For those of you not watching, the XFL continues to impress, maintaining it’s viewership and drawing crowds for games. Be it the efficient rule-changes, fast-paced play, or the fact that there’s nothing else for football fans to watch post-Super Bowl, this league seems destined to succeed. Let’s get into it.
1 – Houston Roughnecks 3-0 (+1)
P.J. Walker to Cam Phillips is quickly becoming the most iconic pairing in the XFL, and deservedly so. With a far-and-away league-best 7 recieving TDs through 3 games, Cam Phillips looks like the first XFL star to break from the league’s ‘pool of mediocrity’. P.J. Walker, too, looks ready to set the sports world ablaze, setting a high mark with a brilliant 24/36 for 306 yards and 3 TDs, plus another TD on the ground. All of those passing TDs went directly to Phillips, who hauled in 8/10 for an XFL-record 194 yards. This team is electric.
2 – St. Louis BattleHawks 2-1 (+1)
This was a remarkable performance. St. Louis tried testing out some trickery in the leagues new kickoff format and it paid dividends. Outside of the league’s first kickoff TD, QB Jordan Ta’Amu once again does only what is necessary to win in their ground-and-pound offense. Outside of a consistent run game, there’s not much to say about the BattleHawks except that they find ways to win. Though they won’t blow your doors off, it’s a long-shot to bet against this team making the playoffs.
3 – Dallas Renegades 2-1 (+1)
QB Landry Jones once again proves that he was worth the hype, but with RB Cameron Artis-Payne producing at such a high level, the Renegades don’t seem to need more than an average performance to coast to victory. This weekend’s performance was average, and they rode good-quality defense to victory. With an 80-yard rusher (Artis-Payne), 41 pass attempts (Jones), and a 101-yard receiver (Parham), expect this offense to trend upwards.
4 – DC Defenders 2-1 (-3)
What happened? The Defenders looked to be the league’s darlings after the first 2 weeks, but they were served a thorough whacking by the previously 0-2 L.A. Wildcats. Supposed top-tier QB Cardale Jones took a nosedive, going 13/26 for a measly 103 yards, and a whopping 4 INTs. Putting up only 3 points (excluding a garbage time TD) to the Wildcats 39 is a strictly embarrassing affair, and though they’ve never seen failure like this before, they won’t soon forget this licking. What an upset.
5 – L.A. Wildcats 1-2 (+2)
Through a solid showing on offense and a heroic effort on defense, the L.A. Wildcats secured their first XFL win in epic fashion. This unit showed that they were a pushover no more, and there were a group of men they have to thank for that: CB Mike Stevens (2 INTs, 2 PD), S Jack Tocho (1 INT, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 TFL), and CB Arrion Springs (1 INT, 1 PD). Incredibly, this offense deserves some credit, too. QB Josh Johnson went 18/25 for 278 yards and 3 TDs, 2 of which went to WR Tre McBride (5/6 for 109 yards). Though sitting at 1-2, they’ve proven they can compete: now they just need to keep the train going.
6 – Seattle Dragons 1-2 (-1)
This weekend made for uninspiring football by the most watched team in the league. Putting up 12 points against the Renegades was embarrassing, but the dull offense and weak tackling on defense made for a near-unwatchable attempt at playing the game. Still, we’ve seen a lot of potential from Seattle so far and one bad week likely won’t define their season. WR Austin Proehl caught 6/7 for 81 and a TD, and ‘star’ RB Kenneth Farrow only got 6 rushing attempts.
7 – New York Guardians 1-2 (-1)
How the mighty have fallen. After an epic week 1 win, the Guardians have now found them amongst the league’s cellar-dwellers. With 3 different QBs attempting 5+ passes on Sunday, they clearly know they don’t have the answer they want behind the reins, and scoring a single garbage-time TD counts for little. Their play was stagnant, the defense was lackluster, and they continue to fall from their early grace.
8 – Tampa Bay Vipers 0-3 (+0)
Surprisingly, the Vipers put up a real fight against the Houston Roughnecks, but ultimately fell short. Their offense is a gimmick, though entertaining, and continues to fail at produce points when absolutely necessary. The defense can’t step up to cover the offense’s failures and they seem to be destined for the dumpster. Jay Tolliver was the lone highlight, hauling in 8/13 for 104 yards. Still, 27 points against a mediocre defense can’t be ignored: there may be hope yet for Tampa Bay fans.