For the second game of the day we head to Dignity Health where the DC Defenders go on the road for the first time to take on the Los Angeles Wildcats. The crowd was much more slim then last weeks home opener, but that was a little expected as LA is probably the leagues worst market; not to mention the franchise has yet to get their first win.
LA started out with possession. Josh Johnson came into the game looking like a brand new quarterback. A few long balls down the field he was able to lead his team to a quick touchdown connecting with Tre McBride for the six.
They opted for a 2-point attempt, but could not convert. With just over 12 minutes left in the first, they held a 6-0 lead over the undefeated DC Defenders.
DC had their first chance to respond, but the Wildcats defense came out strong. First getting a nice hit on Cardale Jones, which he hadn’t seen a lot of this season. Then capping off the Defenders drive with an interception giving them possession once again at their own 42-yard line.
Unfortunately, the Wildcats couldn’t capitalize on the turnover. The Defenders living up their name, forced LA to punt it away after three unsuccessful attempts. Both teams traded possession for most of the quarter, but Los Angeles was able to secure another interception with under 2 minutes left in the first.
Unlike the first interception, the Wildcats were able to move the ball into scoring position. Thanks to Martez Carter, Los Angeles was able to secure their second touchdown of the game. They subsequently went for two, also successful; putting them up 14-0.
The Defenders continued to struggle, ending their drive with a massive sack by Tre Williams forcing DC to punt the ball away. Los Angeles came into this game looking like a brand new team, this drive was no different. Josh Johnson was definitely getting into the rhythm of the game. Johnson targeted Tre McBride once again, this time for a 28-yard touchdown. The Wildcats opted for a 1-point attempt which they could not convert. Regardless, they have still held the Defenders scoreless and now up 20-0.
A lot had been said about Anthony Johnson and Rasad Ross being traded from LA to DC, but not much said about McBride. Today, he proved his value and made sure everyone knew how much he loved his new home.
The Defenders couldn’t catch a break. After being forced to punt, they botched the ball and the Wildcats recovered putting them at the 4-yard line threatening to score once again and DC giving up their third turnover of the game.
The botched punt results in the @XFLWildcats getting the ball back
With possession once again, Marquez Carter was able to get his second touchdown of the game, punching in on short yards giving his team a 26-0 lead. Los Angeles went for a 1-point conversion, this time successfully putting them up 27-0 with 4:44 left in the half.
DC came into this drive wanting to get on the board before the half ran out. Los Angeles almost got their third pick of the game on this drive, lucky or DC they could not handle the ball. DC still could not get a touchdown, but they did finally get on the board securing a successful field goal from Ty Rausa.
Last week, the Defenders shutout the New York Guardians 27-0. This week, they were down 27-3 at the half. You know the had to sting for Pep Hamilton and company, expect to see some major adjustments during the half.
The Defenders started out the second with possession, hoping to defy all odds and get back into this game. Things started out well for DC, Cardale moved the ball well, but ended his drive with his third pick of the game.
The Wildcats, showing no mercy kept the momentum going. For the second time of the game Martez Carter ran the ball in for six, this time opting to front-flip into the end-zone. Holding a commanding 30-point lead the Wildcats opted for a 1-point conversion. Unable to convert, they were still up by a huge margin 33-3.
Los Angeles really was showing no mercy in this game; they wanted to make a statement. Martez Carter put the ball in the end-zone one more time for his third touchdown of the game. They refs needed to review the play because his elbow hit the ground, but he was able to skin the cat and jump without being touched.
This drive did work out a little better for them, well in the grand scope, much better. Brousette was able to successfully run it in for the team first touchdown of the game. They opted for a 3-point conversion, but were picked off.
With their backs up against the wall, DC tried the first on-side kick of the XFL season. Keep in mind, in the XFL you need to announce it before hand. As expected, it did not work out for them, giving Los Angeles great position on their possession.
Los Angeles now took Johnson out to rest, replaced with Jalan McClendon to finish out the game. With a lead like this, they new they had this in the bag.
Going into this game it’s hard to believe anyone expected it to go quite like this. We know that Winston Moss wanted to prove his naysayers wrong; plus, Josh Johnson was getting more comfortable. The team did exactly what they wanted to accomplish; get their first win. A huge win it was, they shocked the Defenders and the world; taking out arguably the best team in the league. Going into this game, DC was the only team in the east with a 2-0 record. With this lose, this leaves the Houston Roughnecks as the lone undefeated team in the league.
DC looks to rebound next week on the road when they take on the Tampa Bay Vipers. The Vipers are still winless on the season, just like the Wildcats were going into this game. They did look a lot stronger in their match-up against Houston, so we may see another upset next week.
Los Angeles will look to add to the win column when they travel to Met Life to take on the New York Guardians who have had some struggles of their own the last couple weeks.
Week 3 is now in the books, what was your favorite game of the weekend? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.