XFL Week 3 – Five things to note as Houston Roughnecks win again

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Kieran Harm
Football and NFL Writer. Specialising in the Premier League and Bundesliga

XFL week 3 is now in the books! We saw some fantastic football, some epic plays and even a few more XFL firsts over a brilliant couple of days. We’re also now down to just one unbeaten team in the league AND, the battle for the number one quarterback in the XFL may have been settled already…

In a week where I could have selected 10-15 things, here are just five things to take from XFL Week 3.

St Louis turns OUT for the Battlehawks

It’s fair to say that, since Stan Kroenke took the Rams back to Los Angeles, professional football has been sorely missed in the city of St Louis. As a result, when the XFL announced there would be a St Louis team – the city was overjoyed and rallied behind the Battlehawks.

In XFL week 3, the St Louis Battlehawks played their first ever home game in the XFL as they welcomed the New York Guardians to town. The city of St Louis, as we all knew they would, turned out in a huge fashion!

XFL Week 3 saw the Battlehawks play at home for the first time - their fans went big.
The St Louis Battlehawks fans turned out and created a brilliant atmosphere in the Dome at Americas Centre

The atmosphere both inside and outside of the ground looked superb. There were fans burning effigy’s of Rams owner Stan Kroenke, while everyone else drank themselves into a stupor! Inside the Dome at Americas Centre, the waving of the white and blue flags from all around the lower deck made for quite the spectacle.

All-in-all, there were 29,554 fans in attendance to see the Battlehawks pick up their second win of the season, beating the New York Guardians 29-9 to move to 2-1 on the season. That attendance sets a new XFL record, beating the previous record of 29,172 set by the Seattle Dragons in week 2.

DC Defenders crash back down to earth!

The DC Defenders had been touted as the second best team in the XFL after their first two weeks, but in week 3 it all came crashing down around them as they were blown out by a score of 39-9 in Los Angeles.

The LA Wildcats were 0-2 coming into this game and had really struggled to find much of an identity in the early going. However, this week, their offence really seemed to click into gear and they put on a show in the City of Angels.

Running back Martez Carter was in deputising for the inactive Elijah Hood. Carter managed three touchdowns in the game, 75 yards total and treated fans to a series of impressive backflips.

Martez Carter flips into the end zone
LA Wildcats star Martez Carter flips his way into the endzone for one his three touchdowns against the Defenders

As for the Defenders, they’ve been relying on their defence and their special teams units to make plays. Both of those units were major players in the points scoring in the first two weeks, but they couldn’t replicate it this week.

To add to that, Cardale Jones had an absolute stinker, throwing 13/26 for 103 yards, no touchdowns and FOUR interceptions. I think it’s fair to say he has well and truly handed the mantle as the XFL’s best quarterback to PJ Walker – the debate is about done after just three weeks.

Roughnecks keep shipping points, but keep winning games

Houston Roughnecks have set their stall out in the early going as THE team to beat. They are now the only team in the league who remain unbeaten with three wins from three after what was a closer run affair than we perhaps expected in Tampa Bay.

Somehow, they’ve managed this having given up 68 points so far in the league – the third most of anyone – that’s 22.7 points per game. They’ve also given up nine touchdowns, the joint most of any team.

Total points allowed after XFL Week 3:

  • Vipers – 74 points
  • Wildcats – 71 points
  • Roughnecks – 68 points
  • Dragons – 64 points
  • Guardians – 59 points
  • Defenders – 58 points
  • Battlehawks – 46 points
  • Renegades – 45 points

This is all offset by the sheer magnitude of their offence, led by the unmistakable PJ Walker. At quarterback, Walker’s play this season has been outstanding and has earned him comparisons to the MVP of Super Bowl 54, Patrick Mahomes.

XFL star Cam Phillips
Cam Phillips made it three touchdowns in a single game for the SECOND week in a row against the Tampa Bay Vipers

Walker and his partner in crime, Cam Phillips, have been tearing up the XFL so far. They hooked up for three passing touchdowns against the Vipers in week three – the second time in as many games Phillips has gotten himself a hat-trick of touchdowns.

Phillips was six yards short of 200 receiving in week three, and leads the XFL receiver charts going in to week four.

In week four, they face the Dallas Renegades in Texas in a game that has every chance to be their toughest test so far. On enemy territory, against the only other Texas based team – let it not be understated that the Renegades haven’t exactly been slow starters. It’s the leagues best offence against what has, so far, been the leagues best defence.

Tampa Bay Vipers offence finally turn up

As alluded to above, the Tampa Bay Vipers finally showed up in week 3. They didn’t get the win, but they gave the best team in the league a bit of a scare at Raymond James Stadium.

Once more, the Vipers coaching staff decided the best thing to do with the quarterback situation was to rotate between Taylor Cornelius and Quinton Flowers. Cornelius took the majority of snaps, throwing 16/31 for 193 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Flowers on the other hand threw 4/6 for 51 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. They both had a say on the ground too, logging six rushing attempts each. Flowers managed 29 yards and one touchdown from his attempts, Cornelius put up quite similar stats, running for 32 yards and a touchdown of his own.

It was Flowers who made Vipers history in the second quarter as he burst into the endzone to bring an end to Tampa Bay’s seemingly excruciating wait for an offensive touchdown. Flowers made his abilities a duel threat QB evident and, if head coach Marc Trestman had more trust in him, they might have won the game.

Quinton Flowers of the Tampa Bay Vipers
Would things have been different if Head Coach Marc Tressman had entrusted the final drive to Quinton Flowers?

At the end of the fourth quarter, down by one score, Tampa Bay got themselves right inside the Houston five yard line. Instead of putting in Flowers, who is best suited in that area of the pitch, Trestman opted to give Cornelius four attempts to find the endzone – all of which were poor.

If he’d given Flowers the responsibility in that area, we may have been talking about a first Vipers win instead of what was, in the end, just a valiant effort.

XFL Week 3 gives us our first XFL kickoff return TD

The final point to be made is that XFL Week 3 provided something that we’ve all been waiting for, the first kick off returned for a sixer!!!

The moment came in the second quarter when Keith Mumphery took in a kick off and lateraled the ball to Joe Powell who found himself a lane and took off down the sideline for a jaw-dropping 58 yard kick off return touchdown.

It looked like Powell had stepped out of bounds just as he neared the endzone, but he just about managed to stay inside the perimeters of the field and get himself into the endzone to create a nugget of history in XFL Week 3.

It felt like, with these new XFL kick off rules, it was only a matter of time before we saw a kick off returned all the way back to the other end! I’m glad it’s finally happened, we might get to see one or two more now.

It’s also nice to see teams creating suck tricky plays on special teams in the new XFL. The new rules have made it such an important part of the game! This is exactly why the NFL need to adopt these new rules as soon as possible.

For more just like this, visit our dedicated XFL page which can be found by clicking right here. Meanwhile, you should absolutely follow us on Twitter for coverage of the XFL, NFL and much more.

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