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Week 4 of the XFL had its own flair despite battling with NCAA Basketball conference championships. That has to be a main reason why they opted to start action so late Saturday night with kick times at 7:00 and 10:00 pm, EST. Further complicating the week’s TV competition, this week’s XFL schedule isn’t the most compelling, with two 3-0 teams battling two 0-3 teams.
That being said, the St. Louis Battlehawks opened the 400 level of their stadium for their home opener. The fact there was this much anticipation for a late home opener is certainly a positive sign of the buzz the league is creating.
To keep up with INCREASING fan demand, limited Single Game Tickets to the @XFLBattlehawks home opener this Sunday (Mar. 12) are now available in the 400 LEVEL at The Dome in St. Louis!
🎟️ Only $18 per ticket — don't miss out! #FillTheDome
— XFL (@XFL2023) March 10, 2023
Saturday 7:00 pm EST Houston Roughnecks vs. Orlando Guardians, 44-16
Guardian head coach Terrell Buckley has made no secret that he is willing to plug and play guys in an effort to find the best opportunity to succeed. While recently acquired quarterback Quinton Flowers might have an interesting effect on the offense down the line, he didn’t mean much in this game in the smackdown by the Roughnecks. Houston’s domination came despite their committing nine penalties. However, Orlando posted 13 penalties of their own.
Paxton Lynch didn’t make it a full half before getting pulled this week for Deondre Francois. This included being overwhelmed on a screen pass that was scooped and scored for 42 yards and six points by Houston linebacker William Likely. That being said, there’s only so much a change under center can do when you are down 26-10 at the half.
— Orlando Guardians (@XFLGuardians) March 12, 2023
Francois left the game with a head injury and Lynch returned, finishing with 267 yards passing on an 18-of-30 completion rate with a fumble. Orlando completed their longest play in franchise history with an 81-yard bomb to wide receiver Charleston Rambo. Rambo finished with 89 yards while tight end Jaylen Smith caught a 31-yard score in his second game as a Guardian.
Brandon Silvers did his part for the Roughnecks, completing 24 of his 30 passes with 239 yards, and three touchdowns. The team also didn’t commit a single turnover. Wide receiver Travell Harris led in receiving with three catches for 89 yards and a pair of scores.
THE @XFLRoughnecks JUST PULLED OFF THE DOUBLE FORWARD PASS!
Some insane creativity from @AustinJamesXFL. Brandon Silvers tosses it to Jontre Kirklin, who unloads a bomb to Deontay Burnett for the score. Fireworks in the @XFL2023 early! #XFLpic.twitter.com/J23M8Ao7rX
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenPFN) March 12, 2023
The Roughnecks also put on a dazzling moment; completing the league’s first double-forward pass. In a play unique to XFL rules, Silvers hit Jontre Kirklin for a short slant. Kirklin then ran back behind the line of scrimmage and lobbed a rainbow to Deontay Burnett for the 49-yard score.
Saturday 10:00 pm EST San Antonio Brahmas vs. Seattle Sea Dragons, 9-15
While the Brahmas only have one win on the season, it’s not due to a lack of toughness. However, head coach Hines Ward and company had a hard day offensively. Quarterback Jack Coan was only good for 189 yards passing, completing 20 of his 39 passes and San Antonio as a team only produced 21 yards on the ground.
— Seattle Sea Dragons (@XFLSeaDragons) March 12, 2023
For Seattle, quarterback Ben DiNucci and running back Morgan Ellison demonstrated why they might be the best one-two punch in the XFL. Dinucci delivered 28 completions on 41 attempts with 264 yards passing and a touchdown to Juwan Green, while Ellison pounded for 69 yards on 16 attempts.
To the Brahmas’ credit, the defense intercepted DiNucci with 2:00 minutes left in the game for a shot to tie it up with a touchdown and a three-point conversion, but the Sea Dragon’s defense held fast to make them 2-2 on the season.
Sunday 4:00 pm EST Arlington Renegades vs St. Louis Battlehawks, 11-24
Not only did the Battlehawks open the 400 level of The Dome at America’s Center, but the allotment of seats in the stadium was sold out. The “Battledome” as it’s now dubbed delivered a home field advantage unparalleled with an XFL record 38,310 fans.
It would seem that it impacted Renegade quarterback Kyle Sloter, who threw three interceptions on the afternoon. He threw 39 times for 23 completions for 205 yards. Running back De’Veon Smith scored the only touchdown for Arlington.
Go ahead and write this one down for trivia.
THE FIRST DOME TD OF 2023 🔥 pic.twitter.com/AGGZJtYJDQ
— St. Louis Battlehawks (@XFLBattlehawks) March 12, 2023
Offensively the Battlehawks soared in their own right. A. J. McCarron gained 214 yards passing with 20 completions on 27 attempts, with two touchdowns and an interception. On the ground, running back Brian Hill picked up 89 yards on 18 carries.
Sunday 7:00 pm EST Vegas Vipers vs DC Defenders, 18-32
For all that went right in the XFL up to this point, the schedule closes with another 0-3 vs. 3-0 match on the docket. Granted, the score at the half was close as the Vipers were down 14-6 after a touchdown by Luis Perez in the 2nd quarter was overturned. That score would have made it a two-point game at worst for Vegas.
Both offenses used two players taking snaps, but in DC’s case, it was more by design. After Brett Hundley started the contest building on last week’s success, he was knocked out in the first quarter after throwing five passes and fumbling on the opening play from scrimmage.
Perez came in and connected on 23 of his 32 passes for 283 yards. with two touchdowns and an interception. As a team, the Vipers had 333 yards in the air and 71 on the ground.
The Defender’s two-headed quarterback system with Jordan Ta’amu and D’Eriq King rendered success once again.
Ta’amu had the higher production with an efficient 14 completions of 19 passes for 177 yards while leading the squad with 89 rushings yards on nine carries. King only recorded two passes and four carries. However, both passes were completions for 38 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown strike to Jequez Ezzard, and two of his four carries for eight yards were for scores.
— D.C. Defenders (@XFLDefenders) March 12, 2023
As a team, the Defenders ran for 173 yards on 39 carries on offense while the defense made the key stops including two turnovers on downs. The Vipers were unable to strike with enough venom in the second half to stop the celebration of the “beer snake” in the stands.