Seattle Sea Dragons Rally Past Vegas Vipers In XFL Thriller

Seattle Sea Dragons Rally Past Vegas Vipers In XFL Thriller

Week three of the XFL kicked off tonight. The Vegas Vipers hosted the Seattle Sea Dragons, in what was a must-win situation for both teams.

Heading into this game, neither organization had won, sitting at 0-2. Vegas dropped two games against Arlington and DC. Meanwhile, Seattle was in a position to win both weeks, but ultimately lost to St. Louis and DC in the final moments.

This is an important matchup, especially for standings. Sure, it’s only week three – but, the loser of this game sits solely in the last spot in the North Division.

Let’s take a look at what happened, as it was a thriller from start to finish in Vegas.

First Quarter

The Seattle Sea Dragons received the ball, but didn’t get off to a great start. On third down, Vic Beasley forced a fumble on Ben DiNucci, and it was recovered by C.J. Avery for the Vipers.

Vegas capitalized immediately. On third and nine, QB Brett Hundley scrambled out of the pocket, and fired a dart to Jeff Badet. Just a few minutes into the game, the Vipers led 6-0.

Seattle struggled quite a bit on their opening possessions. The Sea Dragons went three and out, unable to get into a groove. The Vipers also had to punt, as Michael Carrisoza impressively buried Seattle inside the 10 yard line, despite the wind.

This time, the Sea Dragons figured things out. Ben DiNucci seamlessly marched the team down the field over 90 yards, putting the team on his back. He then found Blake Jackson across the middle, firing it into the end zone for the score.

Second Quarter

Vegas was unable to find that spark they had on their first drive, having to punt it back to Seattle again. On third down, it seemed like DiNucci was going to pick up the first with his legs – but an excellent open field tackle by Nijel Hill kept him short of the sticks.

Daniel Joseph sacked Hundley, which appeared to end the drive. However, on 3rd and 13, Hundley connected with Mathew Sexton, who made a spectacular catch to keep things moving. Bailey Giffen ended up knocking through a field goal – even with the wind – and finally kicked a successful FG on the XFL season.

Through the second quarter, neither offense could find much of a rhythm. Granted, the wind was certainly playing a factor. Seattle and Vegas both traded punts, stalling out on multiple occasions.

Morgan Ellison ripped off a 35 yard run, which set up the Sea Dragons nicely. DiNucci just missed Pearson on an out route, though, and they settled for a FG attempt. Dominik Eberle capitalized, tying the game up at nine a piece.

Unfortunately, Eberle’s kickoff did not reach the 20 yard line – which put Vegas on Seattle’s 45. After the great field position, the Vipers tried a field goal. It was blocked, though, and the score remained the same. Heading into halftime, it was a 9-9 ball game.

Third Quarter

Vegas looked excellent to start the second half. Brett Hundley made a fantastic throw under pressure to Jeff Badet, who took off for 56 yards to put the Vipers inside the red zone.

Hundley continued to show why he is an NFL-caliber quarterback. He called his own number, running to the outside and walking into the end zone for six. A successful two point conversion to Martavis Bryant put Vegas up 17-9.

Ref Holds XFL Kickoff

We had a hilarious little moment on the kickoff. The wind continued to blow the ball off the tee, so referee Eddie Garcia ended up holding the ball for Giffen, to ensure the kickoff happened.


Third Quarter Continued

Seattle didn’t get off on the same foot in the third quarter. Ben DiNucci was picked off by Adam Sparks, which gave Vegas the ball right back.

The Vipers were finally able to run the ball more efficiently, something they haven’t been able to do all season long. This put them in a position to score, and they did. Bailey Giffen hit a 47 yard field goal, and the Vipers went up 20-9.

On their next possession, Seattle put it together. Jordan Veasy was unstoppable, making a few big-time catches on passes from DiNucci. Then, Ben tossed a dime to Josh Gordon in the back of the end zone, and just like that it was a 20-15 ball game.

Fourth Quarter

Brett Hundley suffered a hamstring injury in the late third quarter, and it was evident on the next drive. Hundley’s mobility was gone, which hurt Rod Woodson’s offense. Vegas had to punt, giving Seattle more life.

Morgan Ellison had a phenomenal game for Seattle, running downhill with a passion. His growth in June Jones’ system proved to be a vital piece to their success against the Vipers tonight. After an outstanding march down the field, Seattle stalled out, settling for a field goal. With several minutes left to play, they trailed 20-18.

Vegas had an answer, though. A solid return from Cinque Sweeting set the team up at midfield. Then, Hundley found a wide open John Lovett on a wheel route, who took it to the house, putting the Vipers on top 26-18.

Speaking of answers, this time it was Seattle’s turn. Ben DiNucci played an amazing second half, once again pushing the ball down the field. He threw a strike to Juwan Green, who got his feet down in bounds in the endzone.

Now, interestingly enough, they elected to go for three, to take the lead. The attempt failed, and Seattle was down by two.

Insane Finish For Seattle Sea Dragons

On 3rd and 11, Hundley came up clutch for Vegas. He found Jeff Badet across the middle, who broke free for the first down as the clock wound down to two minutes. Now, Seattle’s defense did come up with a big stop. A batted ball at the line by Tre Walker ended Vegas’ drive, giving the Sea Dragons one more chance.

The ending to this game was absolutely insane, to say the least. On 4th and two, Ben DiNucci threw a hail mary to Josh Gordon – who secured the catch, and then broke multiple defenders’ ankles as he strolled into the endzone, untouched.

While Vegas had another opportunity with the football, they couldn’t capitalize. Hundley and the Vipers stalled out, ultimately ending the game. The Seattle Sea Dragons came away with a wild win on the road, beating the Vegas Vipers 30-26.

Final Thoughts

This was, without a doubt, the best game in the XFL so far this season. Both the Seattle Sea Dragons and the Vegas Vipers put on a show, giving us plenty of entertainment which included an incredible ending.

Seattle showed just how electrifying they can be as an offense, putting up 30 points led by Ben DiNucci, Josh Gordon, and Jahcour Pearson. DiNucci threw for 377 yards and four TD’s, with two of those scores and 118 yards going to Gordon.

Morgan Ellison also had an outstanding game before getting injured, being the first XFL running back to rush for over 100 yards in a game in 2023. Jim Haslett and his Sea Dragons might just get on a roll.

The Vegas Vipers have to figure things out, as they are now 0-3. This team played solid football for most of the night, but couldn’t get the job done down the stretch. Rod Woodson has to make adjustments, quickly.

Week three of the XFL continues tomorrow, as the DC Defenders host the St. Louis Battlehawks at 1pm ET.

What did you think of this matchup between the Vegas Vipers and Seattle Sea Dragons? Which XFL players made the most impact in today’s game? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!