Houston Roughnecks 28, St. Louis Battlehawks 24
In a battle of unbeatens, the Houston Roughnecks edged the St. Louis Battlehawks 28-24 to conclude Week 2 of the XFL season.
The contest was televised live on Fox Sports 1 on Sunday afternoon and held at the TDECU Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker continues to impress and leads the XFL’s highest-scoring offense through the first two weeks.
A product of Temple University who spent time on the Indianapolis Colts‘ practice squad, Walker threw for 170 yards and three touchdowns (20 for 31), but his play-making ability shined in ways that couldn’t make a box score. There were several moments where Walker eluded the Battlehawks’ pass rush to extend plays, and he also dazzled with a strong arm that sometimes went sideways in order to evade an oncoming defender. Walker also had 27 yards rushing and scored on a one-point conversion.
Wide receiver Cam Phillips was Walker’s favorite target, catching seven balls for 54 yards and three touchdowns. Running back James Butler accounted for the other Houston TD, scoring from the one-yard line after safety Cody Brown was one yard short of a pick six in the second quarter. Ultimately, it was another interception from the Roughnecks defense that secured the win. Cornerback Jeremiah Johnson made that fourth-quarter play, which led to Houston’s final touchdown that gave them a 10 point lead.
Down 21-6 at halftime, St. Louis dominated the third quarter to give the Roughnecks a scare. Their pesky defense stalled the Roughnecks’ offense and gave the Battlehawks’ own QB-receiver duo a chance to come back.
Battlehawks QB Jordan Ta’Amu found WR De’Mornay Pierson-El nine times for 50 yards and a score to counter the Roughnecks’ best one-two punch.
Ta’Amu finished the night completing 30 of 37 pass attempts for 284 and three touchdowns while also running for another TD, but his two interceptions led to Roughnecks (2-0) scores. His late TD throw to L’Damian Washington put the Battlehawks (1-1) within four, but the defense couldn’t make the necessary stop to get the ball back.
Dallas Renegades 25, Los Angeles Wildcats 18
The Dallas Renegades earned their first win of the XFL season by scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to beat the Los Angeles Wildcats 25-18.
The game was televised live on ABC on Sunday afternoon and held at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
A forgettable 6-3 struggle was quickly erased in a wild fourth quarter where the Renegades (1-1) and Wildcats (0-2) went back and forth to score 34 combined points, and offered an exciting affair between teams battling for their first win.
Renegades running back Cameron Artis-Payne was the catalyst to their late success on offense. A notable ex-Panther in the NFL, Artis-Payne scored his team’s first touchdown of the season early in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard run, and found the end zone again on an impressive 17-yard run for the final score of the game.
The Wildcats got the ball back with 1:14 left in the game and both of their timeouts, but went four-and-out on four incomplete passes by quarterback Josh Johnson.
Johnson, a notable journeyman QB in the NFL, threw two touchdowns to wide receiver Nelson Spruce in the fourth quarter to keep up with the Renegades’ offensive awakening. He even scored the first 3-point conversion in XFL history with a pass to Adonis Jennings, which was aided by a penalty on the Renegades, who had 12 men on the field and brought the conversion from the ten to the five-yard line. Johnson found a great rhythm throwing the ball in the second half, but a goal-line fumble on a hand off in the third quarter marred an otherwise good performance in his XFL debut.
Another ex-NFL quarterback made his first start for the XFL season for the Renegades. Former Steeler Landry Jones played with a hurt ankle that kept him out of the season opener, but he threw a crucial touchdown in the fourth quarter and ended the day with 305 passing yards.
“It’s not a secret, I didn’t play well today,” said Landry, who threw two interceptions. “The thing I’m most proud of are those scrambles — I couldn’t believe it.”
Jones had a couple of drive-saving scrambles on third down to help gain a 6-3 lead entering the fourth. Donald Parham was his favorite target, connecting with the tight end five times for 76 yards and a touchdown. Artis-Payne was also an important target for Jones, who also caught five balls for 32 yards and finished the day as the Renegades’ leading rusher with 99 yards on 14 attempts and two scores.