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Maybe the Orlando Guardians and Vegas Vipers were eliminated from playoff contention but even they played a role in the playoff picture for the 2023 postseason seeding in this iteration of the XFL. With a bright future on the horizon and a second season in 2024 all but assured, the upcoming semi-final to start postseason play will give us something cool to look forward to in the short term.
St.Louis Battlehawks defeat the Orlando Guardians at home, 53-28.
The Battlehawks had a shot to secure the second North Division playoff spot in Week 9 but let the Seattle Sea Dragons off the hook last week and the series between the rivals is now 1-1. Through a twist and turn of five tiebreakers if both teams won, combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games would determine their fate.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron made his case as a MVP candidate, passing for 420 yards and six touchdowns — both league-high marks for a single game. McCarron delivered 28 completions on 35 attempts with zero interceptions, including a 66-yard strike for a touchdown to Hakeem Butler. Bulter finished with nine catches for 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
That’s a mf DAWG right there. pic.twitter.com/OQSznkJHiz
— St. Louis Battlehawks (@XFLBattlehawks) April 22, 2023
Unfortunately for the Battlehawks, this game marked a league record in combined points with 81. The high mark for the Guardians was another successful fake punt by punter Mac Brown who threw an 84-yard pass for a touchdown to Orlando’s rising star Jordan Thomas. He would throw a pic late in the game after head coach Terrell Buckley forced another fake punt in predictable fashion.
In order to assure a postseason spot on the road and battle the DC Defenders in front of the beer snake and their fans, the Seattle Sea Dragons had to either lose or have a lower combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
DC Defenders defeat the San Antonio Brahmas on the road, 29-28.
While DC had clinched while defending their house in the semi-finals, they also had the opportunity to stomp out the playoff hopes of the Brahmas. The expected elimination of San Antonio took place but the Defenders narrowly escaped overtime thanks to their quarterback Jordan Ta’amu carrying in the late two-point conversion.
Ta’amu had 15 completions on 22 passes for 271 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He even outperformed running back Abram Smith who had 44 yards on 10 carries. He led the team with 45 rushing yards on 10 carries.
JORDAN TA’AMU WITH THE TUDDDYYYYYY 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/NitUm45bl5
— D.C. Defenders (@XFLDefenders) April 22, 2023
Brahmas quarterback Jack Coan had a season-high 312 yards on the night, completing 34 of 48 passes. Jacques Patrick and Jon Hillman combined for three touchdowns even though the run game was only good for 57 yards on 23 rushes combined.
Houston Roughnecks defeat the Arlington Renegades on the road, 25-9.
With the Brahmas being eliminated from playoff consideration, this matchup was irrelevant by the time Sunday rolled around. That being said, the Roughnecks dominated defensively as they have consistently against XFL South Division opponents all season.
That being said, Arlington has figured out that to move on to the XFL Championship, stopping Houston running back Jeremy Cox in next week’s semi-final rematch is essential. Cox penetrated through the Renegades’ defense for 120 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
— Houston Roughnecks (@XFLRoughnecks) April 23, 2023
Arlington also needs to do better at scoring touchdowns instead of field goals to get points while avoiding Tevante Beckett. From the linebacker position, Beckett scored a touchdown for the Roughnecks in each of the past two weeks.
This week, it happened by intercepting quarterback Luis Perez and taking it 43 yards to the house. The rematch next week determines who represents the South in the championship.
Seattle Sea Dragons defeated Vegas Vipers at home, 28-9.
With the Battlehawks win on Saturday and their performance in the books, Seattle knew that they had to score 34 points in a win over the Vipers to guarantee a postseason appearance. Sea Dragons’ quarterback Ben DiNucci and the offense picked the wrong game to not put up points until late in the second quarter.
That being said, the Seattle defense holding Vegas to single digits enabled them to pay tribute to their teammate Chris Smith who suddenly passed away on April 18th with a birth in the semi-finals. The defense’s performance enabled their team to have a lower combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
— Seattle Sea Dragons (@XFLSeaDragons) April 24, 2023
Don’t let Vipers’ quarterback Jalan McClendon 201 yards passing fool you. He only had six completions out of 21 attempts, which featured an 88-yard pass to Matthew Sexton who fumbled the ball while celebrating before he crossed the goal line. McClendon threw only one interception on the night compared to DiNucci’s two but was under constant duress on every dropback.
DiNucci finished with a stat line of 339 yards, completing 26 of 41 with three touchdowns while also carrying the ball four times for 41 yards and a rushing touchdown.