XFL Week 3: Sustained Success
Here we are! Week 3 of the XFL 2020 season has come to completion. Who would have thought that in the year 2020, Andy Reid would get his first Super Bowl ring, Jose Altuve would be getting beaned in spring training games, and the XFL would be a roaring success? I sure didn’t! That is why sports are amazing. You never know what is going to happen in the future. You can guess and speculate on weather Tom Brady will be a Patriot or not in 2020-2021, but you really don’t know for sure until he comes out and says “I will be a Patriot for the 2020-2021 season”.
When the news broke that the XFL would be resurrected in 2020, there were many doubters. Many of the middle aged/older then me, sports broadcasters that witnessed the 2001 go down in flames, saw the same thing happening again. Vince McMahon would make a joke out of football and would lose a bunch of money. A man that runs a rigged wrestling league cannot enter the competitive and real sports world. Football fans called him out for it in 2001, it will happen again in 2020.
As I just stated, no one ever knows what is going to happen though. Vince was able to secure several TV stations and broadcasting networks to air games, he brought in real talent at the head coaching positions which in turn, created a higher level of play on the field than some expected. Is it perfect? No. Is it football? Yes! That is what the people want though. After the NFL season ends, we are all left with a hole in our lives that the XFL is now filling. When you get your mind out of the gutter, look at this:
You can make the argument that teams with their first home games have much higher numbers than teams with their 2nd. St. Louis pulled in about the same number Seattle has in their first home game, but Seattle dropped to 22K in their 2nd week at home. I would expect that to happen in St. Louis as well. LA only grabbed 12K, but let’s be honest, the Chargers probably pulled in fewer.
The total number is what really jumps out at you. 5.6K increase in attendance from week 2 to week 3. I don’t care what you say, that is impressive. How did the league do in peoples homes though?
Those numbers are lower than weeks 1 and 2, which again, is to be expected since the average viewer in the first 2 weeks was just there to see the new kickoffs and sideline interviews. Once they saw it, they moved on with their lives. The average NFL/Football fan is who the league wants to keep. If they XFL can steady their numbers out above 1 million per game by the end of the season, that will be a huge win. I am sure Vince and the rest of the XFL executives have a number in their head. If they can average 18-20K in seats and 1.2M watching screens, they will have had a successful season.
The really exciting part of a first season of anything is getting to see the first TD, the first INT, with the XFL the first 3-pt conversion, and in week 3, the first Kickoff Return for TD. The St. Louis Battlehawks finally got through the barrier of 20 people standing at the 30-35 yard line. Joe Powell took a reverse from Keith Mumphrey and he took it 84 yards to the house. It was electrifying! I believe the “first times” will keep fans coming back week in and week out. Who will throw for 10 TDs first? Who will rush for over 120 yards first? Who is the best WR in the league? Have to watch this week to find out!
I am praying the XFL survives because it gives me stuff to talk about for a weekly blog! Let’s dive into the action before I get too carried away.
Houston Roughnecks @ Tampa Bay Vipers: 34-27
- Some of my concerns about the Roughnecks showed up in this game, but it’s the Vipers so they shutdown Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay in the 4th quarter. I have been worried about Houston’s defense and if it was put together as well as the offense was. The Vipers did not score an offensive touchdown until this week and they dropped 27 on the Roughnecks. 365 total yards of offense. Houston is 100% leaning on P.J. Walker to win every game, and so far he has done just that. 24/36 for 306 yards and 3 TDs, all of them going to Cam Phillips AGAIN. Cam Phillips has easily become the best WR in the league after going back to back weeks with 3 TDs. Just for fun, he tacked on 192 yards receiving. Just another day in the office for P.J. and Cam. James Butler had a nice day with 7 carries for 72 yards. If he can create a consistent run game for the Roughnecks, this offense will never be stopped. Ever.
- Honestly, when I look at the Vipers stat line, I am far from impressed. Taylor Cornelius needs to disappear along with Marc Trestman for even allowing him to continue to play. Let Quinton Flowers play! The only thing keeping this team form being a complete embarrassment is the running game. They have a good 1-2 punch in Smith and Patrick, which I discuss every week because it’s the only thing you can discuss when it comes to this team. 0-3. Oof.
Dallas Renegades @ Seattle Dragons: 24-12
- A tale of two halves when it came to this game. Seattle dominated the first half with 2 INTs and the offense getting on top of the Renegades 12-6. You might have though Brandon Silvers finally figured it out after he tossed 2 TDs in the first half to Austin Proehl and Kenneth Farrow. I think Seattle’s defense is the better aspect of this team, but a defense can only survive for so long, especially against the air raid of Landry Jones and Bob Stoops.
- Speaking of which, a slow start for this offense, but the second half was what we expect to see from this team. 30/41 274 yards and 3 TDs 2 INTs. Cameron Artis-Payne followed up his impressive week last week with a 13 carries 80 yard day. Donald Parham was the beneficiary of 2 of 3 the TDs from Landry Jones and now has 3 on the season. This is a very dangerous offense that is starting to click. Houston vs. Dallas next week. Upset week. Keep an eye on that!
New York Guardians @ St. Louis Battlehawks: 29-9
- The Battlehawks decided to test out the run game this week and it worked. No doubt. 156 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs between Matt Jones and Christine Michael. Early in the game, the Battlehawks were running all over the Guardians. It looked like they were averaging 7+ yards a carry. The Guardians decided to tighten up the defense a bit, brought another guy into the box, then the 82% completion percentage of Jordan Ta’amu took over. 12/18 and 119 yards. No, it’s not a sexy stat line but this was the game plan. If they got into a passing down, he threw it, completed it, converted and they kept running. It was a brilliant game plan and it was executed perfectly. I give a lot of credit to Johnathan Hayes.
- Well… here we are. I made the Guardians #1 in my power rankings and now I look like a fool. Thanks a lot! Matt McGloin hurt his old man hip this week after calling out his coaching staff last week. The offensive line is racking up unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for being undisciplined. The defense has fallen apart and couldn’t stop a cold. I have nothing positive to say about this team right now except Luis Perez went 4/5 for 39 yards and a TD. Good day for Luis. I hate this team.
DC Defenders @ LA Wildcats: 9-39
- Time to unpack this absolute shocker! Let’s start with Josh Johnson and the LA offense. 18/25 for 278 and 3 TDs. Finally, they were able to incorporate someone other than Nelson Spruce (3 catches 75 yards) into the receiving game. Tre McBride had 5 catches for 109 yards and 2 TDs. Martez Carter, the running back, had 3 catches on 3 targets for 41 yards and a TD. He also had 11 rushes for 34 yards and 2 more TDs on the ground. Big day for the Wildcats offense and I am sure Winston Moss is thrilled:
- That’s a face of a man who is ready to play next weeks game right now. We have to talk about the LA defense though. 4 INTs (2 from CB Mike Stevens), 1 fumble recovery, 3 sacks, 5 tackles for losses, and endless pressure on Cardale Jones. By the end of the game he did not know who was on his team. His last INT went directly to a defender. His closest possible target broke across the middle of the field 5 seconds after he threw it to where he was 5 seconds ago. It was a dominating performance from the Wildcats who are trying to get themselves on track. Maybe this is the start to something impressive. I won’t completely buy it until I see it twice. That is usually my motto… except with the Guardians.
- The Defenders and Cardale Jones. Who say that coming? 13/26 for 103 yards (net of 90) and 4 INTs. Pep completely abandoned the pass game and they were able to rack up 200 rushing yards. So that’s cool! They were never in a “goal to go” situation. The Defenders could not even get within the 10 yard line. They were dominated from beginning to end. We can bash them all day long, but my concern is if this will be a trend for the rest of the league. Everyone loves P.J. Walker, but is his 4 INT performance right around the corner? Even in the NFL, everyone has a bad game, but this is a semi-pro league. Will Cardale bounce back? If he does, will it be back to a level where he was week 1 or is it a diminished effort with the fear that he might make more mistakes? I think Pep Hamilton will be hanging out with Cardale a lot this week making sure he is mentality okay to go. Cardale will be the starter no matter what and a game against the Vipers next week might be just what he needs.
As always, I can give you my meaningless power rankings. If you know anything about me, I hate power rankings. I do it for XFL because it is easy with only 8 teams. It is always wrong and always changing. For now, the Defenders stay a step ahead of the Renegades due to my faith that they can bounce back. Here is the rest of the trash:
Week 3 XFL Power Rankings:
- Houston Roughnecks
- St. Louis Battlehawks
- DC Defenders
- Dallas Renegades
- LA Wildcats
- New York Guardians
- Seattle Dragons
- Tampa Bay Vipers
Week 4 Predictions (I highlight my winner):
- LA Wildcats @ New York Guardians
- Seattle Dragons @ STL Battlehawks
- Houston Roughnecks @ Dallas Renegades
- DC Defenders @ Tampa Bay Vipers
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