USFL Power Rankings

by Fran Stuchbury
April 22, 2022 - United States Football League (USFL) - Tampa Bay Bandits

Week one of the United States Football league season is in the books as the South Division went a perfect 4-0 last weekend against the North. Week two will see the first inter-division play, offering a chance to break the standings deadlock. By the end of this weekend, two teams in the South will sport a perfect 2-0 record, and the other two will stand at 1-1, a game back. In the North Division two teams will lead the way at 1-1 and the other two teams will still be in search of their first victory.

The power rankings after week one:

1. Tampa Bay Bandits - 1-0

Tampa Bay appears to be the most complete team so far. Despite two interceptions by Jordan Ta'amu, he completed 63 percent of his passes and spearheaded an up-tempo offense. In the early going, it appears Ta'amu's experience gives him a chance to be the best quarterback in the league. Tight end Cheyenne O'Grady finished with eight receptions on 11 targets for 86 yards, providing a valuable, often-used target for his quarterback. The Bandits defense spent large stretches of the game in the Pittsburgh backfield, allowing a lone field goal, while harassing Maulers passers and ball carriers.

2. Birmingham Stallions 1-0

The host team in the USFL, the Stallions are the lone USFL team to have any home field advantage. The situation appeared to help them in their 28-24 victory over the New Jersey Generals. While other quarterbacks struggled, Stallions coach Skip Holtz saw two solid performances from his signal-callers. He was wise to draft quarterback J'Mar Smith, whom he had coached for four seasons at Louisiana Tech. Smith led the team to victory off the bench when Alex McGough departed with an ankle injury. Several USFL teams are rotating quarterbacks, and Holtz has the luxury of sticking with the hot hand.

3. New Orleans Breakers 1-0

The Breakers defense dominated in their victory over the Philadelphia Stars. Six sacks, three by defensive end David Bellamy, and an interception by Vontae Diggs returned 37 yards for a touchdown helped do much of the damage. RB Jordan Ellis had a good game with 89 yards and one rushing touchdown. QB Kyle Sloter has received numerous shots with NFL teams on either the active roster, practice squad or in a tryout. If he wants to add to that total, his performance needs to improve.

4. New Jersey Generals 0-1

The Generals lost to the Birmingham Stallions 28-24, but it was certainly a winnable game for New Jersey. If kicker Nick Rose hadn't missed two field goals, from 47 and 22 yards out, it could have been a different outcome. Maybe the two quarterback rotation will work, with the passing quarterback Luis Perez tossing for 143 yards and two touchdowns, and De'Andre Johnson contributing 98 yards on 12 carries and one rushing touchdown.

5. Houston Gamblers 1-0

The Gamblers defense won the game for them against the Michigan Panthers. Three sacks, one interception, two fumble recoveries with one returned for a touchdown tell the story. RB Mark Thompson had 71 yards rushing to highlight the little offense the game showed. If the Gamblers have any shot at beating the hometown Birmingham Stallions Saturday night on FS1, quarterback Clayton Thorson must move the offense more consistently.

6. Philadelphia Stars 0-1

In another situation in which familiarity helped land a quarterbacking spot, Stars Head Coach Bart Andrus took QB Bryan Scott in the first round, 4th overall, in the 2022 USFL Draft. Andrus coached Scott when he played in The Spring League. Scott was relatively effective in week one with 202 yards and one touchdown, but he also threw one costly interception, a pick six that proved to be the difference in the game.

7. Michigan Panthers 0-1

Former Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson got off to a slow start in the Panthers' loss to the Gamblers but performed better in the second half. The Panthers moved the ball with 190 rushing yards, so if the passing game struggles look for the Panthers to run the ball even more this week against the Generals.

8. Pittsburgh Maulers 0-1

With the other three USFL games decided by less than one touchdown, the Maulers were never really in their 17-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Bandits. Kyle Lauletta had a dismal game behind center, but Josh Love breathed some life into the passing attack. Still, the two combined for 11-of-26 passing for only 129 yards. When cutting a player over his lunch request captures more attention than your offense, it is apparent Head Coach Kirby Wilson has a project on his hands.

• Discuss this story on the United States Football League message board...

United States Football League Stories from April 22, 2022

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

Other Recent Tampa Bay Bandits Stories

Sports Statistics from the Stats Crew
OurSports Central