The NFL and college football seasons may be over, but pigskin fanatics are in luck because the XFL has returned.
The league began its second iteration on Saturday with two games on the slate: the D.C. Defenders vs. the Seattle Dragons and the L.A. Wildcats vs. the Houston Roughnecks. Below, we’ll break down the day’s results, top players and highlights.
Houston Roughnecks def. L.A. Wildcats, 37-17
P.J. Walker enjoyed his XFL debut.
The Houston Roughnecks quarterback had a huge game Saturday, finishing 23-39 for 272 yards, four touchdowns and an interception in his team’s 37-17 win over the L.A. Wildcats.
James Butler also had a solid game for Houston, with 30 rushing yards, two receptions for 20 yards and two total scores.
The Wildcats got off to a nice start, taking a 17-12 lead in the second quarter. But it was all Houston from there, as the Roughnecks rattled off 25 unanswered points. The big difference was L.A.’s inability to get much going through the passing game, finishing with just 196 yards through the air and two interceptions.
Add in Houston’s five sacks on the evening, and the Wildcats quarterbacks never were able to get settled.
They’ll look to regroup next Sunday against the Dallas Renegades, while Houston will look to start the season 2-0 with a win that same day against the St. Louis Battlehawks.
D.C. Defenders def. Seattle Dragons, 31-19
Cardale Jones won a national championship during his college days at Ohio State. Now, he can say he won the first game of the XFL’s rebirth, too.
Granted, those two accomplishments aren’t exactly equivalent in prestige. But Jones looked the part of a solid quarterback on Saturday, finishing 16-of-26 for 291 yards and two touchdowns while leading D.C. to the 31-19 win.
For Jones, like many other players in the league, the XFL is a chance at redemption. He never stuck in the NFL despite tenures with the Buffalo Bills (2016), Los Angeles Chargers (2017-18) and Seattle Seahawks (2019). He was cut by the Seahawks in September.
Saturday was a good start for Jones and the Defenders. They’ll face the New York Guardians next Saturday, while the Dragons will lick their wounds and prepare for the Tampa Bay Vipers that same day.