MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It wasn’t a game many thought he’d win. It wasn’t even a game many wanted him to start. But on Sunday night, Brandon Silvers was the unlikely hero for the Memphis Express.
With 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel on the sideline and a raucous crowd chanting his name, Silvers shook off the noise and did his job.
Silvers was inconsistent in the first half, with some balls airmailing over receivers heads. The uninspired play brought in Manziel for a pair of drives, and the former NFL First Round pick flashed a bit of the old Johnny, with an exciting scramble and a rifled 36 yard pass.
Side note: Manziel actually led the team in rushing with 20 yards, as running back Zac Stacy struggled to move the ball all game.
Perhaps it was the push Silvers needed. From then on, he was brilliant.
He led his team down the field, trailing 25-14 in the fourth. A field goal brought the Express within 8 and a strong defensive stand brought the Express back on the field for one last drive.
A seven-yard strike to Reece Horn (113 yards on 7 catches) and a conversion to Brandon Barnes tied the game.
That brought us to the first overtime game in AAF history.
The Express defense held strong once again, and Silvers slinged a touchdown for the win.
Manziel was the first to congratulate Silvers after the game winner. After the game, Manziel stood up for the quarterback.
“He earned every single thing he got tonight," Manziel said. "There’s no animosity in that quarterback room whatsoever. There are three guys in there every single day helping each other out. This is the best room I’ve ever been in. I’m proud of him. That was awesome. Clutch with all the pressure on him, we came back and won the game, and that’s all that matters.”
Silvers said Manziel is a great teammate and that he was prepared to deal with the boos.
“It’s not the first time I’ve been booed," he said. "Maybe at a home game it was the first time for me. But I kind of expect that. Johnny Manziel is a Heisman winner, he’s well accomplished. If he was on the other team I’d be wanting to watch him play. You have to block it out and go play.”
It’s a great quarterback room. We stick together. Johnny’s been a great teammate to me. We’ve all been great teammates to each other. Once you get to know who he is, he’s a great competitor and a great teammate.”
Head coach Mike SIngletary was adamant after the game that there is no quarterback controversy.
“Right now, Brandon is our quarterback, and I don’t want to start a quarterback controversy or what have you," Singletary said. "I’m very very excited about what Johnny does and what he brings to the team, but Brandon’s our starting quarterback. Johnny will have his time, but as of right now, Brandon is our guy.”
Memphis is now 2-5 on the season. They’ll be back at home next weekend when they host the Orlando Apollos on Saturday at 1 p.m.