Houston Roughnecks Take Out Orlando Guardians in Season Opener

Houston Roughnecks Take Out Guardians in Home Opener

It continues to be a monumental day for the XFL. The Houston Roughnecks hosted the Orlando Guardians, as both franchises kicked off their respective seasons.

Heading into this game, it was tough to determine who would come out victorious. Both the Roughnecks, and the Guardians, feature quite a bit of talent on their rosters. However, with any new league, it is not easy to predict what will actually happen on the field.

Thankfully, it was an excellent game for XFL fans.

First Quarter

To kick things up, Orlando received the football. Jah-Maine Martin made an impact early, picking up a few important first downs for the Guardians. Now, Orlando scored – on a wild play. Cody Latimer and Sean Davis fought for possession of a ball as Lynch tossed it to the end zone. After a long review, they called it a touchdown.

Despite the controversial call, the Guardians took a 6-0 lead. However, Houston held the team from scoring the two point conversion. The Roughnecks took over with great field position, but couldn’t move the football, and punted quickly.

While Martin and Latimer continued to make big plays, Orlando’s offense stalled out on their second drive. On fourth down, Terrell Buckley elected to go for it. While the pass was caught by Stephen Guidry, he was short of the first down, and the ball was turned over on downs.

Houston took advantage of the short field. QB Brandon Silvers looked much better on this possession, pushing the ball down field. Silvers found Jontre Kirklin on 3rd down, on a beautiful back-shoulder throw for the score. The PAT failed, as the game was tied at 6-6.

Orlando began to march the ball back down the field before the quarter came to an end. Andrew Jamiel made an amazing catch on an underthrown pass, setting the Guardians up nicely.

Second Quarter

Unfortunately for Orlando, they couldn’t capitalize. Houston’s defense held up, forcing a field goal attempt – which was missed, and the game remained tied at 6.

The Roughnecks began to put on a show for their home crowd. Silvers looked fluid out on the field, making plays when needed. Then, he threw a deep ball to Deontay Burnett – who made a spectacular one handed catch – taking it all the way to the house. Just like that, Houston led 12-6.

Orlando’s offense continued to struggle. Lynch looked uncomfortable in the pocket, and Buckley’s squad couldn’t find a rhythm. Halfway through the second quarter, Orlando was forced to punt.

Houston pounded Orlando on the offensive end. After a dropped touchdown pass, the Roughnecks scored again. Max Borghi scampered in from 27 yards out, and Houston took an 18-6 lead.

It was an ugly second half for Paxton Lynch. His offensive line didn’t protect him well, and it showed. Orlando punted again, and Houston continued to dominate. Kirklin made a ridiculous catch on the sidelines, putting the Roughnecks in field goal range.

Hunter Duplessis nailed a 33 yard kick, and the Roughnecks went up 21-6. Orlando, once again, went nowhere. Houston’s defensive line was unstoppable, getting to Lynch time and time again. Heading into halftime, the Roughnecks held a 15 point lead.

Third Quarter

To start the second half, Houston looked like they were on cruise control. Brandon Silvers & Co. continued to push the ball down field with ease. That being said, Silvers made a crucial mistake – throwing an interception to Matt Elam, ending the drive.

Both offenses were a bit stale in the third period. The two teams traded punts with one another, as the score remained the same. Orlando desperately needed something on offense, but just could not figure it out.

Brandon Silvers started to look a bit more like 2020 Silvers in the third quarter. He threw another interception, this time to Marcus Murphy Jr. – once again, giving momentum to Orlando.

However, Paxton Lynch was just not feeling it tonight. He threw a pick right back to Houston, as TaVante Beckett made the bobbling grab. He did take it to the house, but a penalty negated the return. The Roughnecks couldn’t capitalize on the turnover, and punted the ball back to Orlando.

Fourth Quarter

Quinten Dormandy came in for Orlando at QB, but it didn’t seem to matter too much. A quick three and out led to another punt, and Houston took over.

Trumaine Washington made an excellent play on the ball after Houston marched into the redzone, which forced a field goal. With time ticking quickly, Houston led 24-6.

Orlando finally found some life. Quinten Dormandy found Andrew Jamiel on a 51 yard dime, putting the Guardians right back in the game. The PAT was unsuccessful, but the team only trailed by 12.

Just when it seemed like the Guardians were getting back into the game, they weren’t. Orlando forced a punt – but Eli Rogers muffed the punt, and Alexander Myres jumped on it. This led to a QB sneak from Cole McDonald on 4th and goal, which put Houston up 30-12 with just a couple minutes left to play.

Sean Davis put the game on ice, getting revenge for the controversial call earlier in the night. Davis picked off Dormandy, effectively ending things for Orlando. Houston went on to win, 33-12 in an impressive showing at home.

Final Thoughts

Houston controlled this game from the get go, and ultimately came away victorious. The Roughnecks dominated Orlando up front, and in the secondary. For fans in the stadium, they were treated to an exciting matchup from start to finish.

Coach Wade Phillips has his squad looking solid, as the franchise remains undefeated.

The XFL continues tomorrow. First, the San Antonio Brahmas host the St. Louis Battlehawks at 3pm ET. Then, the DC Defenders host the Seattle Sea Dragons at 8pm ET.

Did you enjoy watching todays’ opening slate of XFL games? What did you think of this game in particular? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!