.
Warren led the ground game with 58 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Matt Breida was limited to 41 yards on 14 attempts.
Mike Hilton paced the defense with 6 tackles. Bacarri Rambo and Brandon Boykin each notched an interception.
The 2-2 Firebirds look to get on the winning side of the ledger this week on the road against the 2-2 Mississippi Cottonmouths.