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San Antonio Defense Puts An End to Birmingham's Win Streak

San Antonio Defense
© Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

The Birmingham Stallions, after a long unbeaten run of 15 games dating back to last season, were finally defeated. The San Antonio Brahmas (7-2), with their relentless defense and explosive offense, secured a convincing 18-9 victory on Saturday against the previously undefeated Stallions (8-1). This clash, initially seen as a potential preview of the UFL Championship game, has now been reshaped by San Antonio's impressive performance.

Brahmas coach Wade Phillips, who took over for Hines Ward after the 2023 season, appears to have his team ready for a postseason run and possibly host the XFL Conference Championship game after beating the Stallions and the St. Louis Battlehawks (6-3) falling to the Arlington Renegades (2-7) 36-22 in Week 9.

Brahmas' Smothering Defense

Against the Stallions, the San Antonio defense kept the pressure on quarterback Adrian Martinez all day, allowed only 278 yards of total offense and held Birmingham to their lowest-scoring output on the season. The Brahmas defense was responsible for 3 sacks, 5 tackles for a loss and an interception due to their continued pressure. The defensive front was getting enough pressure to keep more people in past coverage. Martinez had some explosive runs, but the Brahmas continued to make necessary stops.

Birmingham Offense Struggles to Get Going

Stallion's receiver, Jace Sternberger, was the leading receiver with 7 catches, 110 yards and the lone touchdown. Thanks to a smothering defense, only five Stallions had receptions on the day. Now, the entire UFL is wondering if this is the blueprint to end Birmingham's run of hoisting the championship trophy. The Brahmas made Martinez uncomfortable all day, with protection breaking down more than any game they had played this year. Heading into the game, many said the Brahmas defense was the best in the UFL, proving it by putting together a smothering defensive scheme at the Alamo Dome.

What Does This Mean for the Stallions, Brahmas

Despite the loss, the Stallions are still in the UFL's driver's seat, with a one-game lead on the Michigan Panthers (7-2). Birmingham will host Michigan in Week 10 before squaring off again in the USFL Conference Championship Game on June 8. Birmingham won the two team's first meeting of the season, 20-13 in Week 2.

For San Antonio, the small sliver of opportunity to host the XFL Conference Championship is still alive after the Battlehawks' lost to Renegades. St. Louis won the first meeting in Week 3, 31-24. The UFL title game will be held in St. Louis, but the Alamo Dome is becoming one of the hardest places to play in the league. The Brahmas will end the regular season on the road in St. Louis with the hopes of winning and not having to come right back for the conference title game.


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