A change at the top paid off as the Firebirds switched QBs and rolled through the Los Angeles Avengers, 37-7.
With Nick Arbuckle struggling mightily of late, the Firebirds switched to Brad Kaaya under center against LA. Even with NFL veteran Trevor Siemian recently signed, Atlanta went with Kaaya, a former top pick who has struggled to find the right opportunity to shine.
“Brad is a helluva talented quarterback,” said Atlanta coach Rob Ryan. “We coveted him back when he was coming out in the draft. I don’t know why he hasn’t really gotten his chance yet, but we’re not at all surprised with the way he played this week.”
He started red hot, capping the first quarter with a 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, then the pair connected again on a 70-yard bomb to lead 13-0. After Los Angeles scored their only points of the game on a 15-yard Phillip Lindsay run, Wil Lutz extended the Atlanta lead to 16-7 at the half.
The second half brought more of the same as Kaaya and Seals-Jones connected from 29 yards to lead 23-7 after three. Kaaya opened the fourth with a 10-yard TD to Preston Williams, then found Seals-Jones for the fourth time with under seven minutes to play.
Kaaya finished the night 20 of 37 for 322 yards with 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Seals-Jones was his top target, hauling in 6 catches for 157 yards and 4 touchdowns. Seals-Jones had been a steady force all year, but had not reached the end zone before week 14. Now, he has racked up 5 touchdowns in two games.
Preston Williams also had a big game, catching 6 for 85 with a score.
Rookie running back Rodney Anderson had another big game, rumbling for 113 yards on 28 attempts.
Corey Littleton paced the defense with 8 tackles. Ryan Carrethers picked up 7 tackles and a sack. Kony Ealy and Ethan Westbrooks each notched a sack.
Sitting at 10-5 overall, the Firebirds have clinched a playoff berth, but they look to aid their seeding this week when they travel to play the 3-12 Mississippi Gators.