XFL Review: Week 2 game recaps, highlights, more
|Monday, February 17, 2020 8:27 AM- -|
The second week of the new XFL continued to bring us inspired football, as this is something that could stick long term. Among some of the rule changes, the NFL should adopt, the shorter play clock to speed up the game has been the biggest game-changer thus far, which is also something the NFL should investigate.
Here are the week two summaries of the games and players who are continuing to stand out.
NEW YORK GUARDIANS 0 – DC DEFENDERS 27: Two of the unbeaten teams in the East went head to head on Saturday with the Defenders asserting themselves as the team to beat in the East. Former Ohio State QB Cardell Jones continues to light up defenses tossing for 276 yards and a pair of scores. Through two games, Jones has thrown for over 500 yards and four touchdowns as he has been the best pocket passer in the XFL.
Rashad Ross and Deandre Thompkins continue to make big plays in the receiving core, with Eli Rodgers now getting involved himself. With how good the Defenders defense has been thus far, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with all season.
After playing admirably in his first game, Matt McGloin had a rough week two, throwing for just 42 yards and two interceptions before getting benched in the second half. To make matters worse, McGloin threw his whole coaching staff under the pass after the game, which could spell trouble down the road. The Guardians looked lost in every facet of the game as DC came and laid the boom. Next week will be a huge bounce-back week for them if they can win.
TAMPA BAY VIPERS 9 – SEATTLE DRAGONS 17: The coaching carousel of Marc Trestman reaches Tampa as the former Bears head coach has gotten off to an 0-2 start in the XFL. After a dismal week one performance in the red zone, things were not much better this week as once again, Tampa had difficulty putting the ball in the end zone. It was a late fourth-quarter touchdown that appeared to set us up for a magical finish, but offensive PI was called giving the Dragons and Jim Zorn their first win.
After starting week one, Aaron Murray was not in uniform on Sunday as the Vipers tried a different approach at QB. However, neither Quentin Flowers or Ty Cornelius got much going, throwing for a combined 180 yards and three interceptions. Tight end Nick Truesdell continued to show NFL potential with four more catches, including a bruising run after the catch for a first down.
The Dragons had a bit more success, although not much. Kenneth Farrow continues to lead the lead in yards per carry. The former AAF star for the San Antonio Commanders rushed for 45 yards on just ten carries as he continues to show signs of being the lead back in Seattle. After struggling much of the game, Brandon Silvers hooked up with Keenan Reynolds for a 68-yard bomb, which proved to be ultimately the knockout punch. Reynolds finished with 87 yards receiving as he continues to be a significant deep ball threat.
DALLAS RENEGADES 25 – LOS ANGELES WILDCATS 18: In a battle of winless teams, we finally got to see two of the most experienced QB's go at it on the field. On the Dallas side, it was Landry Jones who was viewed as quite possibly the best QB in the XFL before the season. For the Wildcats, you had 13-year journeyman Josh Johnson under center. Both QB's played well but left some plays on the field, but it was a huge second half that pushed Dallas to victory.
Speaking of Jones, his first half was about as rusty as you would think for a guy who only had three days of prep. Once the second half got going, Jones put up a league-high in passing yards this season, tossing for 305 yards and a touchdown. He did throw one interception, but both came early in the game. Another player on the Dallas roster looking to find his way back to the NFL is former Carolina Panthers RB Cameron Artis-Payne.
The bruising RB sliced through the Wildcats defense for 99 yards on 14 carries, which comes out to 7.1 yards per attempt. He keeps that up all season someone will give him a shot next year. Lance Dunbar added 42 yards of his own on the ground on just six carries as he too averaged seven yards per attempt. The one receiver who I saw much better strides in was Jeff Badet. Known for his 4.27 40, Badet has never been able to stick with a roster. Hopefully, this is his chance to shine.
For the Wildcats, Johnson and the offense was more fluid this week after being out of sorts in Houston. Johnson threw for 196 yards on the afternoon with two scores, but his zero interceptions were the key. The only problem was that LA couldn't finish off drives in the first half, which cost them in the end. Nelson Spruce had his way with the Dallas secondary, hauling in six catches for 89 yards and both touchdown receptions.
ST. LOUIS BATTLE HAWKS 24 – HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS 28: The game of the week was the conclusion Sunday as both the Battle Hawks and Roughnecks looked to move to 2-0. This was a game that came down to the bitter end, but in the end, Houston was able to hold off the St. Louis rally to move to 2-0 on the season. As of now, the Roughnecks seem to be the best and most complete team in the West.
The overall success for Houston continues to come from their QB. P.J. Walker, as he has been the MVP of the league thus far. The former Temple star threw for just 170 yards on the day but made them count with three touchdowns and zero picks. He now has seven total touchdowns through two weeks.
Kahlil Lewis and Cam Phillips continue to do most of the work in the secondary, as Phillips has emerged as Walker's favorite target hauling in all three touchdown passes on Sunday. Defensively speaking, the Roughnecks were not nearly as good as they were in week one, but they still managed to make the plays they had to in the end.
Had it not been for Jones and his two week stretch with DC, my vote for the second-best QB in the XFL would go to Jordan Ta'Amu from St. Louis. Through two weeks, the Samoan has continued to make plays both with his arms and legs as he rushed for 32 yards Sunday to go with 284 yards and three scores through the air. Add in his rushing touchdown, and Ta'Amu was responsible for all four scores, but also contributed to two interceptions.
The Battle hawks may be the only run-first team in the league, and having Ta'amu as an option certainly helps. Both Christian Michael and Matt Jones continue to be the work horse backs as that duo accounted for 82 yards on the ground. L'Damian Washington and De' Mornay Pierson-El continue to be the focal points in the passing game.
Washington showed off his speed late in the game by taking a screen pass and turning it up down the sidelines for the 36-yard touchdown. Pierson-EL, who ranked in the top three in receiving during his eight-game AAF stint with the Salt Lake Stallions, continues to prove he is NFL worthy in the XFL as he mixes great route running with tremendous hands.