USFL Week 3 scores, roundup: Birmingham Stallions only unbeaten after thriller, NJ Generals at top of division

By Brett Anderson

There were 262 picks in the NFL draft this weekend (check them all out here) and it might surprise you to know there was also some actual football being played. If you missed any of the USFL’s Week 3, we’re here for you. Two of the rebooted league’s best games to date were played on Saturday — a one-point thriller, followed by a clash of the only remaining unbeatens that was decided in a wild fourth quarter.

Below we’ll take look at what happened in each of the four Week 3 games. You can check out all our USFL news here, including the standingsschedule and scores.

Birmingham Stallions 22, New Orleans Breakers 13

Let’s focus on the biggest game of the USFL season thus far. The Stallions and Breakers entered Saturday night as the only teams to start 2-0, and though the final score may not show it, the game was close all the way and had a fourth quarter that went off the rails. Main takeaway: These are clearly the league’s two best teams.

The first three quarters were a defensive battle, and New Orleans lead 13-10 with about eight minutes left in the game. That’s when Birmingham receiver Victor Bolden Jr. got loose in the end zone on back-to-back plays — first just missing on a touchdown when he was clearly interfered with (no call), then minutes later hanging on for a TD (and with a PI call this time) — and the Stallions went up 17-13.

New Orleans got the ball back, but quarterback Kyle Sloter was hit hard in the end zone and fumbled, with the Breakers recovering for a safety. Now down 19-13, the Breakers played good defense and had opportunities. But they missed a field goal with four minutes left. Then Birmingham’s DeMarquis Gates — who had a monster game with 10 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception — picked off New Orleans QB Kyle Sloter. And that was that.

The Breakers, who had entered as the top offense in the league, were held to 13 points. Sloter threw for 240 yards with two touchdowns, but his only interception was costly. Birmingham’s J’Mar Smith also had a pair of TDs and a pick, despite completing just 39.5% of his passes.

Birmingham was technically the away team, but with all USFL games being played in Birmingham, they’re actually the league’s only home team — with a decent sized crowd showing up again Saturday night. All the non-Stallions games are played in front of empty seats. The energy Birmingham fans provide for their team clearly makes a difference, and it did again in Week 3.

They played an entire football game on Saturday afternoon WHILE THE NFL DRAFT WAS GOING ON. Somewhere around the time Sam Howell was going to the Commanders and a punter nicknamed the “Punt God” was drafted after two other punters, these teams combined for 51 points in a thriller won on a last-second field goal.

Houston led 23-14 at the half and maintained a nine-point lead into the final quarter. But Bandits quarterback Jordan Ta’amu ran for a five-yard touchdown to cut the lead to two points with 11 minutes remaining. In the game’s final minute, Ta’amu got loose for a 33-yard run, setting up Tyler Rausa’s game-winning 46-yard field goal with 13 seconds left.

Ta’amu threw for 255 yards with a TD and an INT. Gamblers quarterback Clayton Thorson threw for 240 yards with two TDs and an interception.

Sunday’s first game was a clash between the USFL’s only two winless teams, and it did clear one thing up. At this point, the Maulers are the league’s worst.

Maybe cutting a guy for wanting pizza instead of chicken salad hurt morale. Maybe Pittsburgh just doesn’t have much talent. Whatever it is, the Maulers got crushed by a Michigan team that had scored 18 total points in its first two games.

All three of Michigan’s scores came on the ground (Shea Patterson and Paxton Lynch combined to go just 11-of-25 for 72 yards with no TDs or INTs). The Panthers defense looked great, but that came against a Pittsburgh offense that’s managed 26 points in three games. Michigan built a 16-0 lead in the first quarter and then coach Jeff Fisher took the air out of the ball for his first USFL win. The Maulers will have to play much better to find a victory in their final seven games.

New Jersey Generals 24, Philadelphia Stars 16

After losing a close game to Birmingham in the USFL season opener, the Generals have rolled off two wins and now sit alone atop the North Division. They won on Sunday night despite trailing 16-10 heading into the fourth quarter. It was all N.J. in the fourth, as Darius Victor and quarterback De’Andre Johnson each rushed for a touchdown.

The Generals did a huge chunk of their damage on the ground, rushing for 269 yards in the game. Trey Williams led the way with 110, Johnson had 94 and Victor 51 along with two TDs.

The Stars got almost nothing from the rush attack — totaling 31 yards — but Case Cookus and Bryan Scott split time at QB and threw for a combined 230 yards, with each tossing one TD.

Read the original article by Brett Anderson