After years of heartbreak and disappointment, the Atlanta Firebirds finally exorcized their demons with a 30-14 road win over the Orlando Rockets.
“I’m not going to lie to you, this feels a little sweeter than your average win,” said Atlanta coach Rob Ryan. “We’ve been working to get past the best of the best, and it’s sweet to finally beat Orlando. Now we just have to keep this feeling going and win another.”
The first half was sluggish for Atlanta, as Orlando notched a pair of Trevor Harris-Eric Rogers TD passes, and they only mustered a pair of Wil Lutz fields from 53 and 55 yards to trail 14-6 at halftime.
The defense locked in after the break, shutting out the Rockets in the second half. The run defense was especially strong, limiting Orlando’s ground game to just 69 total yards all game.
Rodney Anderson opened the second half with a 3-yard TD run, and a Lutz 48-yard field goal staked them to their first lead at 16-14 heading into the fourth.
Midway through the fourth, Nick Arbuckle scrambled for a 10-yard touchdown run. After forcing a three and out, Kyran Moore returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown, his third of the season, for the final blow with 4:46 left.
Arbuckle was efficient, completing 21 fo 27 for 226 yards with the rushing score.
The ground game was steady, with Anderson and Matt Breida running for 48 yards apiece.
Ricky Seals-Jones caught 7 passes for 76 yards.
Arguably the best performer on offense was guard Quinton Spain, who was credited with 4 holes created.
Corey Littleton paced the defense with 8 tackles. They were held without a sack or an interception.
The win runs Atlanta’s record to 4-2. They look to make it four in a row this week when they travel to play the 2-4 St. Louis Stallions.