The first XFL game in history is in the books as the home team DC Defenders win the first game against the Seattle Dragons 31-19.
DC Defenders kicker Ty Rausa had the honors of scoring the first points of the league’s new history with a 34-yard field goal to make 3-0 midway in the first quarterback. The next drive showcased a great balance of pass and run for Seattle that ended with quarterback Brandon Silvers hitting Austin Proehl on a 13-yard touchdown to take a 6-3 lead.
The second quarter opened with DC quarterback Cardale Jones leading a nice drive that ended with a missed 35-yard field goal for Rausa. DC would bounce back as they blocked a Brock Miller punt thanks to Elijah Campbell. The block was recovered by linebacker Jonathan Celestin for a touchdown. A missed points conversion made it a 9-6 DC lead.
Silvers leads a nine-play, 60-yard drive that finishes with Trey Williams catching a pass that leads to a 13-yard score. Out first point after score makes it a 13-9 lead for the Dragons. A bad kickoff that fell short of the 20-yard line led to DC starting at the Seattle 45-yard line. A Cardale Jones completion led to Rausa’s redeeming 55-yard field goal to trim the Dragons lead to 13-12.
The third quarter opens up with some explosion as the Defenders execute a perfect double toss pass that leads to Jones finding an open Khari Lee for a 39-yard touchdown. Running back Donnel Pumphrey runs it in for the one-point conversion to make it a 19-13 lead for DC. About three minutes later, Silvers escapes from a sack to hit Austin Proehl on a 57-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 19-19. Cardale Jones closes the quarter hitting Rashad Ross on an easy 31-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to make it a 25-19 lead.
Brandon Silvers leads Seattle on a nice drive to open the quarter but ends in disaster as he throws his second interception of the game. This second pick made by Brandon Sylve was returned 57 yards for a touchdown to make it 31-19 lead for DC. The Seattle offense had a chance around four minutes to go in the game to cut into the deficit after a penalty by DC on a Seattle field goal attempt. The DC defense steps up to make a stop on a fourth down in the red zone. A concern for the Dragons as the game closed out was Brandon Silvers went down with an ankle injury. We’ll wait to hear more about the severity of the injury. Seattle couldn’t get back in as DC closes the game out with a victory 31-19 in the XFL’s first game of 2020.
Brandon Silvers got off to a great start as he looked good in the pocket throwing perfect deep balls. When he had time in the pocket, he would make plays. The Seattle offense needed their running backs to step up. Their running game only produced 97 totals yards, but the team distributed carries between Ja’Quan Gardner, Kenneth Farrow, and Trey Williams. The Seattle defense did well against the run but had trouble on deep passes. The corners allowed big plays from Eli Rogers and Reshad Ross. Some work is needed there defensively. Three turnovers on offense also hurt this team with two coming in the fourth quarter.
Cardale Jones looked like the MVP of the league as he threw for nearly 300 yards and two scores. As mentioned in the Seattle analysis, Eli Rogers made big plays against the Seattle secondary and Ross’ big-play potential was shown in a 31-yard score. The running game stalled for most of the game as the passing game carried the team. The defense and special teams both got a touchdown to help support the offense. The secondary make nice breakups as Rahim Moore got an interception in the first half. Elijah Campbell played exceptionally well in man and zone coverages as well as block a punt for a score.
Brandon Silvers (Passing): 21-40, 217 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions
Kenneth Farrow (Rushing): seven carries, 41 yards
Austin Proehl (Receiving): five catches, 88 yards, two touchdowns
Cardale Jones (Passing): 16-26, 291 yards, two touchdowns
Jhurrel Pressley (Rushing): 12 carries, 31 yards
Eli Rogers (Receiving): six receptions, 73 yards
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