Seattle Sea Dragons (1-2) at Vegas Vipers (0-3) Final Score: 30 – 26
In Week 3, the Seattle Sea Dragons traveled to face the Vegas Vipers in what would be the highest-scoring matchup of the XFL season so far. Despite Seattle’s turnover issues continuing for the 3rd straight week, quarterback Ben DiNucci and the offense played a great game, gaining 377 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air, and 143 yards on the ground, leading to their first win of the season and a 1-2 record.
- QB – Ben DiNucci
- WR – Josh Gordon
- RB – Morgan Ellison
Honorable Mentions: WR – Blake Jackson, WR – Juwan Green, WR – Jahcour Pearson
- DE – Daniel Joseph
- LB – Tre Walker
- DT – Austin Faoliu
Honorable Mention: LB – Clarence Hicks
|##||Seattle Sea Dragons||Comp/Att (%)||Yds||TD||Int||LG||Sack – Yds|
|6||Ben DiNucci||29/37 (78.3%)||377||4||1||65||1-1|
|##||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
What many expected to be another rough outing in Vegas due to windy conditions ended up as the highest-scoring game of the season so far and the Seattle Sea Dragons’ first win of the year.
It wasn’t a perfect game by any means, the turnover issues continued, and playcalling ahead of halftime can still improve, in my opinion. However, quarterback Ben DiNucci and the offense played a great game, throwing the ball with ease and leaning on the run game significantly more than the previous two weeks.
DiNucci threw for a professional career high of 377 yards, 4 touchdowns, and an interception, finding 3 different targets in the endzone. Wide receiver Josh Gordon had a breakout performance, grabbing 6 receptions for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns. Additionally, running back Morgan Ellison had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, taking 17 carries for 103 yards before leaving the game with what appeared to be an upper leg injury.
Hopefully, Ellison can return to the lineup soon, as his violent running style added an element to Seattle’s offense that was missing in the first two weeks. Additionally, their other back, Brenden Knox, is already missing time due to an injury.
Defensively, this might’ve been Seattle’s weakest game of the season so far as they allowed 344 yards of total offense, 2 touchdowns through the air, and 1 touchdown from Vipers quarterback Brett Hundley on the ground. The Sea Dragons only sacked Hundley once all game, and the Vipers’ offense easily moved the ball for a large part of the matchup.
It didn’t help that Sea Dragons defenders made some simple mistakes; for example, a Vipers wide receiver who caught the football on the ground was never touched down, then got up and ran for a 56-yard play.
Luckily, Seattle’s defense got two big stops on both the Vipers’ final two possessions late in the 4th quarter to seal their victory. However, the Sea Dragons’ defense must clean things up if they want to beat a talented San Antonio Brahmas team in Week 4.
Overall, Seattle’s figuring things out offensively despite the turnovers. Ben DiNucci’s starting to look much more comfortable in this offense, and feeding their violent runner Morgan Ellison added the piece they were missing.
Short yardage playcalling was much improved this week, but there was still some issues with clock management ahead of halftime. Maybe I’m missing something, but I feel like if you’re near mid-field with 29 seconds on the clock and 2 timeouts in a tied game with the opposing team getting the ball to start the 3rd quarter, it’d be wise to at least try and get in field goal range? Maybe!? That’s way too much time left to call it a half when the clock stops on first downs.
Something else I should note, it might be time for Seattle’s offense to try something besides the three-point conversion attempts. I genuinely love the aggressiveness and understand the idea of giving yourself more space to work with. If the Sea Dragons converted the play more often, I’d be all for it, but they’ve only converted 2/8 three-point attempts so far this season. So, while it isn’t something that never works, maybe it’s time to start leaning on the 2 or 1-point play in certain situations.
The defense has a lot to clean up moving forward. They can’t leave guys as open as they were, and mistakes like not touching an opposing player down can’t happen. In the end, they made stops when needed, but the defensive unit must strive for fewer mistakes if they want to beat some of the better teams in the league.
Amazing Comeback Win, But A Bit Messy On Defense.
Performance Grade: A-
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