So far, both these franchises have had a lot of success in the XFL. DC has won two in a row, coming off of a dominant win in Vegas last weekend. Meanwhile, the Battlehawks are the team of destiny, winning both of their matchups in the final seconds.
It was bound to be an exciting game in DC, and it certainly was. Let’s take a look at what happened…
St. Louis received the football to start, but went absolutely nowhere. DC’s defense burst out of the gate, shutting down the Battlehawks. Joe Wallace made a big tackle in the backfield, leading to an early punt for STL.
The Defenders looked the part on offense, as well. Jordan Ta’amu came out swinging, dropping a 57 yard dime to Chris Blair to set the team up in the red zone.
Ta’amu then found Ethan Wolf in the end zone, which put DC up 8-0 after a successful two point conversion. Couldn’t have been a better start for the Defenders.
It wasn’t an ideal start for AJ McCarron. On his next drive, McCarron threw an interception to CB Michael Joseph, who returned it for six. Just like that, DC led 14-0.
Michael Joseph is RIDICULOUS. He picks off AJ McCarron, and takes it to the house to put DC up 14-0.
No matter how down and out St. Louis may appear to start a game, they find a way to put it together. AJ McCarron seamlessly led the team down the field, throwing darts. He then passed it to Brian Hill out of the backfield, who waltzed into the endzone. A successful two point attempt to Darrius Shepherd made it a 14-8 ball game.
Ryquell Armstead took the first carry for DC’s next possession – and immediately fumbled. Ben DeLuca recovered for St. Louis, and they took over. However, Donny Hageman missed a 53 yard field goal, and it was DC football.
It was not a good first quarter for Armstead. He fumbled once again, and St. Louis was able to recover for the second time. Heading into the next quarter, DC led 14-8.
This game got a bit out of hand with the turnovers. St. Louis marched down inside DC’s 10 yard line, poised to score again. However, Mateo Durant coughed it up – and DeJuan Neal recovered for the Defenders.
Special teams players don’t get enough attention. Daniel Whelan, punter for the DC Defenders, was outstanding today. Even though DC couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively, Whelan uncorked a couple of bombs, pushing St. Louis back deep into their own territory.
Daniel Whelan shows off his huge leg with a booming 61-yard punt!
After what was a ridiculous first quarter from an offensive perspective, the next period told a much different story. Both defenses were on fire, stuffing their opponents time and time again.
On St. Louis’ next drive, Hakeem Butler was unstoppable. McCarron kept going back to Butler, simply because he was always open. St. Louis capped off the possession with, guess who, Butler. McCarron zipped one into Hakeem to close out the half, and we went into halftime with a 14-14 ball game.
Good grief, Hakeem Butler is one of one. He put the @XFLBattlehawks on his back, making play after play on this final drive of the half. St. Louis is in business!
DC kicked their offense back into gear to begin the second half. Jordan Ta’amu hit Lucky Jackson in stride, who was wide open down the sidelines. The team settled for a field goal, and Matthew McCrane knocked it through to give DC a 17-14 lead.
St. Louis came right back. Darrius Shepherd ripped off the biggest return we’ve seen yet, putting the team deep in DC territory.
Lucky Jackson and Jordan Ta’amu continued to connect in the third quarter. Jackson was wide open again, and Ta’amu dropped a dime to set DC up nicely. Then, Jordan ran it in from a couple yards out, to put DC back on top. A successful two point attempt to Jackson made it 25-20.
D’Eriq King was utilized on the Defenders next drive, and it paid off. King, alongside Abram Smith, ran the ball effectively. Then, in the red zone, King threw a dart to Chris Blair in the end zone, and DC led 34-20.
Darrius Shepherd had another massive return for St. Louis, which was a spark that the team desperately needed. However, the Battlehawks were unable to convert on a short fourth down attempt, and DC took over.
What helped the Defenders in the second half, was the long drives they had. St. Louis wasn’t playing bad football, but it was tough for them to get into a rhythm when the Defenders held possession for elongated periods of time.
As time trickled down, the St. Louis Battlehawks were unable to score. Kentrell Brice picked off McCarron, effectively ending the game, or so we thought.
Jordan Ta’amu fumbled the football on the next play, and Ben DeLuca recovered for St. Louis. Then, McCarron found Steven Mitchell in the end zone – and – a successful two point conversion, and it was 34-28 just like that.
What did you think of this matchup between the DC Defenders and the St. Louis Battlehawks? Which XFL players made the most impact today? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!