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XFL Week 5 Takeaways and Lessons Learned

In a league with limited history, the idea of tradition seems intangible. Yet, notable streaks were on the line this week. The Houston Roughnecks were 9-0 all time dating back to 2020. The St. Louis Battlehawks were undefeated at home. Coming into the season, the DC Defenders had only won at home and never on the road. Traditions, even short-lived, proved significant to multiple fan bases. Given these terms, this weekend was a massive break from tradition.

Seattle Makes History

Houston Roughnecks’ faithful had no idea what losing was like. That unfathomable feeling came swiftly and harshly on Thursday night as Houston at last recorded a digit in the loss column. The Seattle Sea Dragons, once 0-2, have been revitalized by a three game win streak culminating in a 21-14 victory on their home turf as all three units made significant contributions.

Whether it was quarterback Ben Dinucci using his arm and legs, the defense overwhelming Brandon Silvers and creating timely turnovers, or the special teams blocking two punts, Seattle blitzed Houston from every angle. Houston’s high-powered offense always had an answer in the past or would benefit from a impact play on defense. No heroics were to be had this night though as Houston now heads to DC for a pivotal match up.

DC Owns Ka Kaw, And Perhaps the League

Much like Houston, St. Louis fans had never experienced a loss at home. “The Battledome” was their haven and handicap against all their opponents. The DC Defenders could care less as they ran over the Battlehawks for a resounding 28-20 victory. The Defenders are now 3-0 all time vs. St. Louis thanks in large part to a outstanding effort by first overall pick Abram Smith. Smith’s 218 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns silenced the bellows of Ka Kaw as DC was in complete control for most of the match. On defense, cornerback Michael Joseph continued his incredible season with his 4th interception which came late in the 4th quarter to seal the game.

The Battlehawks were unable to turn field goals into touchdown drives as they played catch up with DC from the 2nd quarter on. As the lone standing undefeated team, the DC Defenders can make the claim as the league’s best outfit.

Too Little, Too Late for Vegas, Orlando

A battle of win-less collectives took place in Las Vegas late Saturday night, and all it all it proved to a swan song for both teams. Despite a 35-32 victory for the Vipers, there were still a litany of mistakes made that hardly instilled increased confidence in their operation. A stacked North Division featuring DC, Seattle, and St. Louis will make the task of a playoff run almost insurmountable for Vegas. Aside from breakdowns in defensive alignments, Vegas clearly any significant home field advantage as they continue to draw modest grounds and play on less-than-optimal turf.

Orlando meanwhile has disappeared into a vortex of misery. Inexcusable penalties, defensive miscues and a lack of cohesion between any units have left the Guardians in a 0-5 void. Head coach Terrell Buckley has exhausted all of his tanks attempting to salvage this season as Orlando looks towards a high draft pick in next season’s draft. The only silver lining came from Quinten Dormady who was able to fight through an unwarranted controversy to have the a 22/25, 256 yard and two touchdown performance.

Offense Nowhere to be Found in Texas

Unlike their Houston counterparts, the Brahmas and Renegades can barely muster double-digit outputs. In a Texas-sized power outage, both teams were stuck in the mud as Arlington ultimately prevailed 12-10. The Renegades have scored a measly five offensive touchdowns all season regardless of if Drew Plitt or Kyle Sloter are under center. Meanwhile, San Antonio switched to QB Reid Sinnett only to see him hurt and leaving the struggling Jack Coan to shoulder the load.

Three interceptions capped a paltry performance by the Brahmas. Little is expected to change for either squad as they face off again next week, this time in Arlington. Both franchises will squirm their way into the South Division’s 2nd playoff spot, but at this rate either one looks to be mincemeat for their Eastern neighbors the Roughnecks.

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