We’re back for the second half of week 5 of the 2020 XFL season. Kicking off the action today is the St. Louis BattleHawks traveling to Audi Field to take on the DC Defenders. DC has lost the last two, after starting the season 2-0. Adding insult to injury, both of their loses happened against the remaining un-winning XFL teams.
St. Louis currently sits at #1 in the East at 3-1. DC is 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the road, so they’re hoping that to get back to the winning side of things now that they’re back at Audi Field.
Defense came out strong for both teams early in the game. With St. Louis starting out with the ball, their initial drive ended with a massive sack, forcing them to punt.
Thanks to the Kenny Robinson pick, Jordan Ta’amu and company were able to move the ball into field goal possession. Russolino was able to secure the three extra-points via a 35-yard attempt, putting his team up 3-0.
Out here turning turnovers into points. 👊@tgrussolino bangs it home from 35 yards out!
There was still plenty of time left in the match-up, but DC didn’t want to wait long to strike. On their next drive, Pep Hamilton decided to swap out Cardale Jones for Tyree Jackson at QB. With Jackson in at quarterback, the team was able to get the ball moving a little better. The drive ultimately ended with a touchdown, giving the team their first score of the afternoon. Up 6-3, the Defenders opted for a 2-point conversion but could not get it done.
This game was turning out to be quite the running match-up for both teams. With the BattleHawks back in control, Christine Michael was able to catch the pass from Ta’amu to secure the 15-yard first down run.
During the last Defenders home game at Audi Field we saw the birth of the XFL’s beer snake. If you were hoping that we’d see it again, you’re in luck. It returned, and I must say it looked pretty healthy early in the second quarter of the game.
Could the DC Defenders harness the power of the beer snake? Not yet it seemed. After a failed drive, The BattleHawks Carlton Agudosi was able to get his second blocked punt of the season. Due to this block, it was effectively a 4-yard punt from the Defenders.
Luckily for DC, St. Louis was unable to make any meaningful plays; also being forced to punt the ball. With Jackson at the helm, he was able to get the ball to the 30-yard line, but could not get it into the red-zone. The Defenders settled for a field goal, but Rausa was slightly wide-right missing the target, keeping the game tied at 6-6.
Defense was playing well for both teams, this is why it’s no surprise that the game was tied 6-6 at the half. Starting out the second half DC had possession of the ball. The Defenders couldn’t get a touchdown, but they did allow Rausa to redeem himself after his miss before the half ended.
This time Rausa knocked it in from 52-yards, giving DC the lead again at 9-6.
St. Louis tried their best to get back into the swing of things. They moved the ball into field goal position, but surprisingly Russolino missed his first field goal attempt of the season, keeping the game 9-6 in DC’s favor.
With The Defenders back in control, we saw Jhurell Pressley confuse The BattleHawks by essentially stepping over their defense only to continue the run and bring them within 32-yards of scoring.
The drive did lead to some false hope for the DC Defenders, Simmi Cobbs ran it in, thinking he got the touchdown jump in the stands to get a closer look at the beer snake. The play was ultimately called back, and rendering the play ineffective.
Once again, DC needed to depend on Rausa to try to add to their slim lead. In his last attempt Rausa was successful on a 52-yarder, this time he attempted a 51-yarder and was also successful. This extended the DC’s lead to 12-6 with 3:26 left in the third.
Down by six, when presented the chance to go for it on fourth and down St. Louis decided to go for it. Unfortunately for The BattleHawks, Ta’Amu was shut down on his attempt giving DC the ball and allowing them to hold on to the lead.
DC did their best trying to get the touchdown, but had to settle on the touchdown, putting them up 9 at 15-6. With the XFL’s point structure, this could allow The BattleHawks to tie the game with a touchdown and a successful 3-point conversion.
With the game potentially on the line, Ta’amu was once again forced to attempt to convert a fourth and 1 conversion to try and extend their drive. The DC Defenders lived up to their name and stopped the drive again, giving them the ball with only 1:55 left in the game.
DC did a great job getting a few key first downs from Jhurell Pressley to give the team room to run the clock out. DC and St. Louis both now have a tied 3-2 record going into week 6.
In an update on the Beer Snake, even Commissioner Oliver Luck got in the action. He came out near the end of the game to contribute a beer cup to grow the beer snake to lengths never seen before.
GET YOU A LEAGUE COMMISSIONER WHO CONTRIBUTES A CUP TO THE GIANT BEER SNAKE.