Get hyped, St. Louis.
Football is back!
Battlehawks QB AJ McCarron did not have the best first half to start the XFL season with the St. Louis Battlehawks. In fact, it was a dreadful first three quarters. But he ended Game 1 in the best way possible. The former Alabama signal caller led 2 touchdown drives in the final three minutes of the game to hand St. Louis the win, 18-15.
McCarron connected with receiver Austin Proehl, son of legendary St. Louis Rams wide receiver Ricky Proehl (the wide receivers coach for the Battlehawks) for the game-winning score after a successful 3-point conversion and the NFL’s equivalent of a onside kick.
“Unbelievable credit (to our team),” a rather emotional McCarron said after the game in his broadcast interview with ABC. “They were giving us some problems up front. I am just so freaking proud of these guys. I don’t know what to say … It’s awesome. It means a lot.”
St. Louis was able to comeback because of a rule difference in the XFL system. A team is allowed to try a 4th and 15 from their own 25-yard line in the same way an onside kick works in the NFL or college football. McCarron and Proehl connected on that pass too, later leading to the above touchdown. He finished the day with 190 yards passing on 18 completions with 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
McCarron, a fifth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2014 draft, has been with five different NFL franchises: Cincinnati, the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans and Atlanta. He has appeared in 17 games and made four starts in the regular season, the last of which came in 2019 with Houston. In his NFL career, he has completed 62.6% of his attempts for 1,173 yards with six touchdowns to three interceptions.
Defensively, it was a back and forth battle between the two teams. It was a 3-0 halftime score, and by the start of the 4th quarter, it was merely a 6-3 game. San Antonio, however, had the upper hand in the trenches, as the St. Louis offensive line was brutalized and pushed around all afternoon by the Brahmas.