With another successful week of action, the XFL is building brick by brick a brand of football that will continually endear them to fans as well as talent evaluators at the next level.
NY Guardians (1-1) at DC Defenders (2-0)
Final Score: Defenders 27, Guardians 0
Recap: It did not matter whether Guardians quarterback Matt McGloin or Marquis
Williams was under center, the moment the Guardians snapped the ball, they had instant pressure, and it showed up on all facets on offense. The Defenders star-studded defensive line including DE Anthony Johnson and DT T.J. Barnes were simply too much for the New York Offensive line. McGloin made two costly interceptions. One that was an incredible play by Defenders Safety, Matt Elam and the other one fell right into the lap of LB Jameer Thurman. Ultimately, McGloin was pulled for the more mobile option in Marquise Williams, nevertheless, the Defenders Front 7 was able to run havoc no matter who was behind center. Matt McGloin will most be remembered for his mid-game interview however where he put his coaches on blast to the sideline reports.
Defenders Quarterback Cardale Jones could do no wrong against the Guardians’ defense. He seemed to be able to move the ball for big chunks of yards at will. He even fumbled the ball on a play in the 3rd quarter and was still able to recover it and throw a completion for 11-yards before it was called back on Offensive Pass Interference. Cardale spread the ball well-completing passes to 8 different receivers. ”Rocket” Rashad Ross flashed his speed with four spectacular catches for 95 yards averaging almost a quarter of Audi Field with every catch. The only room for improvement the DC Defenders have going into Dignity Health Sports Park in LA next week is to convert more of the RedZone trips into touchdowns as opposed to setting for the 3 points.
Cardale Jones (QB): 23/37, 276 Passing yds, 7.5 YPA, 2 Pass TD, 1 INT, 1 Rush att, 14 rush.
DeAndre Thompkins (WR): 1 Rush att, 5 rush yards, 6 Receptions on 9 targets, 92 rec. yds, 1 TD.
Rashad Ross (WR): 4 Receptions on 5 targets, 95 rec. yds.
Anthony Johnson (DE): 3 tackles (3 solo), 2 TFL, 1.5 sacks.
New York Guardians
Marquis Williams (QB): 4/8, 51 Passing yds, 6.4 YPA, 2 Rush att, 16 rush yds.
Tim Cook (RB): 10 rush, 39 yds, 3.9 YPC, 2 rec. on 3 targets, 2 yds.
MeKale McKay (WR): 3 Receptions on 6 targets, 30 rec. yds.
D’Jaun Hines (LB): 4 tackles (1 Solo), 0 TFL,1 PD, 1 INT.
Written by: David Connors @DConBlitz
TB Vipers (0-2) at Seattle Dragons (1-1)
Final Score: Dragons 17, Vipers 9
Recap: Seattle has played their first two games tough, and in front of an XFL-record 29,172 members of the Dragon faithful, they went out and earned the first victory in franchise history over a very game Tampa Bay squad. Down 3-0 entering the halftime intermission, Seattle had the ball and immediately allowed the Vipers to score on a 78-yard pick-six. However, on the ensuing offensive possession, quarterback Brandon Silvers threw a 68-yard bomb to wide receiver Keenan Reynolds and linebacker Marcel Frazier intercepted Quinton Flowers on a 3rd-and-24 screen pass in the end zone for a touchdown to give the Dragons their first lead of the game, a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way. Seattle gave Tampa one final chance to potentially tie the game, but a heave by Taylor Cornelius was intercepted in the end zone by linebacker Kyle Quiero to seal the victory.
The Vipers were projected by Caesar’s Sportsbook prior to the start of the XFL season to be the favorite to hoist the championship in April. Two games in, and there’s a ton of questions that still need answering. Who’s the quarterback going to be: Aaron Murray, Taylor Cornelius, or Quinton Flowers? Why is the team able to easily move the ball inside the 20s but can’t punch it into the end zone on offense? Why is the team so undisciplined with relation to penalties that either derail the offense or prolong the opponent's drives? All of these need to be addressed immediately, lest Marc Trestman becomes the second coach put on the chopping block. Maybe they’ll turn it around in their home opener against the Roughnecks.
Brandon Silvers (QB): 7/18, 91 yards, 5.1 YPA, TD, INT
Trey Williams (RB): 11 carries, 45 yds, 4.1 YPC
Keenan Reynolds (WR): 3 Receptions on 8targets, 87 yards, TD
Steve Williams (CB): 7 tackles (3 solo), 2 TFL, 1.5 sacks
Taylor Cornelius (QB): 16/27, 154 yards, 5.7 YPA, 2 INT
Jacques Patrick (RB): 14 rush, 73 yards, 5.2 YPC, TD, 1 rec. on 2 targets, 18 yards
Reece Horn (WR): 5 receptions on 8 targets, 51 yds
Marcelis Branch (FS): 12 tackles (5 solo), 2 TFL, 1.0 sack
Written by: Joe Carlino
Dallas Renegades (2-0) vs. LA Wildcats (1-1)
Final Score: Renegades 25, Wildcats 18
Recap: The Dallas Renegades defense were able to recover from some debilitating mistakes to allow Landry Jones and company to get a ”W” in Los Angeles. One of the key turning points of the game came with a little more than 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter when Renegades LB Greer Martini recovered a fumble from the Wildcats quarterback Josh Johnson to put an abrupt halt to the Wildcats drive while they were threatening to score on Dallas’s 4-yard line. The following play, Renegades Quarterback, Landry Jones. threw a 39-yard pass to WR Josh Crockett who made an incredible diving catch to haul it in.
The Renegades Running Back duo of Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar had a key role in securing the Renegades victory. Lance Dunbar willed the Renegades with a couple of big catches out of the backfield and an 11-yard rush to get Dallas in field goal range to tie the game by halftime. Cameron Artis-Payne took over the 4th quarter of the game scoring two long touchdown runs. The first touchdown coming halfway through the first quarter coming off a crucial block from Lance Dunbar to spring his 21-yard run to pay dirt. His second touchdown came with only 1:14 seconds left in the game to extend the Renegades lead from one to seven.
The Los Angeles Wildcats, all in all, played a solid game at Dignity Health Sports Park with the exception of a few costly plays. The Wildcats had two separate drives where they moved the ball the length of the field only to lose possession with a costly fumble while in the 10-zone. Wildcats quarterback Josh Johnson executed an overall great game leaning heavily on his slot receiver Nelson Spruce. In the 4th quarter, Spruce was able to blow past the Renegade secondary only to have Josh Johnson drop a dime perfectly into his arms for a 44-yard touchdown. Then the Wildcats converted for 3 by finding WR Adonis Jennings open on the right side of the End Zone bringing the game within 1 point. Unfortunately, the Renegade Running game was able to chip away at the remaining time of the clock while punching in the ”put away” touchdown to end the game. The Wildcats did a lot of good things in this game, and could have easily been the ones walking away with the win had a few more bounces went in their direction.
Public Service Announcement: Nelson Spruce needs to be in all DFS lineups!
Landry Jones (QB): 28/40, 305 Passing yds, 7.6 YPA, 1 Pass TD, 2 INT, 4 Rush att, 13 rush yds.
Cameron Artis-Payne (RB): 14 rush, 99 yds, 7.1 YPC, 2 TD, 1 Rush 1-PT, 5 rec. on 6 targets, 32 yds.
Donald Parham Jr (TE): 5 Receptions on 11 targets, 76 rec. yds, 1 TD.
Greer Martini (LB): 5 tackles (4 solo), 1 TFL,1 FF.
Los Angeles Wildcats
Josh Johnson (QB): 18/34, 196 Passing yds, 5.8 YPA, 2 Pass TD, 1 Pass 3-Pt, 4 Rush att, 3 rush yds.
Nelson Spruce (WR): 6 Receptions on 9 targets, 89 rec. yds, 1 TD.
Will Smith (LB): 6 tackles (2 solo), 1 PD, 1 INT.
Written by: David Connors @DConBlitz
St. Louis BattleHawks (1-1) vs. Houston Roughnecks (2-0)
Final Score: Roughnecks 28, BattleHawks 24
Recap: Houston came into this game eyeing a 2-0 start to the season, a start that only one other team could say they have. The Roughnecks started off early on taking the lead on the first drive that ended in a field goal. Shortly after, the Roughnecks gave up a touchdown to the BattleHawks and went down 6-3 in the first quarter. Houston would go onto score 18 unanswered points behind a rushing touchdown from running back James Butler and two passing touchdowns from Philip Walker to Cam Phillips. The Roughnecks took control and while they allowed St. Louis to get back into the game, Walker and the Roughneck defense held off the BattleHawks comeback bid behind two key interceptions to move to 2-0.
The BattleHawks played their second game on the road against arguably the best team in the whole league. With the tough task of stopping XFL star quarterback Philip Walker, the BattleHawks held Walker to under 200 total yards of offense. Starting quarterback Jordan Ta’amu continued to display his promising abilities in a game he would go onto rack up 300-plus yards of offense and four total touchdowns. Unfortunately without much of a running game, the game was up to the young former Ole Miss signal-caller. The biggest turning point came when Ta’amu felt the Roughnecks went offsides and so in doing so he launched up a pass that was picked off by Jeremiah Johnson and returned to the goal line during a drive the BattleHawks were striving to take the lead on. St. Louis falls to 1-1 as they head home next weekend for their home opener in The Dome, a place that hasn’t housed a professional football game since 2015.
Philip Walker (QB): 20/31, 170 Passing yds, 7.7 YPA, 3 TDs, 4 Rushes, 27 Rush yds
James Butler (RB): 7 Rushes, 28 Rushing yds, 4 YPC, TD, 2 Receptions, -3 Receiving yds
Cam Phillips (WR): 8 Receptions on 10 Targets, 63 Receiving yds, 3 TDs
Cody Brown (S): 7 Tackles (5 Solo), PD, INT
Jordan Ta’amu (QB): 30/37, 284 Passing yds, 7.7 YPA, 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 8 Rushes, 32 Rush yds, TD
Matt Jones (RB): 16 Rushes, 44 Rushing yds, 2.8 YPC, 1 Reception, 25 Passing yds, TD
L’Damian Washington (WR): 6 Receptions on 8 Targets, 77 Receiving yds, TD
Andrew Ankrah (DE): 3 Tackles (2 Solo), 2 TFLs, 1 Sack
Written by: Jake Ellenbogen