St. Louis Battlehawks Blow Out Helpless Defenders, Snap DC Home-Streak

St. Louis Battlehawks Blow Out Helpless Defenders, Snap DC Home-Streak

The St. Louis Battlehawks and DC Defenders faced off for their first matchup of the UFL season on Sunday afternoon at Audi Field. The Defenders entered Sunday’s affair historically undefeated at Audi Field (10-0), a record dating back to XFL 2020.

St. Louis is the hottest team in the XFL conference, currently riding a three game win-streak after falling week one to Michigan. The Battlehawks defeated the Showboats last weekend, 32-17, in what was a dominant performance by HC Anthony Becht’s group throughout. 

The last time these two teams played at Audi Field was last season in the XFL, where the game finished with a brawl that resulted in multiple suspensions for each team. The Defenders won the game, 34-28.

If you missed this week’s game preview, be sure to check it out before reading.

First Quarter

The Battlehawks received the opening kickoff from DC, and returner Blake Jackson wasted zero time as he returned the kick to DC’s 25-yard line. 

The Defenders quickly shifted the tides though, as defensive end Malik Fisher began his impressive afternoon with a strip sack and recovery on Battlehawks quarterback AJ McCarron. A vital early turnover for DC’s defense.

Unfortunately for the beer snake faithful, the Defenders offense gave the ball right back to St. Louis on a Jordan Ta’amu pass that was intercepted by Battlehawks defensive back Brandon Sebastian.

On the ensuing possession for St. Louis, McCarron led the Battlehawks offense down the field and finished it off with a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hakeem Butler.

Ta’amu was clearly uncomfortable in the pocket early on, throwing his second interception into tight coverage, this time to Kameron Kelly.

Second Quarter

Battlehawks kicker Andre Szmyt opened up the scoring in the second quarter, extending the Battlehawks lead over DC to 17-0 at a hushed Audi Field. 

The Defenders put together their best drive of the game, courtesy of a couple STL penalties, and found the end zone with RB Cam’Ron Harris from one-yard out.

Kelvin Harmon is coming off a performance against Birmingham where he finished with five receptions for 93 yards, and a touchdown. He continued his midseason heater this week, contributing a 15 yard touchdown reception as the first half came to a close. Putting DC back within one possession, 17-12. 

Third Quarter

Both team’s opened the second half with stalling drives.

Defenders DE Malik Fisher has undoubtedly been DC’s top pass-rusher this season, and extended his team lead of sacks with three total today. His third sack ended this third quarter drive for the Battlehawks. 

Andre Szmyt continued his perfect game in the second half, scoring the only points of the quarter from 39-yards out. Szmyt finished the game 4/4. 

Fourth Quarter

The first play of the fourth quarter was bad news for the Defenders, as Battlehawks DE Pita Taumoepenu stripped the ball from Ta’amu and St. Louis LB Willie Harvey Jr. recovered to grant the ball back to the visiting team.

The Defenders were stuffed on a fourth down attempt following Gallman’s touchdown, giving the ball back to St. Louis’ banged up offense. Even with plenty of injuries across the offensive line, St. Louis continued to give McCarron time, allowing him to find Hakeem Butler once again for an incredible 80-yard touchdown connection to dig the dagger deeper into DC’s heart. This is the longest scoring play of the UFL season, so far. Butler finished the game with six receptions for 147 yards, and two touchdowns. 

The onslaught did not end there, as St. Louis found themselves with possession once again, and let running back Jacob Saylors do the rest from nine yards out. Hakeem Butler continued his dominance over Gareon Conley, converting a two point conversion on a fade route over the former NFL first round pick. If it wasn’t clear before, it was now, as the Battlehawks now led 39-12 over DC.

The Defenders offense was powerless in the fourth quarter. With the rowdy Audi crowd mostly departed, St. Louis took advantage once again on special teams with another blocked punt on Defenders punter Paxton Brooks.

Following the second blocked punt, Manny Wilkins replaced AJ McCarron at quarterback late in the game. Even with the late QB switch, St. Louis did not hesitate to tack more points on the board, pushing Wilkins forward for another Battlehawks touchdown. The Battlehawks now with a 45-12 lead over DC, sending a clear signal to the rest of the league.

The St. Louis Battlehawks defeated the DC Defenders, 45-12 at Audi Field. The Battlehawks snap the Defenders all-time home winning streak of ten straight wins.

Final Thoughts

It was a rough day for the Defenders offense, more specifically QB Jordan Ta’amu, who finished today 12/23 for 101 passing yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Ta’amu also lost a fumble today. Deondre Francois replaced Ta’amu during the last offensive possession for DC.

The Defenders defense did a good job of holding St. Louis to field goals in the first half, but poor special teams play and bad field position caused them to give up points in the second half. The Defenders continue the toughest portion of their schedule next week at home, hosting the San Antonio Brahmas. 

Meanwhile, the Battlehawks have now beaten the Defenders for the first time in the team’s history, and move to 4-1 this season. Anthony Becht’s group is riding a four-game win streak and will face the Houston Roughnecks next weekend in St. Louis.

What are your thoughts on this game between the DC Defenders and St. Louis Battlehawks? Which UFL players impressed you? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!