The fun keeps rolling. With a 37-17 road rout of the St. Louis Stallions, the Atlanta Firebirds are winners of four in a row and sitting strong at 5-2 overall.
“I’m very pleased with the way my boys are playing lately,” said Atlanta coach Rob Ryan. “We’re putting up points on offense and flying around like a pack of crazed dogs on defense. I’m happier than a pig in s*&^.”
St. Louis hung in early, but it didn’t last long. After Wil Lutz hit a 23-yard field goal on Atlanta’s opening drive, the Stallions answered with a 44-yard TD pass from Zach Mettenberger to former Firebird Isaiah McKenzie. It would be their last lead of the game.
The Firebirds exploded for 21 unanswered points in the second frame. It kicked off with a Rodney Anderson 1-yard plunge set up by a Corey Littleton interception inside the St. Louis 10. Next came a 9-play, 75-yard drive finished by a 16-yard TD connection between college teammates Nick Arbuckle and Robert Davis. The big blow came on a 92-yard Kyran Moore punt return score, his fourth of the season.
St. Louis added a field goal with 6 seconds left in the half, but the damage was already done as Atlanta held a commanding 24-10 lead.
The Firebirds kept pushing coming out of the break, running their lead to 31-10 midway through the third on a 4-yard Matt Breida TD run.
Lutz kicked two more field goals in the fourth, bookending a TD pass from Mettenberger to Brice Butler, to win 37-17.
Arbuckle continued his efficient play, completing 18 of 23 for 231 with 1 touchdown and no turnovers. He added another 30 yards rushing.
Breida paced the ground game with 61 yards and a score on 16 attempts. Anderson was limited to 9 carries for 15 yards and a touchdown.
Rookie wideout Preston Williams hauled in 7 catches for 103 yards. Davis added 3 for 35 and a score.
The run defense was absolutely suffocating, limiting the Stallions to 14 yards on 11 carries. Their pass game was marginally more effective, with Mettenberger held to 23 of 43 passes and the electric Butler limited to 3 catches for 38 yards.
Ethan Westbrooks sparked the defense with a pair of sacks, and Kony Ealy added another. Littleton and Joplo Bartu each notched an interception.
The road to five-straight wins won’t be easy with a home contest looming against the 7-0 Birmingham Predators. In fact, it was the Predators who last beat the Firebirds in a 23-21 thriller back in week three.