After coming from 17 points behind to tie the game, the Arlington Renegades fell to the DC Defenders in overtime 28-26.
The first three quarters appeared to be a lot of the same things we have seen from the Arlington Renegades where the offense moved the ball down the field but could finish drives with touchdowns. Arlington’s secondary struggled to slow down Jordan Ta’amu and D’Eriq King who threw three touchdowns in the first three quarters. Renegades quarterback Luis Perez threw an interception after receiver Brandon Arconado did a double move, he wasn’t supposed to lead to a D.J. Swearinger pick-six.
Going into the fourth quarter with the Renegades losing 26-9, all hope seemed lost. That was until Perez went off and led the team to two touchdown drives, a fourth and 15 conversion, a perfect coach Bob Stoops challenge, and a field goal with five seconds left in the game. The Renegades forced overtime at 26-26, but the short yards struggle for Arlington caught up to them with them missing all three of their overtime attempts. DC got one of them and was able to earn the win and the north division title.
With the loss, the Renegades moved to 4-5 on the season and still hold second place in the south division. The problem is the San Antonio Brahmas pulled out a 25-23 win over Orlando so the Renegades must win Sunday against the Houston Roughnecks or have the San Antonio Brahmas lose to the DC Defenders. A loss to Houston and a San Antonio win eliminates Arlington from the playoffs.
Key Moments from Arlington Renegades Loss
Luis Perez Cures Arlington’s Offensive Woes
What a difference it makes to bring in a new quarterback to run the offense. Luis Perez has been every bit as good as advertised after having one of the best performances from a quarterback this year throwing for 335 yards and a touchdown in the win. Coach Stoops once again had nothing but praise for his quarterback in his second start with Arlington.
“Fantastic. Truth be told. That interception was not on him. He throws for 335. That’s a heck of a day. Luis has been excellent. Checking in the right plays and doing a great job.”Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops
It felt like Perez was in rhythm throughout the game completing around 75 percent of his passes. It helped that he had good games from his running backs with Leddie Brown and De’Veon Smith combining for over 100 yards rushing. Brown was big in the passing game, going for 69 receiving yards in the loss. Those screen passes along with other great play calls from co-offensive coordinator Jonathan Hayes is what made Perez happy with the offense.
“Yeah, I think coach did a phenomenal job calling the plays in the second half. He did a great job letting me open up and take over in a sense.”Arlington Renegades Quarterback Luis Perez
Key Mistakes Cost Renegades Win
There were a couple of moments where the Renegades will see on tape and believe these were moments that cost them an important win. One of those moments was the missed 44-yard field goal from Taylor Russolino that would have tied the game at 6-6 in the first quarter. If he made that field goal, his last field goal of the game would have been the game-winner for Arlington.
Another key moment was Perez’s interception that was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter. Seeing the game on TV, coach Stoops spoke with Brandon Arconado and told him that he can’t double move at that moment. Coach Stoops patted Perez on the back and said, “That’s not on you.” That was a key moment in the game as Perez kept his confidence to ensure the team didn’t pack it in being down by 17.
Renegades Pass Defense Struggles in Loss
Arlington’s secondary struggled against the DC Defenders’ passing game with Josh Hammond, Brandon Smith, Chris Blair, and Lucky Jackson coming up with big pass plays throughout the game. The secondary seemed to play soft with the receivers which resulted in a lot of easy completions. Jordan Ta’amu and D’Eriq King combined for 20-29 for 264 yards and three touchdowns.
One good thing is that the defense did create two interceptions that kept them alive in the game. Joe Powell grabbed his fourth interception of the season as he is top five in the XFL in interceptions. Linebacker Colin Schooler bounced back from his injury and got a key interception in the second half to help the Renegades’ offense.
It appears that the injuries the defense has been dealing with seem to be finally catching up to them. Not having Donald Payne on the field was a big miss for the linebackers despite the defense shutting the Defenders’ rushing attack to just 50 total yards in the game. Someone in the secondary will have to make plays outside of Powell and De’Vante Bausby.
Despite the loss, it felt like this was the performance where the Renegades finally put everything together and competed at a high level. The offense scored a season-high 26 points and gained a season-high 434 total yards. Only one interception and a missed field goal are the blemishes for the offense. It was encouraging to see the offense rolling at full force in their best outing of the season.
Defensively, pass defense must play better, but holding the best rushing attack in the XFL to 50 yards is a good day’s work. Their performance in the fourth quarter was massive in helping the offense mount the 17-point comeback. There were moments on all three phases of the game where they could have made a play or two, but the Renegades’ defense played better than the score showed.
The focus shifts to Sunday in Arlington against the Houston Roughnecks where the Renegades need help from DC to beat San Antonio. If the Brahmas pull off the upset, it’ll be on the Renegades to close the season with a win. The last week of the season adds stress to the team, but with Perez piloting the offense, it feels like a Houston win is more likely than three weeks ago.
Renegades Team Stats
Renegades Offensive Stats
Renegades Defensive Stats
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