Another thrilling XFL weekend has come and gone. Week 3 featured an offensive awakening for the majority of the league. Here is what happened:
Seattle Sea Dragons 30, Vegas Vipers 26
In Las Vegas, quarterback Ben DiNucci put on a clinic as the Seattle Sea Dragons came from behind to defeat the Vegas Vipers. DiNucci was 29-for-37 for 377 yards and four touchdowns. DiNucci’s final touchdown pass came with less than two minutes to go in the game, connecting with Josh Gordon on fourth down for a 65 yard touchdown pass. Gordon finished the night with 6 receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Seattle also got a big rushing day from running back Morgan Ellison. Ellison rushed 17 times for 103 yards.
Vegas came up short, but had some bright spots offensively. Quarterback Brett Hundley looked even more comfortable in the offense, passing for 224 yards. Hundley also added 66 yards rushing and a touchdown.
DC Defenders 34, St. Louis Battlehawks 28
Fans flocked to Audi Field to attend the marquee matchup of the weekend, and they were not disappointed. DC and St. Louis battled to a tie at halftime, with the Defenders pulling away late. DC intercepted an AJ McCarron pass on the one yard line at the end of the game, but on the ensuing possession the snap was mishandled, resulting in a Battlehawk recovery. McCarron then tossed a touchdown pass and the Battlehawks converted the two point conversion, making the score 34-28. On the 4-and-15 onsides try, McCarron was sacked by Davin Bellamy, in what should have ended the game. After the sack a fight broke out, resulting in three player ejections. It was a bit of a black eye on an otherwise thrilling game.
For DC, the rushing attack chewed up 136 yards and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu looked better in the pocket, going 11-for20 for 196 yards and a touchdown pass. Defensively, the Defenders forced four Battlehawk turnovers, including a Michael Joseph pick six in the first quarter.
St. Louis was unable to pull of the comeback this weekend, as the four uncharacteristic turnovers doomed the Battlehawks. Quarterback AJ McCarron went 26-for-42 for 262 yards and four touchdown passes, but also threw two costly interceptions. Wide Receiver Hakeem Butler had 9 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. Butler is emerging as one of the league’s premier pass catchers.
Arlington Renegades 10, Orlando Guardians 9
In the lowest scoring game of the weekend, the Arlington Renegades were able to hold off the Orlando Guardians. The loss kept Orlando winless on the season, while Arlington moved to 2-1. In the defensive struggle, Arlington was able to force two turnovers, while Orlando was not able to record a takeaway.
Orlando was led by quarterback Paxton Lynch, who went 19-for-31 for 219 yards. Lynch also added 43 yard rushing on ten carries, scoring the only Guardian touchdown on the day. Receiver/TE Cody Latimer had six receptions for 66 yards, leading all Orlando receivers.
Arlington made a change at quarterback this weekend, putting in Kyle Sloter for the first time this season. Sloter went 18-for-23 for 124 yards and one touchdown. Sloter’s favorite target was Tyler Vaughs, who had five receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, the Renegades got 49 yards on 18 carries from running back De’Veon Smith.
Houston Roughnecks 22, San Antonio Brahmas 13
In Houston, the Roughneck defense stymied San Antonio. Brahma Quarterback Jack Coan, who was prolific in week 2, was held to just 64 yards passing, going 8-for-20 on passing attempts. Houston got a spectacular late game interception from corner Ajene Harris that sealed the victory for the Roughnecks.
Houston was led by a big passing day from quarterback Brandon Silvers. Silvers was 24-for-35 for 278 yards with three touchdown passes. Silvers’ favorite target was Jontre Kirklin, who caught six passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, running back Max Borghi had 15 carries for 74 yards, and added four receptions as well.
San Antonio was not effective on the offensive side of the ball. In addition to Coan’s meager 64-yard passing day, running back Jacques Patrick rushed for only 36 yards. Although the Brahmas only turned the ball over once, but were forced to punt six times.
David Taylor can be found on twitter @DavidTaylorXFL and on instagram @xfl_football_photos