HOUSTON – The final game of week two from the 2020 XFL season featured the Houston Roughnecks earning a 28-24 win over the St. Louis Battlehawks (1-1) at TDECU Stadium on Sunday night.
The first half would be a back and forth affair with four touchdowns being scored. St. Louis would use a nine-play 76-yard drive to put points on the board and take a lead early in the first quarter. PJ Walker and the Roughnecks would then heat up score three consecutive touchdowns to go into the break leading 21-6.
Houston quarterback Jordan Ta’amu would have an impressive first half going 10-for-12 passing for 96 yards with one interception. On the flip side for the Roughnecks’ quarterback, PJ Walker would continue his scorching start for the XFL season going 13-for-21 with 122 yards and two passing scores both to Cam Phillips. The receiving core for the Roughnecks would also put up a good first half. Cam Phillips would have two touchdown receptions for 37 yards, while Kahlil Lewis led all receivers with 42 yards.
“They are both very hard workers, and they study the film,” Houston Head Coach June Jones said. “They buy into what we are doing. Those two guys made some plays, and that’s what you have to do. Players make plays, and P.J. did a great job moving around and making things happen.”
St Louis’ defense would not allow any points in the fourth quarter until a juncture where Ta’amu would throw a pick, which would result in a touchdown and the first successful point-after attempt. St Louis would respond with a touchdown, but the one-point conversion would be unsuccessful. The game would end in somewhat of an anti-climatic matter as Houston would go on to convert two drives into first downs and milk out the clock.
Walker finished 20-for-31 with 170 passing yards and three touchdowns. Cam Phillips would lead all Roughneck receivers with eight receptions, 63 yards, and three scores. Even though the Battlehawks won’t be shotgunning Bud Light Seltzers post-game, they still had a successful second week of play. Ta’Amu finished 30-for-37 with 284 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.
Understanding that come game day that we’re going to need to have that connection,” Phillips said. “Just talking through everything.”
Final takeaways: Houston doesn’t look unbeatable. St. Louis battled throughout the game and Coach Hayes’ team looks to be a tough out week in and week out. They’re scrappy and feature an offense that many teams won’t want to face as the XFL inaugural season goes on, with smaller rosters look for these Battlehawks to finish competing for a playoff spot.
As for the Roughnecks, they are still undefeated and they have arguably the best offense in the league. PJ Walker and Cam Phillips are a dynamic duo that defenses will shudder when they see them in feature scouting reports. The Roughnecks defense also came away with two vital interceptions that would eventually lead to points for Houston.
Houston is now 2-0 on the season with be visiting Tampa Bay for the Roughnecks first road game. Kickoff is set for 1 pm CST. and 12 MST. on Saturday, February 22nd.
Around The League
Seattle edges Tampa Bay 17-9: The Seattle Dragons picked up their first win of the season in front of an XFL-record 29,172 fans at CenturyLink Field thanks to a big second-half surge. The Dragons dominated both offense and defense as Brandon Silvers found Keenan Reynolds for the 68-yard score. The next Tampa drive, Marcell Frazier picked off the pass and returned it to the end zone for the touchdown.
“I couldn’t be more excited for our players because most of all players have never experienced the support like that stadium can give them,” Dragons Head Coach Jim Zorn said.
Defenders improve to 2-0: The DC Defenders continued to defend their home turf with a big 27-0 win over the New York Guardians at Audi Field on Saturday. Linebacker Jameer Thurman picked off a Matt McGloin pass and took it to the house. New York struggled to generate offense and that made things easier for DC.