The football season continued this weekend as the XFL made his debut with Saturday’s game between the Vegas Vipers and the Arlington Renegades at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This is the third iteration of the XFL following the original season in 2001 and a 2020 restart that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
XFL 2023 Started quickly: The Renegades defeated the Vipers 22-20 and recovered from a 14-3 half-time deficit with 19 straight points before repelling Vegas’ equalizing 2-point conversion attempt with eight seconds left. The Houston Roughnecks rolled over the Orlando Guardians in the late game and scored four straight first-half goals to break an early deficit in a 33-12 win.
On Sunday, the St. Louis BattleHawks travel at 3:00 p.m. ET to play the San Antonio Brahmas, coached by Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward. Week 1 concludes at 8pm ET in Washington, DC when the DC Defenders host the Seattle Sea Dragons.
All XFL games stream live on ESPN+ and are available on the ESPN family of networks (ABC, ESPN and FX).
The games on Saturday
Houston’s defense dominated Orlando as the Roughnecks registered seven sacks to Guardians quarterbacks Paxton Lynch and Quinten Dormady, overcoming an early touchdown to set the tone. The Guardians (0-1) scored the first goal when receiver Cody Latimer – who played with Lynch – on the Denver Broncos — struggled against a Roughnecks defenseman for a 27-yard touchdown reception in the first series of the game.
Orlando Guardians score first TD on review
Paxton Lynch connects with Cody Latimer, who is rewarded with the Guardians first touchdown after verification.
But the Roughnecks (1-0) dominated from there thanks to four sacks from linebacker Trent Harris and two from defensive end Tim Ward. This allowed Houston to break out for 24 unanswered points, 21 of which came from four consecutive possessions in the first half. Roughnecks quarterback Brandon Silvers threw two touchdown passes, a 10-yarder to Jontre Kirklin for Houston’s first hit and a 46-yarder to Deontay Burnett, which saw the former NFL receiver catch it with one hand and pull it away for the touchdown.
Deontay Burnett grabs a one-handed TD for the roughnecks
Roughnecks QB Brandon Silvers praises it to Deontay Burnett, who makes a one-handed hold for a touchdown.
Houston running back Max Borghi also ran for a 27-yard touchdown.
Orlando broke the Houston scoring run in the fourth quarter with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Dormady to Andrew Jamiel, but a fumbled punt late in the fourth quarter dashed any hopes of a Guardians comeback as the turnover ended in a 5th -yard touchdown was operated by Houston backup quarterback Cole McDonald.
Silvers led the roughnecks, throwing for 265 yards and two touchdowns on 26-of-42 passing with two interceptions. Burnett had eight receptions for 88 yards while Kirklin had five catches for 66 yards. Lynch led Orlando with 136 yards on 15-of-21 passing.
Roughnecks: Want to see us score a touchdown?
Roughnecks: Want to see us at it again? pic.twitter.com/RbusdhkVR3
— Houston Roughnecks (@XFLRoughnecks) February 19, 2023
After a difficult first half, the Renegades grabbed 12 points from two Vegas turnovers in the third quarter to take the lead and held on to the 1-0 lead. Arlington’s defense dominated second-half action, highlighted by two pick-sixes. Defensive tackle Tomasi Laulile marked the run in the third quarter with a 22-yard touchdown return after a faulty pass from Vegas quarterback Luis Perez, while cornerback De’Vante Bausby had a 4-yard interception return for one in the fourth quarter TD met. The Renegades’ D was also big eight seconds from time when TJ Barnes sacked Perez on a potentially game-changing 2-point conversion attempt.
Arlington’s Tomasi Laulile hits an electric pick six
Arlington’s Tomasi Laulile jumps in front of the receiver, intercepts the pass and returns it for a touchdown.
Bausby’s pick came after the Vipers (0-1) briefly stopped the Renegades in a fourth and scoring situation from the 1. Vegas held Arlington’s offense from the end zone as the Renegades settled for three field goals from Taylor Russolino, the third, to give the Renegades the lead to stay long in the third quarter.
The first half went much better for the Vipers, who scored on two touchdown passes from Perez to receiver Jeff Badet to take a 14-3 lead at halftime. Perez hit Badet with a 5-yard scoring pass on the game’s first possession and then connected with the former Oklahoma receiver on a 39-yard score in the second quarter. Perez tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Cinque Sweeting with 14 seconds left. Perez threw for 249 yards on 22 of 36 passes with three touchdown passes and two interceptions, while Badet had six receptions for 81 yards.
Jeff Badet grabs the first XFL TD of the season
Luis Perez dodges the pressure and finds Jeff Badet for the goal as the Vipers take a 6-0 lead over the Renegades.
Arlington quarterback Drew Plitt threw 172 yards on 19-of-25 passing with an interception while Sal Cannella caught seven passes for 70 yards.
— Arlington Renegades (@XFLRenegades) February 18, 2023
The games on Sunday
St.Louis BattleHawks at San Antonio Brahmas
3 p.m. ET, Alamodome, San Antonio
spread: STL-3.0 (36.5)
Seattle Sea Dragons at DC Defenders
8:00 p.m. ET, Audi Field, Washington, DC
spread: SEA -2.5 (37)