DC Defenders Decimate Showboats In Memphis

DC Defenders Decimate Showboats In Memphis

Week nine of the UFL wrapped up today with a regional double header on FOX. The Memphis Showboats hosted the DC Defenders, in what was the first matchup in franchise history between these two teams.

Both of these organizations are no longer in playoff contention. The Memphis Showboats have been in a free fall, losing seven straight. They were eliminated back in week seven this season. John DeFilippo has been looking for stability at the QB position – and hasn’t been able to get it.

On the DC Defenders side, it’s been a disappointing season. They had an opportunity to throw themselves into the thick of the postseason race last week, with St. Louis missing A.J. McCarron. Instead, they fell 26-21 on the road, and are no longer eligible to make a playoff run. After making it to the XFL Championship last year with a 9-1 record, their 3-5 stance is far from what many expected.

Let’s take a look at what went down at Simmons Liberty Bank Stadium today.

First Quarter

The Memphis Showboats received the football, and Troy Williams trotted out onto the field. He was inactive last week, due to an injury. Despite a decent start to the drive with Darius Victor running the football, the Showboats had to punt.

Memphis got off to a fast defensive start, with Quenton Meeks sacking Jordan Ta’amu.

However, DC would opt to go for it on 4th and 2, and it paid off. Ta’amu found Chris Rowland on a short crossing route, who took it the distance, putting the Defenders in front 6-0.

The Showboats wouldn’t have much more success offensively. Deandre Baker made a great open field tackle on Jonathan Adams, forcing another punt.

With one quarter down, the Defenders had the football, and were marching into Showboats territory.

Second Quarter

Keke Coutee, who’s been relatively quiet this season, made an impact for DC. He took an end around in the red zone, and scored with ease. The two point conversion to Kaden Smith was complete, and the Defenders had a 14-0 lead.

Memphis could not get out of their own way. Troy Williams struggled to escape the pressure early, and went down in the backfield on third down, with Montae Nicholson getting the sack. Chris Rowland had a massive return, and DC was in business.

However, the Defenders would make a mistake. Jordan Ta’amu has not protected the football this year, and threw his eighth interception – leading all quarterbacks. D.J. Daniel got his first pick of the season, and Memphis took over.

DeFilippo made a change at quarterback, bringing in Josh Love who played well last week against Michigan. The Defenders’ pass rush was tough to overcome, though, and Memphis had to punt again. Jordan Ferguson played a great game alongside Meeks for the Showboats, and the duo forced a punt from DC.

Memphis finally put something together. Darius Victor ripped off a couple of big runs, and scored a touchdown for the first time in a long time. A successful PAT to Jonathan Adams made it a 14-7 game.

The Showboats defense could not get themselves a consistent stop. DC marched right down the field in two minutes, and Jordan Ta’amu found Alex Ellis for a touchdown. A two point try from Ta’amu was converted, and the DC Defenders held a 22-7 lead.

Third Quarter

The DC Defenders continued to roll with ease during the second half. Right out of the gate, they marched right down the field, getting into scoring position. Jordan Ta’amu called his own number for the touchdown, and DC took a 30-7 lead following another successful two point try.

It was another discouraging drive for Memphis. Love was back in at quarterback, but could not find a way to evade the pressure. DC got home again, forcing another punt.

The Memphis Showboats would make a defensive play, after DC got into the red zone. Ta’amu overthrew his intended target, and Delrick Abrams Jr. made the pick for the Showboats.

With fifteen minutes left to go, the Showboats had the football – down 23 at home.

Fourth Quarter

It took a little longer than the team wanted, but they got back to the end zone early in the fourth. Josh Love marched them down the field, connecting with Vinny Papale for a touchdown to make it 30-13.

Once again, Memphis couldn’t get stops. Jalan McClendon came into the game for DC, and looked fantastic, utilizing his mobility to make plays. Jalan ended up scrambling into the end zone himself, putting the Defenders in front 36-13.

Josh Love played a relatively clean game, but came up short on this next possession. He overthrew a deep ball, which was intercepted by Gareon Conley, and DC took over.

Memphis got back into the game – at least to an extent. Love found Adams for a large gain, and then ran it in himself. A two point try made it 36-21, giving the Showboats some life.

The 4th and 12 conversion wouldn’t go smoothly. Love was picked off by Montae Nicholson, giving the Defenders the football with great field position.

In what was a rather lopsided affair for most of the afternoon, the DC Defenders came away with a 36-21 win on the road, improving to 4-5.

Standout Playmakers

QB Jordan Ta’amu: While Ta’amu made a couple of mistakes on those turnovers, he played an excellent game outside of that. He threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns, completing 83% of his pass attempts. Jordan has had an up and down year, but played well today.

WR Chris Rowland: Rowland had a big game across the board, with a few impressive returns – and the early score that got DC’s offense in rhythm. Had 49 receiving yards, alongside 150 kick/punt return yards.

WR Keke Coutee: Keke had himself a day, with five receptions for 69 yards. He was involved on offense throughout the game, which was encouraging to see for DC fans.

DB Montae Nicholson: Nicholson was fantastic today, with an interception, a PBU, and seven tackles (team high).

Memphis Showboats

RB Darius Victor: Victor, who has struggled for most of the year behind a poor offensive line, had a nice game with 14 carries for 98 yards, and a touchdown.

DE Jordan Ferguson: Ferguson was excellent defensively, and has been one of the few bright spots for Memphis all year. He posted six tackles, a TFL, and a sack on the day – and also stopped a two point attempt.

Post-Game Comments

Defenders HC Reggie Barlow commented on what Jordan Ta’amu brings to this team after his big game:

“We love what Ta’amu brings to the table. Obviously really smart, talented, and fits our scheme. He’s a great leader and teammate. We always feel good when he’s out there, and when he’s in charge. He played a heck of a game today.”

Showboats HC DeFilippo spoke about the disappointing loss, and what he saw from his team today:

“Another tough game. I thought all three phases had a hand, including coaching had a hand in this loss. We just continue to not get anyone off the field on defense. Ta’amu was 20-24 today, just not good enough. Offensively, we had two key turnovers, and missed some things in the passing game. I thought Darius had a really good game running the football, which was positive. We sacked them a couple of times which was great to see. Overall, just too many big plays given up, and not enough big play chances taken advantage of offensively.”

Final Thoughts

The DC Defenders are no longer in contention for the playoffs, but it must have felt good to have such an explosion offensively. They posted 431 yards of offense – a season high – with 30 of their 36 points in the first 35 minutes of action. Fred Kaiss had this unit operating smoothly all day.

For Memphis, it’s been the same story all year. Their defense has been terrible, a shell of what they were a season ago. DeFilippo emphasized this during the post-game presser, and clearly is frustrated with their lack of attention to details defensively. The big play factor was in favor of DC all afternoon long.

With a 1-8 record, Memphis will face off against the 1-8 Houston Roughnecks next week. Meanwhile, the 4-5 DC Defenders look to get back to .500 as they close the season against the Arlington Renegades at home.

What are your thoughts on this matchup between the DC Defenders and Memphis Showboats? Which UFL players impressed you? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

Fubo