Heading into this matchup, there was a lot of hype surrounding both teams. The Brahmas are led by HC Hines Ward, the former Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Meanwhile, Anthony Becht has put together a talented roster in St. Louis, ready to take flight against SA.
To no one’s surprise, it was a close battle. It took a wild turn in the fourth quarter – so, let’s take a look at what happened.
To start the game, St. Louis received the football. AJ McCarron came out for the Battlehawks, ready to show the XFL what he’s capable of. After a quick start, the Battlehawks stalled out, and had to punt.
Kalen Ballage was great for San Antonio to start. He knocked off a couple of big runs right away, which put the Brahmas offense in a rhythm. However, a tipped pass ended up in the hands of the Battlehawks, as Nate Meadors made an athletic interception to give the ball back to STL.
Nate Meadors made an incredible INT for the @XFLBattlehawks, putting St. Louis in excellent field position.
Interestingly enough, with St. Louis having the ball at mid-field, they went for it on 4th and 1. McCarron overthrew Jake Sutherland, and the San Antonio Brahmas took over on downs. Jack Coan pushed the ball down the field, putting SA in scoring position. Parker Romo knocked through a field goal, and the Brahmas led 3-0.
AJ McCarron just couldn’t find his groove in the first period. He missed another WR, Jennings, on third down, so the Battlehawks had to punt again.
On San Antonio’s next drive, they started to settle in as an offense. Landon Akers and Jacques Patrick both made impact plays to keep the chains moving. After an excellent drive, St. Louis made a play. Travis Feeney stripped Coan of the football, and then picked it up, returning it a long ways.
TRAVIS FEENEY. Massive play for the @XFLBattlehawks. Feeney strips Jack Coan of the ball, picks it up, and puts the Battlehawks in excellent position to score.
After the great field position, St. Louis finally capitalized, somewhat. Michael Scott made an important sack on AJ McCarron, forcing a field goal. Donny Hageman knocked through the 32 yard attempt, tying the game at 3.
Throughout the entire first half, it was clear that both defenses were in control. Neither offense could get into any sort of rhythm, no matter what the play call was. Offensive lines were a disaster, failing to block well at all. St. Louis forced another punt from San Antonio, hoping to score one more time before the half.
If you're a fan of defensive football, you're loving this @XFL2023 game right now.
It was a similar story for St. Louis, as they had to punt again. LB Ben Davis made a couple of clutch plays for San Antonio, giving them the ball right back.
The Brahmas were able to string together a few first downs. WR Jalen Tolliver made a ridiculous catch across the middle, and Patrick helped put the team in a position to score. However, Parker Romo missed a field goal, and we went into halftime with a 3-3 ball game.
The San Antonio Brahmas line made a better push to start the second half. Ballage ripped off a couple of big gains, which allowed Coan to start finding his receivers. St. Louis’ defense held up in the red zone, though, and the Brahmas settled for a short field goal to take a 6-3 lead.
It was an ugly outing for the Battlehawks, again. Penalties and poor line play led to another three and out, as McCarron got sacked by Kobe Smith. At this point in the game, St. Louis only had two total first downs. Clearly, that’s not how you win a ball game.
Meanwhile, the Brahmas looked rusty as well. Jalen Tolliver dropped a pass on third down, leading to another SA punt. However, STL was dead in the water. Ranthony Texada blitzed McCarron, who didn’t have a chance – and the Battlehawks had to punt again.
Heading into the final fifteen minutes, it was a 6-3 ball game.
It was quite the start to the final period for the Brahmas. Jack Coan marched the team down the field, making play after play. He then found Fred Brown in the end zone for the score, which put San Antonio on top 12-3. A missed PAT kept it a one score game, however.
WE HAVE A TOUCHDOWN. Jack Coan finds Fred Brown, tossing a beautiful dime for the @XFLBrahmas score.
Brian Hill took off for a big scamper for the Battlehawks, but it didn’t matter. After a decent drive, McCarron sputtered out – and so did St. Louis. Donny Hageman shanked a field goal, and the score remained 12-3.
San Antonio continued to pick up chunk yardage, powered by Kalan Ballage and his shifty, powerful presence in the backfield. Parker Romo knocked through a 48 yard field goal, which put San Antonio on top 15-3 with just a few minutes left to play.
JOHN PARKER ROMO IS HIM!!
ROMO IS GOOD FROM 48 YARDS OUT AND MAKES IT A 2-SCORE GAME FOR THE @XFLBrahmas!
Well, it certainly seemed like the ending of this game would be slow. That notion was proven wrong, instantly. AJ McCarron pushed the ball down the field with ease – out of nowhere. On 3rd and 12, he found Hakeem Butler for a score, to make it a 15-9 ball game.
WE HAVE A GAME!! AJ McCarron finds Hakeem Butler for the late score for the @XFLBattlehawks.
Austin Proehl absolutely took over this football game. He then went on to make a fantastic sideline grab on the 4th and 15 conversion – giving St. Louis the ball back. Remember, in the XFL, you can choose this alternative option rather than an onsides kick.
With less than 20 seconds left, the St. Louis Battlehawks shocked the entire arena. McCarron found Proehl again in the endzone, essentially putting the game on ice. Just like that, St. Louis led 18-15.
OH MY GOSH. AUSTIN PROEHL. XFL LEGEND. THE BATTLEHAWKS HAVE THE LEAD. THIS IS MADNESS.
While San Antonio had one final chance with the football, the Battlehawks swarmed Coan in the backfield, taking him down and ending the game. In a crazy sequence of events, St. Louis came away with the 18-15 victory on the road.
This was, without a doubt, absolutely wild. The XFL just had one of their greatest games of all time. After what was a dud for most of the afternoon, the final few minutes were nothing short of sensational.
San Antonio is going to have to figure things out moving forward. The Brahmas blew a 12 point lead in just a few minutes, unable to adjust to the innovative XFL rules which allowed for the comeback.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Battlehawks are on cloud nine. Anthony Becht’s team couldn’t do anything for most of the game – and still came away with the win. This was an unbelievable win for this squad, and they’ll look to ride that momentum into week two.
What did you think of today’s game between the San Antonio Brahmas and St. Louis Battlehawks? Which players made the most of their XFL opportunities today? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!