Once more, the XFL warms our screens with its exciting and fast-paced play, reliable and open-ended refereeing, and more importantly, watch-ability in a spring devoid of entertainment for football fans. Following another weekend of action, the league is stabilizing and divides are being drawn between the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. The cream of the crop begins to separate, and the scum falls to the very bottom. Let’s get into it.
#1: Houston Roughnecks 4-0 (+0)
For those who weren’t watching, this may have been one of the best games of the season so far. The stat sheet may be lopsided, seeing as the Roughnecks committed a lowly 1 turnover to the 5 they forced, but it took an acrobatic goal-line interception to lock up this win. Their defense was ruthless, their offense was fiery, and they handled the Dallas Renegades for a majority of the matchup.
Surviving a late comeback attempt was almost expected after damaging Renegades QB Landry Jones, but it was close nonetheless. P.J. Walker was franchise-caliber, but the hero on offense was WR/RB Nick Holley, who hauled in 8 of 10 passes for 97 yards and a TD. CB Deatrick Nichols caught himself 2 INTs, and LB Edmond Robinson got a timely sack-strip-recovery-TD to win it.
#2: St. Louis BattleHawks 3-1 (+0)
Don’t call it yet, but the BattleHawks are truly starting to look like one of the most exciting teams in the game. QB Jordan Ta’amu had his best game of the year, going 20/27 for 264 yards and a TD through the air, as well as 16 for 63 on the ground.
Outside of Ta’amu’s showing, and that of RB Keith Ford’s 3 attempts (23 yards and a TD), the run game was shut down, but they didn’t need it to beat an underwhelming Seattle unit. 5 WRs brought in 2+ receptions, and De’Mornay Pierson-El led the group with 5/5 for 71 yards and a TD. Not a bad day so be a St. Louis fan.
#3: Dallas Renegades 2-2 (+0)
This was a painful loss for Dallas. In a close game, the game-ending turnover always hurts, and losing their starting QB was bad icing on a terrible cake. Despite tossing a whopping 3 INTs in the 1st quarter alone, QB Landry Jones was still their best chance at a comeback and he might’ve done it if he’d not re-injured his knee, potentially ending his season on a successful 4th down sneak.
Still, Dallas was the worse team and they know what they need to tune up in the future. RB Lance Dunbar’s 9 totes for 48 and a TD was likely their best ground production this season, and WR Flynn Nagel made the game interesting, going 6 for 6 and 76 yards (not to mention a crucial conversion to make it a close game).
#4: DC Defenders 2-2 (+0)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The former league-best Defenders looked anything but deserving of that title this weekend, collapsing tremendously and even resorting to putting in backup QB Tyree Jackson late in the game.
Regardless, they couldn’t stop the shutout and go home empty-handed. There were no real offensive highlights and no one blew up the stat-sheet; S Rahim Moore took a nice INT out of the air, but aside from that, it was a dark day in D.C. history. Better luck next week, Defenders fans. Be happy that I didn’t feel justified throwing you lower than the teams you’re ahead of.
5 – Tampa Bay Vipers 1-3 (+3)
Having failed to secure a win through 3 weeks, the Vipers got their first one in style. Handling the league’s former darlings, the DC Defenders, 25-0 in a dominating game that saw QB Cardale Jones get benched was nothing short of a spectacle.
Despite their 1st-time starter in QB Taylor Cornelius hucking it 31 times (completing 24 for 211 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT), it was the Vipers run game that took their best performance yet to the bank. RBs Jacques Patrick (21 attempts for 108 yards, 1 TD) and DeVeon Smith (24 attempts for 122 yards) made for a killer 1-2 punch, both averaging 5.1 yards per rush. Cornelius made an impact here too, scrambling for 36 yards on 4 attempts (including a 17-yard TD rush). Maybe there’s still hope in Tampa.
6 – New York Guardians 2-2 (+1)
Narrowly eking out a win against the L.A. Wildcats doesn’t feel like the beginning of a comeback for New York, but it does mean that they sit a little straighter in the playoff race. Looking like the most dull team in the league is an unfortunate truth, but their defense stood tall enough to carry another uninspiring offensive performance to victory. QB Luis Perez barely did enough, putting up 18/26 for 150 yards and a TD, whilst RB Darius Victor piled on 18 carries for 82 yards.
7 – L.A. Wildcats 1-3 (-2)
QB Josh Johnson looked to do everything but win this time around, hucking the rock a total 40 times (25 completions, 330 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT), but ultimately falling short. With a total +/- of 0 points in the season, they’re on the wrong side of average. Their run game was stagnant, but WRs Tre McBride (8/12 for 127 yards and a TD), and Jordan Smallwood (5/7 for 75 yards) lit up the stat sheet. Fellow WR Saeed Blacknall also took 1 of his 3 targets in for a highlight-reel 42 yard TD.
8 – Seattle Dragons 1-3 (-2)
Falling 7 points shy of one of the best teams in the league is nothing to turn your nose up at, but Seattle needs to get better fast if they plan on competing this postseason. If they don’t shore up their QB situation immediately, they look to be in for a rough year, despite finally finding a rhythm in their RB unit.
WR Austin Proehl took a step back, hauling in a whopping 1 of his 5 targets for 1 yard. A 57-yard heave to WR Alonzo Moore (almost half of this team’s total passing yards) and a 35-yard rush, both by QB BJ Daniels, were the only highlights this week for the Dragons. RB Kenneth Farrow found the end zone for this first time this season.