USFL Week 9 roundup: Breakers roll past Bandits to wrap up 2022 playoffs, Stallions will face semifinals

USFL Week 9 roundup: Breakers roll past Bandits to wrap up 2022 playoffs, Stallions will face semifinals

USFL Week 9 roundup: Breakers roll past Bandits to wrap up 2022 playoffs, Stallions will face semifinals

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The inaugural playoff schedule for the new United States Football League (USFL) has been set. Seeking a spot in the South Division semifinals of the 2022 postseason, the New Orleans Breakers made it right that Sunday, rolling past the Tampa Bay Bandits in a 17-6 decision in Birmingham, Alabama. The Breakers’ victory, eliminating the Bandits from the playoff battle, will complete the semifinal matchups ahead of the USFL Championship on July 3.

The Bandits entered the season, the first of the new USFL (no official association with the original ’80s version), as betting favorites to win 2022 title† But the Breakers were the better team from early to late Sunday, with Larry Fedora’s squad in a defense led by former North Carolina state linebacker Jerod Alexander (one sack, two forced fumbles) and former NFL cornerback Adonis Alexander. (one interception, one fumble at recovery). †

New Orleans also got contributions from two different quarterbacks, with starter Kyle Sloter, an ex-Vikings backup, who briefly dropped out due to a knee injury, but returned to close out the game. In Sloter’s absence, former Tulsa QB Zach Smith took over at bottom center and went 5-for-6 for 51 yards and a touchdown. On the other hand, Jordan Ta’amu, former XFL luminary and NFL prospect, struggled in the elimination game, going 22-of-39 for 288 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Bandits.

Running backs from Anthony Jones (59 yards) and tight end Sal Cannella (34 yards, one TD) also drove New Orleans to victory.

USFL PLAY-OFFS SET: After winning on Sunday, the Breakers (6-3) will face the Birmingham Stallions (8-1) in the South Division semifinals on June 25 at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The New Jersey Generals (8-1) and Philadelphia Stars (5-3) meet on the same day in the North Division semifinals in Canton, with the championship on the same field the following weekend.

ALSO IN USFL WEEK 9the hope of the stallions for a perfect season came crashing down in a 17-15 loss to the Houston Gamblers, while the Generals recorded their eighth straight win with a 25-23 win over the Michigan Panthers.