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Apollos rebound with rout, clinch postseason berth

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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Losing certainly wasn't going to become a habit for the Orlando Apollos.

A week removed from Orlando's first loss in Alliance of American Football action, the Apollos responded with authority in the form of a 36-6 shedding of the Atlanta Legends on Saturday afternoon at Georgia State Stadium.

Apollos running back De'Veon Smith scored three short-yardage rushing touchdowns and Orlando quarterback Garrett Gilbert, likely the frontrunner for the league's player of the year, threw for 217 yards and a touchdown to standout receiver Charles Johnson.

With the win, the Apollos (6-1) became the first team to clinch a postseason berth in the AAF as they sent the Legends (2-5) to a second consecutive defeat.

Gilbert's now passed for a league-high 1,842 yards and Johnson's 37 catches and 552 yards receiving are each league-bests, as well.

Malachi Jones, who had six catches for 53 yards, caught Atlanta's only touchdown of the game from quarterback Aaron Murray (16 for 22 for 135 yards).

The final score came close to mirroring Orlando's 40-6 throttling of Atlanta in the first week of AAF play, which propelled the Apollos into their current run atop the league.

Smith scored from a yard out and added a two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead, but Atlanta cut it to 8-6 on Murray's scoring pass.

It was all Apollos thereafter, though, as they ended the game on a 28-point run with a 65-yard pick-six by Deji Olatoye standing as the biggest highlight for an always-overlooked Orlando defense.

Orlando travels to Memphis next week to take on the league's worst team with a chance to wrap up at least a share of the Eastern Conference, which it leads by 2 1/2 games following its latest rout.

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