Heading into this game, both XFL teams featured high powered offenses. However, Houston has been much more consistent, with an undefeated 4-0 record. Meanwhile, Seattle has had their woes, at 2-2 on the season, losing a couple of nail-biters.
An interesting storyline, which added to the fun, was the offensive coordinators. AJ Smith returned to the Roughnecks in 2023 as their OC; but former Houston head coach, June Jones, took over the OC duties for Jim Haslett in Seattle.
It was bound to be one heck of a game, and it certainly was. Let’s take a look at what happened, as both defenses had their way for most of the night.
Houston received the football, but couldn’t really go anywhere. Brandon Silvers was taken down in the backfield, pushing them in a hole they couldn’t get out of. Seattle’s defense impressively forced a punt on the opening drive. However, the Roughnecks defense did the same, as both teams traded punts to begin the game.
Brandon Silvers looked completely out of sync to open things up, struggling to find a rhythm. Seattle partially blocked the punt, which set them up nicely when it comes to field position.
Ben DiNucci put the team on his back on their second possession, running multiple times and using his legs to create plays. On 3rd down, he scrambled 20 yards for the score, and the Sea Dragons went up 6-0.
We've got an early score! Ben DiNucci takes it to the house himself, putting the @XFLSeaDragons on top 6-0.
Seattle received the ball to open the second half, but ultimately had to punt. The Sea Dragons kept the foot on the gas pedal, though, making it difficult for Silvers to move the football. Both teams traded multiple punts in the third quarter, as the defenses were winning up front and in the secondary.
Speaking of punts, Houston’s woes at special teams continued. Tuzar Skipper blocked Race Porter’s punt attempt, and Seattle was set up deep in the red zone.
Once again, Seattle made plays on defense. Tuzar Skipper had himself a night, forcing a fumble on Silvers. While Houston recovered, they had nowhere to go and had to punt. With fifteen minutes of action left, it was a 15-0 ball game.
Seattle continued to chew clock, seemingly in a spot where they could score again. However, Morgan Ellison fumbled the football, and it was recovered by Glen Logan for the Roughnecks.
Seattle’s defense came up huge, again. Houston could not move the football, and turned the ball over on downs. The Sea Dragons continued to run the clock out, and Bradwell put the nail in the coffin with a TD run to put the team up 21-6.
Houston was able to make something happen late in the game. Silvers found Justin Smith on a crossing route, who took it in for the score to make it 21-12. A successful two point try from McDonald to Burnett made it 21-14, with under 30 seconds to play.
The Roughnecks converted the 4th and 15 attempt, as Silvers found Deontay Burnett on a perfectly executed out route. It was a wild ending, to say the least. A PI call set up Houston inside the 30 yard line. However, Silvers got stripped of the ball by Elijah Ponder, and it ended up in the hands of Niko Lalos in the final seconds.
WILD FINISH IN SEATTLE. The @XFL2023 after dark is crazy!
The Seattle Sea Dragons took down the Houston Roughnecks, 21-14 at home.
The Seattle Sea Dragons defense came to play. Ron Zook had his squad fired up, as they made the XFL’s best offense through four weeks look completely inept.
While it wasn’t a perfect win, the Sea Dragons picked up a much needed victory at home, improving to 3-2 on the season. Ben DiNucci still has turnover problems, but thankfully it didn’t cost them the game this time.
Houston just lost their first game ever as an XFL franchise. After winning their first nine games between 2020 and 2023, they lose at the hands of June Jones and the Sea Dragons. While they still have control of the South, Wade Phillips has a lot to look at after this poor outing.
What are your takeaways from this XFL game between the Seattle Sea Dragons and Houston Roughnecks? Which XFL players impressed you the most tonight? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!