The XFL had another quality week full of enthralling action that had droves of fans in the seats and more than sufficient TV ratings to have the key XFL decision-makers happy. Let’s see how Week 4 shook out!
LA Wildcats (1-3) at NY Guardians (2-2)
Final Score: Guardians 17, Wildcats 14
Recap: The Wildcats struggled to score without top option Nelson Spruce. Without a spark from the run game, the entire weight of the offense was on QB Josh Johnson’s shoulders, and he delivered. Don’t let the score fool you; Johnson put up big numbers and made more than his fair share of plays and impressive throws to keep LA in the game until the end. Even his lone interception was on the receiver. Tre McBride and Jordan Smallwood stepped up in Spruce’s absence grabbing a bulk of the receptions, but it was Saeed Blacknall who made in the impressive deep reception for a touchdown on his first career catch. The Wildcats’ defense finally stepped up and started pressuring and hitting the opposing QB to keep the score low.
The Guardians featured a new QB in Luis Perez, and while he wasn’t great statistically, it gave New York the boost they needed to pull out a win. It was a tale of two different offenses as the Guardians were able to control the clock with a solid run game between RBs Darius Victor (who did most of the damage) and Tim Cook (older brother of Dalvin), who combined for 114 yards and over 4.0 yards per carry. While the passing attack wasn’t lethal, it was very well spread out with five players getting at least two receptions. This gradual attack was just enough with a defense that bent but didn’t break while forcing two turnovers.
It was a very close game of subtle wins that the Guardians ultimately put away at home.
Josh Johnson (QB): 25/40, 63%, 325 yards, 2TDs, 1 INT
Tre McBride (WR): 8 receptions on 12 targets, 127 yards, 1TD
Jordan Smallwood (WR): 5 receptions on 7 targets, 75 yards
Devin Taylor (DL): 2 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 QB Hits, 1 PD
Luis Perez (QB): 18/26, 69%, 150 yards, 1TD
Darius Victor (RB): 82 yards on 18 attempts, 4.6 YPC
Jake Powell (TE): 3 receptions on 4 targets, 34 yards
Jamar Summers (CB): 4 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PD
Written by: Mason LeBeau
Seattle Dragons (1-3) at St. Louis Battlehawks (3-1)
Final Score: Battlehawks 23, Dragons 16
Recap: The Battlehawks moved to 3-1 after beating the Dragons 23-16 in their second straight home contest. Early on, the Battlehawks jumped out to a 17-3 lead, but the Dragons battled back to make the game interesting. Battlehawks quarterback Jordan Ta'amu led the way with 264 passing yards and a touchdown. As a team, St. Louis finished with nearly 400 yards of offense.
The Dragons dropped to a disappointing 1-3, and coach Jim Zorn finally benched starting quarterback Brandon Silvers after a horrible start. He then proceeded to insert quarterback BJ Daniels, and he delivered a spark into the Dragons. With Daniels in the game, it gave the Dragons the opportunity to utilize the run-pass option at quarterback. Daniels' running ability changed the dynamic of the game; it will be interesting to see what the Dragons do going forward.
St. Louis Battlehawks
Jordan Ta’amu (QB): 20/27, 264 yards, 9.8 YPA, TD, 16 rush, 63 yds
Christine Michael (RB): 12 carries, 27 rush yds, 2.3 YPC
De’ Mornay Pierson-El (WR): 5 receptions on 5 targets, 71 rec. yds, TD
Dexter McCoil (Safety): 7 tackles (6 solo)
BJ Daniels (QB): 5/10, 100 yards, 10 YPA, TD, INT, 7 rush, 84 yards
Kenneth Farrow (RB): 5 carries, 26 rush yds, 5.2 YPC, TD, 2 rec. on 3 targets, 14 yds
Alonzo Moore (WR): 1 reception on 2 targets, 57 rec. yds
Steven Johnson (LB): 8 tackles (3 solo), 1 PD
Written by: LaMarr Fields
Houston Roughnecks (4-0) at Dallas Renegades (2-2)
Final Score Roughnecks 27, Renegades 20
Recap: The Roughnecks kept it rolling in the inaugural Texas battle between Houston and Dallas, and round 1 would belong to the Roughnecks. PJ Walker once again led the way with a pair of touchdowns as the Roughnecks stoked an early 15-0 lead. The highlight of the game came on a gutsy 15-yard run by Walker as he would lower his left shoulder into a defender. The Renegades battled back to make it a game again but the Roughnecks defense would refuse to let the lead slip away as they would come away with three interceptions and a sack/FF recovery for a touchdown by Edmond Robinson to help put the game away for Houston as they remain perfect on the season with a 4-0 start.
It was one to forget for Renegades QB Landry Jones who was 2-0 before this game. Even though Dallas battled their way back into the game, the team couldn’t overcome the three interceptions thrown by Jones. Overall, the Renegades would commit four turnovers with the last being a fumble by Jones that was returned for a touchdown. Dallas, however, did have some notable performances from Flynn Nagel, Donald Parham, and Lance Dunbar.
P.J. Walker (QB): 25/41, 239 Passing yds, 61% Comp, 5.8 YPA, 2 Pass TD, 1 INT, 5 Rush att, 17 rush yds, 1 3-PT rush.
James Butler (RB): 11 rush, 39 yds, 3.5 YPC.
Nick Holley (WR): 8 Receptions on 10 targets, 97 rec. yds, 1 TD.
Demarquis Gates (LB): 8 tackles (4 Solo), 1 PD, 1 FR.
Landry Jones (QB): 25/38, 205 Passing yds, 66% Comp, 5.4 YPA, 1 Pass TD, 3 INT, 1 Pass 2-Pt, 1 Pass 3-Pt, 1 Rush att, 2 rush yds.
Lance Dunbar (RB): 9 rush, 48 yds, 5.3 YPC, 1 rush TD, 0 Rush 2-PT, 2 rec. on 2 targets, 17 rec.yds.
Donald Parham (TE): 6 Receptions on 10 targets, 56 rec. yds, 1 TD, 1 2PT.
Derron Smith (S): 3 tackles (2 Solo), 1 TFL, 1 PD, 1 INT.
Written by: Ali Jawad
DC Defenders (2-2) vs. Tampa Bay Vipers (1-3)
Final Score: Vipers 25, Defenders 0
Recap: In their second straight home contest and with some questions regarding their quarterback setup, head coach Marc Trestman decided to stick with Taylor Cornelius in what appeared to be a must-win game against the Defenders. The move and gameplan easily paid off, as the Vipers earned the first win in franchise history against a divisional opponent while simultaneously earning the second shutout in XFL history. Cornelius was aided all around him, as his 1-2 punch of running backs Jacques Patrick and De’Veon Smith became the first players to record 100-yard rushing games, and he also added an impressive 17-yard score off a bootleg that also saw him use the truck stick right at the end. On the defensive side of the ball, Jerry Glanville’s lineup constantly swarmed Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones all night, finishing with two sacks and an interception. This game appears like it was a blowout, and it clearly was: Tampa Bay ran 80 plays to DC’s 39 and amassed 477 yards of offense; the Defenders only had 107.
Head coach Pep Hamilton implied in the postgame interview that the Defenders seem to play better at home than on the road. If the past two weeks have been any indication, he was spot on with this take. Being outscored 64-9 in the last eight quarters of play, this game was arguably the weakest of the Defenders’ early schedule. DC was stymied in every stretch of the imagination on the road this past week, and everything that needed to go wrong in all key aspects of the game plan did en route to a second straight defeat following a 2-0 start. Cardale Jones was pressured all night by the Vipers defense, finishing with under 100 yards passing, and the team failed to sustain any drives (the longest resulted in a blocked field goal). Their backs are against the wall as they return home against a red-hot Battlehawks team; let’s see if they can find the winning formula again.
Taylor Cornelius (QB): 24/31, 211 yds, 6.8 YPA, TD, INT, 4 carries, 36 yds, Rush TD
Jacques Patrick (RB): 21 rush, 108 yds, 5.1 YPC, TD,
De’Veon Smith (RB): 24 rush, 122 yds, 5.1 YPC, Rush 1PT, 2 receptions on 3 targets, 11 yds
Dan Williams (WR): 7 receptions on 11 targets, 72 yds
Anthoula Kelly (Defense): 6 tackles (5 solo)
Cardale Jones (QB): 9/22, 72 yds, 3.3 YPA, INT
Donnel Pumphrey (RB): 7 rush, 34 yds, 4.9 YPC, 3 rec. on 3 targets, 32 yds
Rashad Ross (WR): 3 receptions on 7 targets, 18 yds
Matthew Elam (Defense): 12 tackles (9 solo), 1 TFL
Written by: Joe Carlino