The Memphis Showboats went on the road hoping to rebound from last week’s disappointing loss with a victory against the Birmingham Stallions. However, instead of bringing home a win, the Showboats lost by a score of 33-14 and were completely dominated by the Stallions. In a UFL league characterized by close games and surprising 4th quarter comebacks, sadly on this night, there would be no miraculous come-from-behind victory for the Memphis team. 

A Punishing Defensive Stand

Birmingham fans, on hand, to celebrate the season opener and the Stallions’ back-to-back USFL Championship Titles, witnessed a hideously lopsided game and an utter mauling of the Showboats QB Case Cookus. Under tremendous pressure from the Stallions’ punishing defense, Cookus took a beating with 7 sacks on the night and now has the unfortunate distinction of being the most-sacked quarterback in the UFL with 11 sacks on the season.

Cookus, one of the better quarterbacks in the league and known for his ability to run the ball as well as his prowess in connecting with receivers, struggled all night to get open and escape the Stallions’ smothering defense. Sacked three consecutive times in the opening series, Cookus did his best to rally the offense but the utter lack of protection from his offensive line pretty much set the tone for the night. After the Showboats were held scoreless in the first three series, Cookus found his rhythm and lofted a beautiful touchdown pass to Vinny Papale that tied the game at 6-6 early in the first half. Unfortunately, it was the Showboats’ only TD, and except for two Matt Coghlin field goals, including an impressive 57-yarder, that was to be their only scoring play.

Adrian Martinez Earns His First Start

For the Stallions, it was a night to celebrate. Birmingham QB, Adrian Martinez had a terrific game, going 10/16 in the first half for 164 yards with two touchdowns. Martinez, as dangerous as ever with his ability to run the football on Saturday night, played his best game of the season and looked to be having the time of his life. After the Vinny Papale TD to tie the score, the Stallions and Martinez came marching back with a touchdown to WR Marlon Williams. It was a huge play for Williams, his first reception on the season, and a nice comeback after suffering a torn ACL last year.

Aside from a costly fumble in the first half, recovered by the Showboats DL John Atkins, Jr., the defense was unable to stop Martinez. He repeatedly found his receivers open for big plays including a beautiful 37-yard pass to Deon Cain that set up the second (46-yard) Chris Blewitt field goal of the night. Heading into the locker room at halftime, the Stallions led the Showboats by a score of 18-12.

A Dismal Second Half For Memphis

The Showboats began the third quarter only a TD behind, but once again Cookus got sacked on the very first series and from that point on, things got ugly. As the Stallions began to pull ahead with a Chris Blewitt FG and a Ricky Person, Jr. rushing TD, the Showboats’ rushing yardage began to slide backward into the minus column. Their running game was completely shut down and neither Darius Victor (-1) nor Case Cookus (1) could gain any positive yardage. Although the passing game was a bit better for Victor with 3 receptions on the night, he has yet to display the skills he showed when he was the top RB for the New Jersey Generals and has been a disappointment for this Memphis team. WR Jonathan Adams (6 receptions for 50 yards) and TE Sage Surratt (4 receptions for 40 yards) were the top receivers for the Showboats.

Adrian Martinez finished the game 18/28 with 334 yards and two TDs and a third rushing TD.

After Coach John DeFilippo relieved Case Cookus in the 4th quarter with QB Troy Williams, the Showboats’ only other score came from the defense; a safety with less than two minutes left in the game. It was a dismal performance for the Showboats and a tough loss to swallow after such an impressive start to the season. So, where do the Showboats go from here? Next week, they have another game on the road against the St. Louis Battlehawks. Two things are certain, if they expect to have any chance of success, the offensive line has to do a better job of protecting Cookus, and Darius Victor needs to find his rushing game.

author avatar
Sue Levine
Sue Levine spent the past five years creating and producing a successful weekly health and wellness podcast starring a wonderful iconic woman as the program host. As part of Sue's responsibilities, she scripted every episode and discovered a genuine love of writing. When the podcast ended late last year, she shifted the focus of her writing to covering pro sports. A passionate fan of NFL and UFL football as well as fantasy, she is delighted to be able to share her articles with other football fans.

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