Seattle Sea Dragons (5-3) at D.C. Defenders (7-1)
The Seattle Sea Dragons hosted the D.C. Defenders in Week 8, for a battle between two of the XFL’s best offenses. Unfortunately for Seattle, the Sea Dragons’ 5-game winning streak came to an end, and the D.C. Defenders sealed their ticket to the playoffs.
- QB – Ben DiNucci
- RB – Phillip Lindsay
- WR – Juwan Green
Honorable Mention(s): WR – Blake Jackson, WR – Jahcour Pearson, WR – Josh Gordon
- S – Antwaun Brooks
- LB – Tre Walker
- LB – Clarence Hicks
Honorable Mention(s): DE – Niko Lalos, S – Bryce Thompson, LB – Tyrell Adams
- K – Dominik Eberle
- KR/PR – Kelvin McKnight
|##||Seattle Sea Dragons||Comp/Att (%)||Yds||TD||Int||LG||Sack – Yds|
|6||Ben DiNucci||28/42 (66.6% Comp)||301||3||1||56||0-0|
|##||Team||28/42 (66.6% Comp)||301||3||1||56||0-0|
|##||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
In Week 8, the Sea Dragons hosted the D.C. Defenders in one of the most anticipated matchups of the season. The game lived up to expectations, coming down to the wire in an outing determined by a singular point. Unfortunately, Seattle found themselves on the losing side, making their road to the playoffs significantly more difficult in their final two regular-season games.
Ben DiNucci played one of his better games of the entire year, making great throws and generally playing smart football throughout. While the offense was a bit slow out of the gates, they figured things out in the second quarter and beyond, and made it one of the best games we’ve seen all season. Additionally, DiNucci became the first quarterback in the XFL to exceed the 2,000 yards passing mark.
Sea Dragons wide receiver Juwan Green played the best game of his season. He totaled 7 receptions for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns, spinning and pushing his way out of defenders to get into the endzone. Additionally, newly acquired running back Phillip Lindsay got involved in the run game early, finding the endzone on a 2-yard score in the second quarter.
On the defensive side, Seattle played well against the run, holding Defenders’ running back Abram Smith to only 66 yards on 17 carries, and the entire Defenders team to 87 yards total on the ground. However, the Sea Dragons struggled heavily against D.C.’s passing attack throughout the game, allowing 247 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air.
Sea Dragons cornerback Linden Stephens along with a few other members of Seattle’s defense made a number of mistakes throughout the game, which directly extended drives for the Defenders and kept them in the driver’s seat for most of the matchup. Seattle totaled 8 penalties, with the majority of them coming in crucial or game-changing moments.
Special teams weren’t as explosive as we’ve seen in recent weeks, but they held up their end of the bargain. Kicker Dominike Eberle nailed a 29-yard field goal, which was his only attempt of the evening. Additionally, Kelvin McKnight continued to excel with kick/punt return duties, although he didn’t have any breakaway returns like we’d seen over the last few weeks.
The Sea Dragons played a great game, but ultimately not great enough. The offense was a bit slow to start but played well once they figured things out in the second quarter and onward. While they aren’t totally eliminated yet, this loss makes their path to the playoffs significantly more difficult.
Seattle’s most straightforward path to the post-season would be to win their Week 9 game against the St. Louis Battlehawks, beat the Vegas Vipers in Week 10, and hope St. Louis loses their Week 10 matchup against the Orlando Guardians. This isn’t the Sea Dragons’ only path to the playoffs, but things do become increasingly more difficult if they can’t win both of their final two matchups.
Outplayed by the league’s best.
Performance Grade: B+
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