Arlington Renegades Punch XFL Championship Ticket Against Houston Roughnecks

Arlington Renegades Punch XFL Championship Ticket In Houston

The XFL playoffs are upon us. It all kicked off tonight, as the Houston Roughnecks hosted the Arlington Renegades in another edition of the Texas Throwdown.

Both times these teams played this season, Houston had the edge. Their offensive attack was too much for Arlington to handle, in both week two and week ten.

However, Bob Stoops will look to shift the momentum today. The Arlington Renegades have been stagnant as an offense, but saw some improvements when Luis Perez took over. Meanwhile, the Houston Roughnecks cruised through the South, going 6-0 in divisional games.

Tonight was the first XFL playoff game in over 20 years. Let’s take a look at what happened, as fans were treated to an unexpected result.

First Quarter

It was an excellent start for the Arlington Renegades. Luis Perez and De’Veon Smith got to work, as Smith carried the team down the field. Perez was phenomenal, making plays with his legs to keep the drive alive. Then, he avoided the pressure – and found JaVonta Payton in the endzone to put them up 6-0.

Houston wouldn’t get off on the same foot. After a decent march down the field, Wade Phillips decided to go for it on 4th and 3. They failed, and Arlington took over. The Roughnecks defense held strong, forcing a punt from Arlington.

The Houston Roughnecks couldn’t get into a rhythm. Donald Payne made his return to the Renegades defense, and made an immediate impact, shutting down their drive. With one quarter of play in the books, it was a 6-0 ball game.

Second Quarter

Luis Perez did not want to go home today. He came out firing, finding Payton again on a deep ball with no one in coverage. Payton waltzed into the endzone, and then did the same on the two point conversion. Just like that, the Renegades led 14-0.

Cole McDonald came into the game to replace Silvers, which sparked their offense. Houston swiftly marched down the field with McDonald at the helm, using his legs and his arm. Jeremy Cox capped off the drive with a one yard score, and Houston pulled within six.

Playoff Perez was in full effect for Arlington. It was a seamless drive for the Renegades, with Luis dropping a dime to Brandon Arconado in the back of the end zone. Arconado made an incredible catch, and Arlington went up 20-8.

Houston’s offense continued to stall out, and they punted. Arlington put together an excellent drive, pushing the ball down the field with ease. Perez was absolutely slinging it, and put the team in a spot to score again. Taylor Russolino knocked through a short kick, extending the lead.

Heading into halftime, the Arlington Renegades led 23-8.

Third Quarter

The Houston Roughnecks just could not get out of their own heads. A penalty negated a big third down gain, which led to the team punting once again. Arlington couldn’t capitalize, as Houston’s defense made an important stop.

Arlington’s defensive unit continued to hold strong. McDonald moved the ball a bit better than Silvers, but still could not find a way to get the job done – and Houston punted yet again. The momentum shifted, though, with Tyler Vaughns fumbling the punt – and it was recovered by the Roughnecks.

Houston couldn’t capitalize fully, being held to a field goal. With quite a bit of time left, Austin Jones knocked through a 32 yard kick to make it 23-11.

Luis Perez continued to make plays. On 3rd and 16, he found a way to complete a pass to Caleb Vander-Esch, to move the chains. However, a holding penalty ultimately killed the drive, and Houston got the ball back.

With fifteen minutes left to play, it was still a twelve point affair.

Fourth Quarter

It was a punt-fest throughout the first several minutes of the period. TaVante Beckett made a big-time tackle in the backfield of Smith, which gave Houston the ball back with six minutes to go.

Cole McDonald would make a pivotal mistake down the stretch. He tossed a deep ball right to De’Vante Bausby, which gave Arlington the ball right back.

LuJuan Winningham made up for the earlier drop with an unbelievable catch on 3rd and 8, which kept the chains moving for Arlington.

Arlington would be held to a field goal, which meant that Houston had one last crack at it. With less than two minutes to play, the score was 26-11.

With such little time left, the Houston Roughnecks couldn’t make much of anything happen. The Arlington Renegades shocked the entire league, defeating Houston 26-11 to move on to the XFL Championship game.

Impact Players

RB De’Veon Smith – Smith has been a beast in the red-zone this season, with seven touchdowns. However, his rushing wasn’t up to par compared to his 2020 campaign, averaging just over 3YPC in the regular season. Tonight, he was spectacular – finishing with 94 yards, averaging 4 YPC. His hustle was a key piece to the win.

WR JaVonta Payton – Payton hopped onto the scene out of nowhere, being picked up earlier in the year from Orlando. JaVonta had a monster first half, posting 108 yards and two scores. Without his efforts, Arlington wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as an offense.

QB Luis Perez – What a performance from the spring football legend. Perez played his best football of the season tonight, when his team needed it most. Arlington is headed to the XFL Championship, and it’s because of this man right here.

Final Thoughts

This was quite the performance from the Arlington Renegades. Almost everyone counted them out, but they made it happen. In the league of opportunity, it made sense to see Arlington take advantage of the chance they had tonight.

Luis Perez has been a leader for this team all season since being traded, and stepped up in a major way for the Arlington Renegades tonight. This team is ready to raise hell in the Championship.

This is a disappointing ending to the Houston Roughnecks season. Cole McDonald and Brandon Silvers simply did not play at a high level, which ultimately led to the collapse. After a 7-3 record in the regular season, Houston choked in the postseason.

The XFL playoffs continue tomorrow, with the DC Defenders hosting the Seattle Sea Dragons on ESPN.

What are your thoughts on this game between the Houston Roughnecks and Arlington Renegades? Which XFL players made the most impact? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!