Call it round one if you want to.
The St. Louis Battlehawks and D.C. Defenders game on Sunday was a back and forth, hard-fought affair, that resembled a heavyweight boxing match. In the end, it nearly turned into one as both teams engaged in a massive brawl to end the contest. Tempers flared on both sides, as the Defenders came away with a 34-28 win.
While the fight is likely what will be talked about, the game was undoubtedly the best XFL game of the season in a third week that was filled with strong play across the league.
The Battlehawks once again had an opportunity to utilize the 4th and 15 play at the end of the game, but AJ McCarron’s pass was nowhere near his receiver and the Defenders held on for the win, moving to 3-0. St. Louis falls to 2-1.
As time was expiring, players clashed on the field, as benches emptied. Coaches could be seen hollering at each other while trying to get control of the melee. Some say it’s not a good look for the league, but I beg to differ. While I’m not approving of the brawl, I do think it will add some eyes to the league and make some much-needed noise with some outlets that normally wouldn’t cover the league.
DC linebacker Francis Bernard, offensive lineman Rod Taylor and St. Louis running back Brian Hill were all ejected. It’s not known if they will face further punishment from the league.
McCarron finished the day with 262 yards passing. He tossed 4 touchdowns and threw his first 2 interceptions of the season.
Former St. Louis quarterback Jordan Ta’amu played pretty well in the game against his former squad. He finished 11 of 20 for 196 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a touchdown.
The teams engaged in the highest-scoring affair of the early XFL season in a class of unbeaten teams. While St. Louis may have lost the first contest, the two will face off again in just two weeks when DC travels to St. Louis. Speaking of St. Louis, the Battlehawks will have their first home game of the season next week, hosting the Arlington Renegades at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Over 32,000 fans are expected to attend the game. The Battlehawks led the league in attendance in 2020 before Covid forced the league to shut down.