St. Louis Battlehawks (2-0) at Seattle Sea Dragons (0-2) Final Score: 20 – 18
In Week 2, The Seattle Sea Dragons took on the St. Louis Battlehawks in the XFL’s first Thursday night matchup of the year. It was a cold night in Seattle, with temperatures around 30 degrees, but that didn’t keep things from getting exciting in another game that came down to the wire. Unfortunately, three fumbles lost, communication issues on defense, and some questionable coaching decisions led the Sea Dragons’ to their second loss of the season.
- QB – Ben DiNucci
- WR – Jahcour Pearson
- RB – Morgan Ellison
Honorable Mention: WR – Blake Jackson, RB – Brenden Knox
- ILB – Emmanuel Smith
- OLB – Shareef Miller
- OLB – Tuzar Skipper
Honorable Mention: CB – Chris Jones, DE – Niko Lalos
|##||Seattle Sea Dragons||Comp/Att (%)||Yds||TD||Int||LG||Sack – Yds|
|##||Seattle Sea Dragons||Att||Yds||Avg||TD||LG|
|##||Seattle Sea Dragons||Rec||Yds||Avg||TD||LG||Tgts|
|##||Seattle Sea Dragons||Fum||Lost||Rec|
|##||Seattle Sea Dragons||Solo||Ast||Total||Sacks – Yds||TFL||INT||FF||FR|
Thoughts & Performance Grade
The XFL’s first Thursday night matchup was another one that came down to the wire. Seattle’s passing attack was more efficient than in the league’s opening weekend, with quarterback Ben DiNucci not throwing any interceptions in week 2. Another bright spot on offense was the Sea Dragons’ o-line not allowing a single sack. However, poor clock management heading into halftime and three fumbles lost throughout the game really swayed things in the Battlehawks’ direction. Additionally, Seattle could have leaned into the run game more, as both running backs Morgan Ellison and Brenden Knox averaged 5 yards per carry, but only ran the ball 13 times between the two.
Defensively, the Sea Dragons’ pass rush played a much better game than they did in Week 1. While they only recorded 1 sack in their opening game which came on a 2-point conversion attempt, Seattle sacked Battlehawks quarterback A.J. McCarron 3 times throughout the game. Unfortunately, the Sea Dragons couldn’t stop St. Louis in the crucial moments, and communication seemed to be an issue based on what we heard from defensive coordinator Ron Zook at halftime. Seattle’s defense had their moments, but they’ll need to tighten things up moving forward.
Overall, the Seattle Sea Dragons played a hard-fought game. Ben DiNucci looked better than he did in week 1 and cleaned up the turnovers, Jahcour Pearson continued to establish himself as Seattle’s number-one target, and the offensive line didn’t allow a single sack in their second outing. However, when both your running backs are averaging 5 yards per carry, giving them the ball more than 13 times might be a smart idea.
The defense came out of the gates hot, and their pass rush racked up a couple of sacks early in the game. However, communication and missed assignments seemed to be an issue among defensive players as the game went on, and the Battlehawks could do whatever they needed to on offense late in the game.
Regarding what the Sea Dragons should work on moving forward, short-yardage playcalling and clock management must improve. For example, Seattle recorded a 3rd down sack with more than a minute left in the first half and only a 4-point lead. The Battlehawks were set to receive the ball to start the second half, but coach Jim Haslett let an entire minute run off the clock to go into halftime despite rules which stop the clock on first downs under the two-minute mark and all 3 timeouts remaining.
On top of better coaching decisions, Seattle needs to work on cleaning up the penalties and turnovers. While Ben DiNucci didn’t throw an interception this week, the team lost three fumbles between DiNucci, Morgan Ellison, and Jahcour Pearson. Hopefully, a long week heading into their matchup against the Vegas Vipers will give Seattle the time they need to clean things up.
Some Improvement From Week 1, But Can’t Get Out Of Their Own Way.
Performance Grade: B-
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