XFL: Buckle up for a wild ride the rest of this season

CARSON, CA - FEBRUARY 23: LA Running back Carter Martez #28 of the LA Wildcats flips over safety Matt Elam #22 of the DC Defenders and lands in the end zone for a touchdown in the second half of the XFL game at Dignity Health Sports Park on February 23, 2020 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - FEBRUARY 23: LA Running back Carter Martez #28 of the LA Wildcats flips over safety Matt Elam #22 of the DC Defenders and lands in the end zone for a touchdown in the second half of the XFL game at Dignity Health Sports Park on February 23, 2020 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

If you’re not already hooked on the rebooted XFL, it’s time you strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.

Houston, we do not have a problem.

The Roughnecks are the sole undefeated team left in the XFL’s rebooted first season, but it’s only part of the amazing story of this past weekend’s games that have sent tremors through the XFL standings and the status of certain teams.

Houston is atop the XFL and the XFL West division because they have the most potent offense in the league with 13 touchdowns in three games.  Wide receiver Cam Phillips has caught a league-leading 7 touchdown passes , has 20 pass receptions for 324 yards and accumulated 74.4 fantasy football points.

Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker is the XFL fantasy football’s leading scorer with 106.6 points and he needed all 44.6 points that he had Saturday to lead the Roughnecks to a come-from-behind win over Tampa Bay.  Not surprisingly, the winning score came on a 17-yard pass from Walker to Phillips late in the 4th quarter.

Credit the dual quarterback threat of Tampa Bay’s Tony Cornelius and Quinton Flowers for keeping the game close.  Each quarterback ran for a touchdown and Cornelius threw for one TD in the biggest output by the Vipers offense thus far this season.  Cornelius finished with 21 fantasy football points and Flowers had 10.9.

Well, picking a one-sided victory for Houston in week 3 didn’t work, so the late game on Saturday had to be more predictable.  Surprise!  Seattle scores twice in the 1st half to a 12-6 lead and then gets steamrolled in the 2nd half as Dallas scores 18 unanswered points.

In the first 30 minutes, Seattle quarterback Brandon Silvers had a golden arm as he threw touchdown passes to wide receiver Austin Proehl (Silvers’ favorite target) and running back Kenneth Farrow.   But the Renegades defense shut down the Dragons offense. Only the St. Louis BattleHawks have given up fewer touchdowns (5) than the Dallas Renegades (6).

Dallas quarterback Landry Jones executed the perfect game plan on offense.  The Renegades mixed it up with a combination of running plays by Curtis Artis-Payne, short pass plays and a couple of touchdown passes to tight end Dallas Parnum.

Parnum has real DFS potential as he appears to be Landry Jones’ favorite target.  The 6’8” tight end has 14 pass receptions for 217 yards, three touchdown catches and 39.7 fantasy football points.

Curtis Artis-Payne had his second solid outing in a row.  He had 13 carries for 80 yards, including his longest run of the season of 31 yards.  Artis-Payne has 38 fantasy football points and a 6.2 yards-per-carry average.

Dallas’ 24-to-12 win over Seattle Saturday puts the Renegades in 2nd place at 2-1 in the XFL West.  This Sunday they’ll host the division-leading, undefeated Houston Roughnecks.

As for Sunday’s first game, the New York Guardians were looking for a performance more like their 1st game victory over Tampa Bay than their 2nd game loss to the D.C. Defenders.  The results were another loss plagued by injuries, penalties and the following questions:

  • How serious is quarterback Matt McGloin’s injury?
  • Who will be the starting quarterback next Saturday against the L.A. Wildcats?
  • Has Guardians head coach Kevin Gilbride lost control of his team?

McGloin suffered a rib injury during the Guardians first offensive drive.  He did re-enter the game in the 2nd quarter, but it was obvious he could not continue so he was taken off the field and did not play in the 2nd half.  New York’s No. 3 quarterback, Luis Perez, finished the game.

New York had 86 yards in penalties and their starting center received two personal foul calls for unsportsmanlike conduct.  It marks the second week in a row that the Guardians have experienced turmoil on and off the field.  In week 2’s loss to the D.C. Defenders, quarterback Matt McGloin expressed his distress with the Guardians while being interviewed by ABC Sports personnel.

The St. Louis BattleHawks seem to be the direct opposite of the N.Y. Guardians.  They are disciplined, consistent and have the XFL’s best defense.  The BattleHawks are led by quarterback Jordan Ta’amu.  His job against the Guardians was simple – manage the game with a mixture of running plays and throw the ball only when it is necessary.

St. Louis, especially in the 2nd half, leaned on the abilities of running backs Matt Jones and Christine Michael to beat New York, 29-9.   Jones ran 15 times for 95 yards and Michael had 13 carries for 44 yards.  Both running backs scored a touchdown in the 29-9 rout of the Guardians.

The finale of Week 3 was expected to feature the continued dominance of the D.C. Defenders against a weaker team.  Apparently, no one told the L.A. Wildcats they were the weaker team, as they beat the Defenders, 39-9.

L.A. had a 27-0 lead just before the Defenders got their first three points on the scoreboard with a field goal late in the 1st half.  The Wildcats were totally dominant in the offensive, defensive and special teams phases of the game.

Wildcats quarterback Josh Johnson was 18 for 25 for 278 yards passing and three touchdowns.  L.A.’s defense had four interceptions against D.C. starting quarterback Cardale Jones and the special teams blocked a Defenders’ punt.  The Wildcats also got a three-touchdown performance from running back Martez Carter and wide receiver Tre McBride caught two touchdown passes.

The Wildcats’ first win of the season was certainly sweet, but now they must prepare for a week 4 road game against the New York Guardians.