Michigan Panthers dominated in 19-9 loss to San Antonio Brahmas in United Football League

The Michigan Panthers lost their starting quarterback, but they couldn't get anything going on offense, no matter who was under center.

As a result, the Panthers lost to the San Antonio Brahmas, 19-9, on Saturday night in the Alamodome to fall to 2-2 in the inaugural UFL season.

E.J. Perry left the game in the third quarter with an apparent hamstring injury after successfully cobbling together a field goal drive. Danny Etling replaced him, completing 11 of 15 passes for 105 yards, but the comeback ended after he fumbled late trying to escape pressure after a late touchdown to Marcus Simms.

San Antonio closed the game out after building a comfortable 16-3 lead in the first half. The Brahmas' defensive line set the tone by living in the Panthers' backfield while quarterback Quinten Dormady started hot, finishing 23 of 37 for 269 yards and a touchdown.

The Panthers' offensive line couldn't slow down the pass rush, giving up six sacks and committing three holding penalties. The pass protection issues coupled with the early deficit hamstrung a Michigan offense that came into the game firing on all cylinders.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - APRIL 14: E.J. Perry #4 and Danny Etling #8 of the Michigan Panthers warms up prior to the game against the Houston Roughnecks at Ford Field on April 14, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images for UFL)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - APRIL 14: E.J. Perry #4 and Danny Etling #8 of the Michigan Panthers warms up prior to the game against the Houston Roughnecks at Ford Field on April 14, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images for UFL)

The Panthers fell to 2-2 in the United Football League, while San Antonio moved to 3-1.

Pressure bounces Perry, handcuffs Panthers offense

Perry suffered the leg injury in a play that happened often in the loss.

He pulled up lame after stepping out of a sack on a tackle, grabbing at his hamstring. Perry was sacked five times and had to escape a handful of other attempts as the Brahmas' defensive line dominated the Panthers.

San Antonio jumped out to an early 10-0 lead with an opening drive touchdown and a field goal after a quick stop on the Panthers' first drive.

The best chance at a touchdown came in the second quarter, after head coach Mike Nolan successfully called a fake punt that resulted in a 24-yard gain into San Antonio territory, but a sack ended the drive. Michigan reached the red zone with two first-down runs, but Perry was crushed by Tim Ward on a sack and fumbled to the Brahmas. Kai Nacua intercepted a pass on the next possession, but Michigan's offense couldn't get that close again.

The next drive ended on a third-down sack, setting up a second San Antonio touchdown drive to go up 16-0 a minute before halftime. Jake Bates got Michigan on the board with a 49-yard kick after Perry put together a quick drive right before intermission.

But, the second half was the same for the offense.

Michigan went three-and-out on their first two possessions with Perry in the game which were hurt by a sack, a holding, and the final pressure that knocked the quarterback from the game. He completed seven of 13 passes for 77 yards and had a team-high 49 rushing yards, all on scrambles to avoid sacks.

Etling had the offense moving better, but couldn't get points until the game was out of reach. His first drive ended with a incomplete pass after he was flushed from the pocket, then he fumbled with 7:49 left after he tried to pick up a first down escaping a sack.

Etling found Marcus Simms for a 41-yard touchdown on the left sideline on his third drive to make it 19-9 San Antonio with 3:25 left. Michigan went for a two-point conversion but Etling was sacked. Michigan picked up the onside conversion, which is a successful fourth-and-12 conversion in the UFL, to get the ball back, but Etling was sacked again on third down, setting up an insurmountable fourth-and-20 they could not convert.

The Brahmas finished with six sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception on a late heave from Etling in the waning moments. The Panthers ran for 111 yards on 17 attempts, but the deficit made them lean on the pass and the San Antonio pass rush blew up that effort.

San Antonio sets tone in first half

The Brahmas scored 16 of their 19 points in the first half after the Panthers' defense shut down the offense in the second half.

San Antonio got the ball first and scored on a quick eight-play drive to go up 7-0 on a John Lovett touchdown run. Michigan opened with a punt, and the Brahmas added a field goal after a 43-yard pass from Dormady to Jontre Kirklin.

The Brahmas executed the two-minute drill to perfection at the end of the first half, with Dormady connecting on three passes for first downs then finding Marquez Stevenson in the flat for a 4-yard touchdown to go up 16-0.

The Brahmas only scored the field goal off a short field thanks to the Etling fumble, but the defensive effort made that enough. San Antonio picked up 220 of the team's 305 yards in the first half, while Dormady went into break with 200 yards.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: UFL football: Michigan Panthers fall, 19-9, to San Antonio Brahmas