Both these teams had opposite stories in week one. St. Louis played a pretty poor game overall, but mounted a wild comeback to top San Antonio. Meanwhile, Seattle controlled a majority of the matchup against DC, but fell apart in the final moments.
Tonight, the two North Division rivals faced off in what was an exciting battle. Let’s take a look at what happened in this epic XFL thriller.
To begin the game, Seattle received the football. It was a quick three and out for the team. On third down, Brandon Sebastian rocked Jahcour Pearson, which forced an incompletion.
Things didn’t go much better for St. Louis on their opening possession. AJ McCarron took a sack on the first play, which put them in a hole. The next two snaps went nowhere, and the Battlehawks had to punt.
Seattle got into a rhythm on their second drive. Morgan Ellison put the team on his back, knocking off chunk yardage on consecutive plays. Ben DiNucci also used his legs to move the chains a couple of times. However, the Sea Dragons were held to a field goal, and Dominik Eberle successfully kicked a 29 yarder.
St. Louis appeared to have a three and out on their next drive, but ultimately were bailed out by an offsides on the punt. However, Shareef Miller put a quick end to the Battlehawks’ drive, sacking McCarron and they still had to punt.
It was all Seattle to start the second period. Ben DiNucci found Pearson wide open, who took off down the sidelines for the score. Jahcour Pearson has been an excellent story for the XFL, proving to be a breakout star in this league. A successful three point attempt to Josh Gordon put the Sea Dragons up 12-0.
The Battlehawks were able to put it together on their next drive. AJ McCarron pushed his team down the field, using his legs and making smart plays. Once they got to the goal line, AJ called his own number and pushed it in. A successful two point pass to Marcell Ateman made it a 12-8 ball game.
Seattle moved the football well, but stalled out at midfield, leading to another punt. Meanwhile, St. Louis looked very fluid as an offense. Despite missing RB Brian Hill, Mataeo Durant stepped up in a big way in his absence.
AJ McCarron was much better in this quarter, compared to the first. Unfortunately, a dropped touchdown from Hakeem Butler cost them. McCarron got stripped of the ball by Tuzar Skipper – and while the team recovered, they were pushed out of field goal range.
Heading into halftime, the Sea Dragons led 12-8 in what was an entertaining first half.
As St. Louis took to the field in the second half, the offense couldn’t find the rhythm they had prior. They punted – but, Jahcour Pearson muffed the catch, and Gary Jennings recovered for the Battlehawks.
Despite the great field position, Seattle’s defense held up yet again. This time, St. Louis was held to a field goal. Disappointingly, Donny Hageman missed the kick off the uprights, and the score remained 12-8.
However, St. Louis made another play on defense. RB Morgan Ellison coughed up the football, and the Battlehawks recovered. This time, the Battlehawks capitalized as Hageman knocked through a 40 yard field goal to make it 12-11.
In the midst of it all, we were saddened to hear that Sea Dragons CB Chris Jones lost his father this morning. Amazingly, he played the game, and put on a show. Our prayers are with Jones and his family.
Seattle got the ball and marched down the field, finding their footing once again. Ben DiNucci continued to use his legs, which has proven to be a valuable asset to his game. Morgan Ellison appeared to have fumbled again, but forward progress was ruled and Seattle maintained possession. With one quarter left to play, Seattle led 12-11.
Well, St. Louis got their turnover after all. On 3rd and short DiNucci tried to run up the middle, but fumbled – and the Battlehawks took over as Kevin Atkins recovered.
Seattle’s defense forced another punt. An offensive PI call on Darrius Shepherd hurt St. Louis, ultimately ending their drive. That being said, the Sea Dragons fizzled out completely, and they punted the ball right back.
This time, St. Louis took advantage. McCarron marched his team down the field with ease. Then, he found Hakeem Butler on a crossing route, who took it to the house himself. Just like that, the Battlehawks led 17-12.
Things didn’t go any better for Ben DiNucci. June Jones decided to go for it on fourth down, but DiNucci missed Jahcour Pearson, and they turned it over on downs.
Thankfully, Seattle has Tuzar Skipper. His imprints were all over this one, and had a huge TFL on 3rd and one, taking down Mataeo Durant in the backfield. Donny Hageman was short on a 50 yard field goal try, and Seattle took over.
Tuzar Skipper has been a monster today for the @XFLSeaDragons. If they pull this one off, he's gotta get a lot of credit.
The final few minutes were wild, to say the least. DiNucci found Josh Gordon deep, setting the team up nicely. On 4th and goal, Ben threw a perfect pass to Jordan Veasy, who caught it in the end zone. With just over a minute to play, the Sea Dragons led 18-17.
AJ McCarron and the Battlehawks weren’t going to go down, however. McCarron put the team on his back, scrambling for multiple first downs on the final drive. A pass to Austin Proehl put them in position to win it. Despite missing two field goals prior, Donny Hageman banged through the 44 yarder as time expired.
Donny Hageman with ice in his veins as he sends his team to 2-0. What a victory for this team. Everyone is bought in. Anthony Becht is doing a great job in St. Louis. #XFL | @XFL2023pic.twitter.com/x5V80kbSfp
The St. Louis Battlehawks came away with another clutch win on the road, with a 20-18 showing over the Seattle Sea Dragons.
That was an absolutely ridiculous opening to XFL week two. So far, we’ve seen plenty of exciting finishes, and we’re only five games into the season.
Anthony Becht has his Battlehawks looking like a squad. After a rough start in San Antonio, this team has started to figure things out with AJ McCarron at the helm. Now sitting at 2-0, St. Louis can claim the #1 seed in the North with a DC loss.
"It's just fun to come out here and play. I've missed playing."
Meanwhile, the Seattle Sea Dragons will have to try to figure things out next week. This team has been on the verge of victory two weeks in a row, but just can’t find a way to get it done. Something has to change, that’s for sure.
What did you think of tonight’s game between the Seattle Sea Dragons and the St. Louis Battlehawks? Which XFL players were the most important tonight to their respective teams? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!