XFL Week Three Review: Major Takeaways From Each Matchup

XFL Week Three: Major Takeaways From Each Matchup

Week three in the XFL has come and gone, and it was quite entertaining. In fact, it was probably the best weekend of XFL football we’ve seen so far.

There was something for everyone in week three. From a walkoff hail mary to Josh Gordon, to a wild rivalry brewing between St. Louis and DC – there was a ton of action across the board.

Let’s take a look at what happened in each week three matchup, and where each team stands moving forward.

Seattle Sea Dragons, 30 | Vegas Vipers, 26

Seattle’s offense is legit. This XFL franchise put on a show against Vegas, with one of the greatest performances we’ve ever seen in spring football.

Ben DiNucci threw for almost 400 yards and four touchdowns. Josh Gordon and Jahcour Pearson were unstoppable, recording over 200 yards receiving and two scores. June Jones has this unit looking like one of the best in the XFL.

On top of that, Morgan Ellison might be the best back in the league. He’s gotten better with each week, and posted the first 100 yard game in the XFL against Vegas. Hopefully, he recovers from his injury sooner than later.

If the Sea Dragons can continue to produce at a high level offensively, they will be in great shape. Their defense doesn’t have to be outstanding – it just has to be good enough to give their offense a chance to win.

The Vipers Are Striking…Out

Rod Woodson’s Vipers have started the season 0-3, and it’s because this team has been unable to execute when it matters most.

With Seattle’s backs up against the wall – 4th and two – Vegas’ defense allowed one of the most ridiculous touchdowns we’ve ever seen. Josh Gordon catches what should’ve been an interception, and then makes two defenders look silly as he backpedals into the endzone.

While this team is stacked with talent, they just haven’t put it together. Brett Hundley did play quite well as the starter, making an impact. He also led the team in rushing yards, with 66. Besides a couple of decent runs from Rod Smith, though, the ground game was lacking. Jeff Badet is doing Jeff Badet things, but it isn’t enough.

The Vipers have a lot to figure out if they want to still be competitive in the North. With just seven weeks left, they have to get to work quickly.

DC Defenders, 34 | St. Louis Battlehawks, 28

The DC Defenders have sole possession of the North Division, which has got to feel good. You know who feels good after this weekend? Jordan Ta’amu. I am now eating my words from last week, when I stated that D’Eriq King should start.

Ta’amu proved everyone wrong, putting on an absolute show in the district. His ability to push the ball down the field was something we’ve been waiting to see all year long. Ta’amu throwing the football well meant that the ground game didn’t have to carry the entire weight of the offense. Lucky Jackson and Chris Blair both were amazing, putting in quality minutes Reggie Barlow’s squad.

DC’s defense also did an excellent job of recovering in the fourth quarter. After St. Louis had rocked them for almost the entire game, the Defenders defended when they needed to most. Of course, having such an incredible fanbase – and beer snake energy – behind them is beneficial.

Michael Joseph is already an XFL star, and we’re only three weeks into the season. His pick six gave DC a solid cushion, and he continued to make big-time plays throughout the game. Davin Bellamy also made an impact, forcing clutch fumbles – and, sacking McCarron on the final play.

Reggie Barlow has his DC Defenders looking like the team to beat in the XFL. They feature plenty of talent across the board, and are poised to make a deep playoff run in the league this season.

St. Louis: Still Looking Solid

To be quite honest, St. Louis played a great game of football against DC. Simply put, they didn’t execute as often as the Defenders did, hence why they lost.

AJ McCarron was on point, throwing for four touchdowns. His decision making has improved week in and week out, and he will continue to be a staple piece of Anthony Becht’s offense.

It was great to see Brian Hill back on the field, after missing last week with a hamstring injury. He played impressively well, despite still dealing with the pain. WR Hakeem Butler was unreal, putting on a show for his squad. Offensively, it was a solid day for St. Louis.

Defensively, this team might have to adjust. They were decent through the first two weeks, but got run over by Ta’amu and the Defenders. Moving forward, they have to do a better job of getting at the quarterback. Both Ta’amu – and King – had it way too easy.

Arlington Renegades, 10 | Orlando Guardians, 9

Arlington got by the worst team in the league by the skin of their teeth. Sure, they’re 2-1, but Bob Stoops shouldn’t be too enthusiastic about how his offense is playing.

The good news: this defense is legit. Arlington continues to force turnovers, especially in crucial and clutch moments. Donald Payne has been a beast, no surprise. Darnell Sankey stepped up to the task, and Will Hill was all over the place. Jay Haye’s defense has been spectacular, and it’s keeping Arlington’s season alive.

Kyle Sloter got his first crack at it, and was serviceable. Something just seems off in Stoops’ system at the moment. Neither quarterback has had success pushing the ball down the field. This has to change if the Renegades want to compete against better XFL franchises.

De’Veon Smith and Kenneth Farrow both struggled to run the football effectively. While the quarterbacks have been underwhelming – so is the ground attack. Both backs have to provide Sloter with more production, otherwise this offense isn’t going anywhere.

Orlando Is A Mess…Part III

It’s crazy that the Guardians played their best game of the season, and only scored nine points – a season low. It was not an ideal fourth quarter for the team, who gave up a go-ahead touchdown to Arlington after keeping Sloter contained for most of the outing.

Across the board, this XFL organization has been a disaster. Paxton Lynch isn’t the greatest quarterback around – but he’s playing better than what he’s gotten credit for. The offensive line has been horrible for most of the season. Even though they played better on Sunday, it still wasn’t near the level of play that it should be at.

Interestingly enough, the ground game was non-existent. Jah-Maine Martin has been solid, but only posted nine yards against Arlington. Terrell Buckley has not been able to get his offense into a consistent groove, as they continue to face the same issues week after week.

This team boasts some of the best offensive players – and defensive players – in the entire XFL. They shut down the Renegades for almost the entire game. But, from the top down, things have not been run efficiently since day one. The Quinten Dormady drama sure doesn’t help, either. If this team has any chance of turning their season around, it starts with Buckley.

Houston Roughnecks, 22 | San Antonio Brahmas, 13

H-Town is looking dangerous. The Houston Roughnecks dominated for most of the night, taking the Brahmas by the reins and reeling them in.

Brandon Silvers has been on fire in AJ Smith’s offense. He threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns against San Antonio, dicing up Hines Ward’s defense time and time again. Max Borghi continues to be one of the XFL’s best stories, posting 74 yards on just 15 carries.

Jontre Kirklin is shining in Houston. This offense is so dynamic, and it’s because of playmakers like Kirklin who are constantly making an impact. Silvers is surrounded by so many weapons it makes his life easy; as he’s consistently able to find receivers in stride.

How about that Roughnecks defense? They had a ridiculous goal line stand, which essentially won them the game. Ajene Harris had one of the craziest interceptions you’ll ever see, and Houston rolled to a 3-0 record. This team is ready to do damage in the XFL.

San Antonio: Too Inconsistent

Jack Coan’s stat line last week: almost 200 yards, and three touchdowns. This week? 8/20, with only 64 yards. The Brahmas had no juice whatsoever against Houston, outmanned for the entire game.

Coan is a great quarterback. Houston simply had his number all night. Also, the fact that he threw only 20 passes shows that this team didn’t have possession of the ball enough times. The Brahmas were lackluster throughout large portions of the match, as Hines Ward was increasingly frustrated with each failed drive.

Houston racked up 374 yards of offense, to San Antonio’s measly 162. As the season continues, the Brahmas have to execute on a more consistent basis. Ward was out-coached by Wade Phillips on Sunday night, as it was quite evident who the better team was.

Final Thoughts

Overall, week three was the best so far in the XFL. We were treated to four very competitive matchups, and got a good glimpse into which teams are the real deal, and which franchises have a lot of work left to do.

Week four of the XFL will be upon us before we know it. The Orlando Guardians host the Houston Roughnecks at 7pm ET, on FX.

What did you think of XFL week three games? Which XFL players and teams impressed you the most? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!