XFL Week 5: The MillerCoors-Virus
Ever since my middle school days, I get sick this time of year. I will normally get sick, then be healthy for a couple of weeks, then get sick again. This usually goes on between January – April. Luckily, this year, the sickness hit me later in the week and I am feeling better by Tuesday. Unfortunately, this sickness is in it’s prime ON a Tuesday. I do not think it is the Coronavirus since I do not have any respiratory symptoms. It is always, every time, a sinus infection. No antibiotic to fix this. Just sit back and enjoy the clogged sinuses, sore throat and your head that feels like it weighs 50 pounds. Since sinus infection sounds boring, I am going to dub it the “MillerCoors-Virus”. Let’s talk XFL to try and forget about the pain.
Naturally, XFL game attendance and TV audience is down. This is what everyone expected to happen. We are now half way through the season (I now, feels weird right?) and some teams are into their third or fourth home game. Fans know if it’s worth going to the game based off of their teams success, or lack their of. Same goes for eyeballs on screens. Should I tune into the 1-3 Vipers vs. the 1-3 Wildcats, 9 PM, ESPN Prime time game? Eh. Turns out it was one of the best games of the weekend, but it’s the product starting to wear off.
The sideline interviews maybe seem less interesting to some. Hearing the play calls are not as unique as they were in week 1. Hearing and watching the play review up in the booth is something that I saw it, it was fun, now I don’t care. The kickoff is no longer unique and some of the teams seasons are basically over. I am not saying these are my views of the game, I still love it all, but I am sure a large part of America feels this way. The fans that tuned in week 1 to see the uniqueness of the league are not tuning in week 5 because it’s not unique anymore. I would say I am a bit shocked by the level of play from some of these teams. There are ups and downs from all of them but I would vote anyone can lose at anytime. The top 3 teams in the eastern division are 3-2. In the west, teams 2 and 3 are 2-3. With only 4 teams making the playoffs, it’s set up to be exciting down the stretch.
The attendance at games this week was 64,246 with no teams getting over the 20K threshold. When the fans show up in St. Louis and Seattle, the number is drastically higher. Home games in Tampa Bay have been around 12K for all of their home games. That is not a number the XFL wants to see in every stadium, and I don’t think they will. The Battlehawks have to open up for seating for all of the fans that want to come. We look at 22K – 29K when talking about St. Louis and Seattle. The Defenders do well in DC. They approach 20K usually and the fans are a lot of fun. Did you see that beer snake? Legendary.
One thing that will not help this league is officiating errors like what we saw in Houston when the Dragons came to town. Before we jump in, I just want to say I did go 3-1 in my picks for this week. My confidence is growing and that is dangerous! Let’s go!
Week 5 Recaps:
Seattle Dragons vs. Houston Roughnecks: 32 – 23
Yes, the offense is better with B.J. Daniels in at QB for the Dragons. Is the team better/is the team fixed? Heavenly Lord no! This teams offense is terrible. It’s like they want to be the Vipers with a great ground game but they are just the Vipers without any of the good parts, which there are very few to begin with. B.J. did run for 2 touchdowns and Tre Williams had a third, but the second half was unbelievably hard to watch. Jordan Martin came up with an incredible INT, which was the second of the day for the Dragons defense, and the offense goes 3 and out. The entire second half for the Dragons offense was somewhere between 3 – 6 plays a drive then a punt or turnover. 201 yards total on the day and if I had to guess, 150 of it came in the first half.
Speaking of Seattle, the Seahawks sent scouts to the game in Houston to keep an eye on P.J. Walker. If I was one of those scouts, I am leaving with mixed feelings. P.J. had 2 INTs and a lost fumble, plus he had 7 rushes for -5 yards. Basically sacks outside the pocket. He turned it on late in the second half of the game though and ends up with 3 TDs, 351 passing yards and reconnected with Cam Phillips after an off week. Cam ended the game with 10 catches, 122 yards and TDs. My boy James Butler was at it again with 12 carries, 52 yards and 2 TDs on the ground with 3 catches on 3 targets for 11 yards. Love this guy. This team has shown some vulnerability the past two weeks. Putting that weak game on tape makes it easier for teams with stronger defenses (the Guardians) to expose those weaknesses. The Roughnecks better be ready to go on the road in week 6, or they could finally see their first loss.
I don’t want to go crazy on this because the XFL did something the NFL would never do, and that’s apologize. Mere hours after this game ended, the XFL issued an apology for the game clock mistake that ended the game 3 seconds early with the Dragons down 9. In this league, a 9 point deficit is a one possession lead. The Dragons should have had the ball after a turnover on downs with 3 seconds to try and score a TD and three point conversion. Instead, P.J. takes a knee, the clock runs out, and the refs run off the field. Oops. But listen here Dragons fans. This team was trash in the second half. Let’s not for one second pretend like they were going to score those 9 points. If they were, they would have done it in the previous 29 minutes and 57 seconds they had on the clock after halftime. It was the first major mistake on the XFL’s part but one they apologized for quickly and I think that resonated with fans and they accept the apology.
NY Guardians vs. Dallas Renegades: 30 – 12
Nothing shocking here, at least from my view. We have seen this offense without Landry Jones in it already and it was awful. Guess what? No Jones, no offense once again. What made it even worse was Hal Mumme had the broken leg, so he had to coach from the box upstairs. It is hard for a coach and QB who don’t have a connection to be separated during the game. That QB needs to be able to go to the sideline and have a sit down with the OC and look at the tablet together. It’s a completely different feeling than picking up the phone and calling up to the box. I was a little surprised they had 14 rushing attempts, but that’s the air raid offense we have here in Dallas. Live and die by the crappy QB.
The Guardians defense has been alive for the past two weeks now and that my friends is a TREND! You know what else is a trend? Luis Perez playing good football. 16/30 229 with a TD and an INT. I won’ say he won the game for the Guardians but he didn’t lose it for them either. That is the key component for a backup QB that a lot of people can’t grasp, like Bob Stoops and Hal Mumme. Don’t have your backup throw the ball 49 times Hal! Run the ball! Kevin Gilbride ran the perfect offense for the Guardians and the defense got it done. 2 INTs (one fat man INT and one pick 6), 8 QB Hits, 3 Tackles for Losses and endless pressure. The Guardians are back in this thing!
St. Louis Battlehawks vs. DC Defenders: 15 – 6
If there is anything I have learned about the DC Defenders in the first half of the season it’s this: they suck on the road and are really good at home. At least that goes for the defense and running game. Cardale Jones threw 2 passes. One to the ground and one to the other team. He was promptly benched and Tyree Jackson came in to save the day. He did not have to be superman! You never ask your backup to be superman (HAL!) but you just want him to do enough. Tyree only went 9/14 for 39 yards and 1 TD. he also ran the ball for 32 yards on 7 carries. He let his defense and the running game do the rest. Jhurell Pressley went off with 15 carries for 107 yards! Overall, they had 229 rushing yards. The defense went out there and dominated the line of scrimmage. 7 QB hits, 4 sacks, 7 tackles for losses and the Battlehawks could do nothing about it.
Jordan Ta’amu could not buy time in the pocket. 15/25 for 174 shows that he couldn’t do anything all day, especially on 3rd (4/16) and 4th (0/2) downs. They went 0/3 in the redzone! You cannot get to the redzone and come away empty handed, but the defenders defense would not allow it. The one bright spot was the running game where Matt Jones had 70 yards and Christine Michael had 69. Other than that, a complete off day for the Battlehawks, but I do not see this becoming a trend. They have the Vipers next week and the Wildcats just dropped 41 on them. I think St. Louis will figure it out.
Tampa Bay Vipers vs. LA Wildcats: 41 – 34
What a game. You might have thought this game featured the Atlanta Falcons after the Vipers blew a 24-6 lead. For the first time in seemingly forever, the running game caved. The duo of De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick together only provided 92 yards and 1 TD. Taylor Cornelius has found his arm a little bit though throwing for 300 yards and 2 TDs along with his two costly INTs. It’s a team that has a high ceiling but the floor is oh so very low. We saw both sides of that in this game between the two halves. It might be a lost season for Tampa Bay, but I would like to see them continue to scoring high while they correct the defense. Don’t sacrifice one for the other.
If I were to change teams from Seattle, it would be for the Wildcats. Mostly because I have been defending them for the past two weeks and they has pulled through for me (for now). Without Nelson Spruce, they managed 41 points this week and Josh Johnson went off for 288 yards and 4 TDs. He was also the leading rusher with 19 yards, but that’s okay! the trio of Tre McBride, Saeed Blacknall and Jordan Smallwood has proved to be quite the combination. Just imagine adding Nelson Spruce back to that. Scary! I am glad Saeed has found his connection to Johnson because I thought he could be playing better than what he did in the first 4 weeks. This week, it happened with 3 catches for for 78 yards and a TD. He had 7 targets, so maybe in the coming weeks those 3 catches can turn into 6. The defense has me worried a little bit and the run game is almost nonexistent. If Johnson and the passing game is off, I don’t know where they would turn after that.
Week 6 Match ups and Picks:
Houston Roughnecks vs. NY Guardians (upset time baby!)
St. Louis Battlehawks vs. Tampa Bay Vipers
Dallas Renegades vs. DC Defenders
LA Wildcats vs. Seattle Dragons
My Power Rankings:
First off, let me just gloat a little bit. All of you dummies that put the Vipers at #4 and the Defenders at #8 last week, ha ha! Dummies. You can’t overreact to things and that is what a lot of the “professionals” did in week 4. Everyone was hating on my Wildcats. Look at them/me now, dropping 41 on the Vipers! I am still concerned about their defense, but I love that explosive offense. I dropped DC still because of my concerns at the QB position. If you hate on or want more explanations for my rankings, hit me up! Email, social media, however you want to contact me, let me know your rankings.
- Houston Roughnecks
- St. Louis Battlehawks
- NY Guardians
- DC Defenders
- LA Wildcats
- Tampa Bay Vipers
- Dallas Renegades
- Seattle Dragons
Thanks for reading this week! Hopefully my sickness didn’t make this blog completely unreadable. If you did enjoy it, leave some feedback in the comments, email us from the contact sheet on the homepage, or find us on social media where all the links are on the homepage. All Hail the Jock Strap King!