Inside the XFL

by Fran Stuchbury
March 16, 2023 - XFL (XFL)

Week four of the XFL was highlighted by the St. Louis Battlehawks setting an XFL attendance record of 38,310 fans during their 24-11 victory over the Arlington Renegades. After playing on the road for the first three weeks, the Battlehawks improved to 3-1, keeping them on the heels of the undefeated D.C. Defenders and one game in front of the surging Seattle Sea Dragons.

The energy in the crowd in St. Louis gave the Battlehawks perhaps the best home field advantage in the league, though fans in D.C. might disagree.

Battlehawks quarterback A.J. McCarron played many important SEC games at Alabama with big crowds full of passion and energy, and St. Louis fans gave him a similar experience.

The Battlehawks aim to forge a tie for first place in the North Division with a victory at home against the D.C. Defenders on Saturday.

As for the Renegades, still second in the South Division, they must establish a better rushing attack to put less pressure on quarterback Kyle Sloter. Slotter struggled, throwing three interceptions in the loss. The 2-2 Renegades have a chance to put some distance between themselves and the San Antonio Brahmas with victories on the road and at home against San Antonio the next two weeks.

In other XFL action, the Houston Roughnecks were dominant in their 44-16 victory over the Orlando Guardians in a game which featured the first double pass of the XFL season with wide receiver Jontre Kirkland connecting for 49 yards to Deontay Burnett.

Kirkland became the first player this XFL season to throw a touchdown and catch another.

The Roughnecks enter the meat of their schedule after playing opponents with a combined 3-9 record so far. This week the Seattle Sea Dragons should pose more of a test.

The Guardians once again shot themselves in the foot, committing 13 penalties and allowing four sacks. Guardians Head Coach Terrel Buckley wasted his only challenge of the game on a 42-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Houston's William Likely.

XFL Director of Officials Dean Blandino reviews every turnover in XFL games to ensure the call on the field was correct. Because of the change of possession, Blandino had evtra time to review the fumble return, but Buckley still challenged the call.

The Seattle Sea Dragons defense won them the game in a 15-6 victory over the San Antonio Brahmas, holding San Antonio to a measly 21 yards rushing and 189 yards passing. June Jones, who coached the Roughnecks to a 5-0 mark in 2020, will look to get his run-and-shoot offense in high gear against Houston.

Meanwhile, the Brahmas are tied for sixth in the XFL with seven total touchdowns. San Antonio demoted offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo who will now serve as the club's receivers coach, while running backs coach Jimmie Johnson has been promoted to the role of offensive coordinator. Johnson will look to spark Brahmas starting quarterback Jack Coan who has struggled under heavy pressure the last two games.

The Brahmas at 1-3 face a must-win game at home against the Arlington Renegades on Sunday.

The D.C. Defenders join the Houston Roughnecks as the only undefeated team in the XFL. Unlike Houston, which relies on the pass to move the ball, the Defenders' run-heavy attack leads the XFL with 622 rushing yards.

Still, D.C. passes the football enough to keep defenses honest. Mobile quarterbacks Jordan Ta'Amu, who is third in the XFL with 185 rushing yards, and D'Eriq King, a superb option in the redzone, have both continued to make good choices with the football.

Every Scoring Play From Week 4:


  • Saturday night the Houston Roughnecks - Orlando Guardians game on FX tallied an audience of 405,000, while the FX matchup between the San Antonio Brahmas and Seattle Sea Dragons dipped to 343,000 viewers. Sunday afternoon on ESPN2 the Arlington Renegades - St. Louis Battlehawks matchup finished with a viewership of 572,000, while the night game on ESPN2 between the Vegas Vipers and D.C, Defenders surged to 691,000 viewers.

  • Houston Roughnecks quarterback Brandon Silvers, Seattle Sea Dragons outside linebacker Tuzar Skipper and D.C Defenders quarterback D'Eriq King were named the OurSports Central XFL Offensive Player, Defensive Player and Unsung Hero of the Week, respectively, for week four of the XFL season.

  • The XFL announced more updates to it's 2023 schedule, shifting some broadcast windows.

  • Home teams won three out of four week four games and are now 10-6 on the season.

  • Teams went two-of-three on one-point conversion attempts from the two-yard line, four-of-fifteen on two-point conversions from the five-yard line, and zero-of-two on three-point conversions from the 10-yard line.

  • The Seattle Sea Dragons finally attempted a one-point conversion last week, successfully extending their lead. They had previously gone for three points after every touchdown.

  • Battlehawks athletic trainer Ben Siegfried dies at team hotel:

  • The Houston Roughnecks are the only team to score a touchdown on every opening drive this season.

  • The XFL reinstated Orlando Guardians quarterback Quinten Dormady following allegations he had shared plays with another team. The league found no substantiation to the allegations.

  • The Vegas Vipers and Orlando Guardians will both be searching for their first victory as the season hits its halfway point Saturday night when they face off at Cashman Field in Las Vegas.

  • One bright spot for the Brahmas was kicker John Parker Romo, who hit the longest field goal in the history of Lumen Field with a 57-yarder just before halftime against the Sea Dragons. The previous record belonged to Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, who connected on a 56-yarder against the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.

  • The Philadelphia Eagles proposed a rule change to the NFL to replace the onside kick. Instead, team would have the option of a 4th-and-20 play from the 20-yard line to retaining possession. The XFL uses a 4th-and-15 play from the 25-yard line.

  • My XFL Best Bet Lock of the Week is the St. Louis Battlehawks +2 points at home against the D.C. Defenders. The Battlehawks have been circling this game since they lost to the Defenders 34-28 in week three. St. Louis committed four costly turnovers in that game, one of them resulted in a 41 interception return for a touchdown after their wide receiver had slipped. The Defenders have played one road game so far, an 18-6 victory against the a struggling Vegas Vipers team in heavy wind and rain. The Battlehawks passionate home crowd could make a difference.

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