St. Louis Battlehawks (2-1) at DC Defenders (3-0): Final Score 28-34 Defenders
A day after the XFL saw its 2023 highest scoring matchup, the Battlehawks and Defenders opened up Sunday’s slate of games with a bang. In a battle for the lead of the North Division, despite some late McCarron Magic, Mina Kimes’ team of destiny fell short in their quest for perfection, before their return to the dome.
St. Louis Battlehawks Key Performers:
1- AJ McCarron Quarterback
“McCarron Magic” ran out this week, however the former Crimson Tide QB, put together another serviceable performance. McCarron threw for 262 yards and 4 TDs while adding 6 yards on the ground, but was victim to two interceptions and fumble, totaling three turnovers on his own this week. Despite, suffering from his first several turnovers in the season, McCarron’s leadership never wavered, and continued to be competitive, until the Battlehawks 4th and 15 with less than :20 Seconds left in the game. McCarron benefitted from much improved Offensive Line play however, could not cash in on 56-Yard Kick Return by Darrius Shepherd, and threw an ill-advised, interception in the red-zone in the 2nd half.
2-Hakeem Butler Wide Receiver
Butler has put together three consecutive performances as the Battlehawks top receiver. The former Iowa State Receiver continues to find a connection with Battlehawks QB AJ McCarron, as the pair connected on 8 receptions for 105 Yards and a score this week. Despite being listed on the injury report, Butler has emerged as a Top-5 receiver, in the XFL moving forward into week 4.
3-Darrius Shepherd Wide Receiver/Kick Returner
The former USFL New Jersey Generals WR, put together a monster game, both in the passing attack and on special teams in week 3. Shepherd totaled over 200 All-Purpose yards, and provided a spark for the Battlehawks during their lulls on Offense. Shepherd who despite injuring his hamstring managed to end the day with Five Receptions for 51 Yards, while adding 190 yards on Kick Returns.
Despite the loss the Battlehawks are in still a solid position to make a post season run during the XFL 2023 season. With Arlington still struggling to score points on Offense, even with a Quarterback change to Kyle Sloter, St. Louis should be able to fine tune some of the miscues from Sunday, and eliminate the costly turnovers, that they managed to avoid during the first two weeks of the season. With the toughest part of their schedule seemingly behind them Anthony Becht’s team has two important home games to solidfy their playoff position and with win at Arlington, may be able to retake the Northern Division in week 5. Building on a dynamic special teams performance, and a more open passing attack, coupled with Brian Hill, shouldering the rushing attack, St. Louis should be in a prime position to get back on track vs. a Renegades team, that has struggled to produce points this whole XFL season.
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