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Silvers lining: Express defeat Iron 31-25 in overtime

March 25, 2019 - Alliance of American Football (AAF) - Memphis Express News Release

MEMPHIS - With all the Johnny Manziel hype, it was Brandon Silvers that led the Express to their second win of the season Sunday night against the Birmingham Iron in the first overtime game in the history of The Alliance.

The Troy product went 24-for-35 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner to wide receiver Dan Williams on a 10-yard slant.

The Memphis Express are home again this Saturday, March 30, to face the Orlando Apollos. The game starts at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. local) and will stream on B/R Live.

After the defense stopped the Iron offense on the first possession of overtime, Silvers stayed calm and knew he had the game won. It's a confidence that has been with him since he started playing football.

Head coach Mike Singletary gave the game ball to Silvers as his teammates mobbed him in the locker room following the victory.

"I guess you can say I was born with it," Silvers said about his calmness in late-game situations. "I've led a lot of game-winning drives back in high school and at Troy. I'm just happy to get back in there, have some drives and get the opportunity to win the game."

Singletary knew all week that Silvers was going to be the starting quarterback. Singletary praised Silvers for his work ethic, his execution of the offense and the calmness he showed late in games. Singletary said the plan was to start Silvers and give Manziel some playing time during the game.

After the game, it was clear to Singletary that Silvers earned the opportunity to play in the future.

"Right now, Brandon is our quarterback," Singletary said. "I'm very excited about what Johnny does and what he brings to the team, but Brandon is our starting quarterback."

The Memphis Express scored the final 17 points of the game after trailing 25-14 with 9:01 left in regulation. The performance of Silvers, the Express defense getting pressure on Iron quarterback Luis Perez and big plays on special teams carried Memphis to its second win of the season.

"I'm really thankful for our guys. It was a complete team win," Singletary said. "We executed and fought for four quarters and we played tough until the end."

The calm demeanor from Silvers is easy to see, which has helped him as a quarterback throughout his career.

It was the second game in a row where Silvers found wide receiver Reece Horn consistently in the game. Horn finished with seven catches for 117 yards and one touchdown. It was the first touchdown of the season for Horn and second game in a row with over 100 receiving yards.

Even with the deficit in the game, the Johnny Manziel chants and facing a stout Iron defense, Silvers fought through the adversity and made a name for himself.

"I've always been the underdog and fought through adversity my whole career," Silvers said. "I've always had that mentality and it's helped me to this point."

The momentum of the game started to change late in the third quarter when DeMarquis Gates blocked an Iron punt and defensive back Terrell Bonds ran it back 50 yards for the touchdown. It was the first blocked punt and blocked punt touchdown in the history of The Alliance.

Creating turnovers and getting stops on third down has been a key focus for the Express defense this season. The Express defense and special teams did that Sunday night tonight in their upset win.

"When we had opportunity to make plays to change the game, we did that," Singletary said. "That blocked punt changed the game for us. It was a great play and I'm proud of the way our defense and special teams fought the entire game."

With the win, the Express kept their hopes alive for the playoffs and found new life thanks to Silvers and heroics on defense and special teams.

It was a complete effort for the Express, something the players and coaches preached all week.

"Today was really good for us," Silvers said. "We did great things on both sides of the ball and I'm really proud of our guys. What a win."

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Dylan Rubino covers The Memphis Express for The Alliance of American Football. Follow him on Twitter @DylanJRubino.

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