The stars of the XFL came out in full force in week three after every game during the weekend was a one-possession game.
Fans finally got to see some high-powered offenses as teams are starting to hit their strides. Two of the four games were the two highest-scoring games of the season for the XFL with Seattle and Vegas combining for 56 points and St. Louis and DC combining for 62 points. Defenses were on display as well with the Guardians and Renegades combining for the lowest-scoring game of the season with 19. There was plenty of star power from all three phases of the game in week three of the XFL season.
XFL 2023 Week 3 Players of the Week
Offensive Player of the Week: Ben DiNucci, QB, Seattle Sea Dragons (29-37, 377 pass yards, four touchdowns, six carries, 32 rush yards)
It’s difficult to pick between quarterback Ben DiNucci and wide receiver Josh Gordon as they both had spectacular games. Their 65-yard connection late in the fourth quarter was the defining play of the weekend and the season for the XFL. That play is what could propel the Seattle Sea Dragons to get back on track. With, DiNucci was special and had the best performance of any quarterback in the league this season.
DiNucci has the great ability to move around in the pocket to give his receivers that extra second or two to get open or he can simply run the ball. He threw for the most yards of any quarterback in the league this season with 377 and tied for the most touchdowns with four. His late-game heroics and leading the Sea Dragons to a win is the reason he gets the very, very slight edge on the offensive player of the week.
Honorable Mentions: Morgan Ellison, RB, Seattle Sea Dragons (17 carries, 103 rush yards)
Josh Gordon, WR, Seattle Sea Dragons (six catches, 118 yards, two touchdowns)
A.J. McCarron, QB, St. Louis BattleHawks (26-42, 262 yards, four touchdowns)
Hakeem Butler, WR, St. Louis BattleHawks (nine catches, 105 yards, one touchdown)
Brandon Silvers, QB, Houston Roughnecks (24-35, 278 yards, three touchdowns)
Defensive Player of the Week: Davin Bellamy, DL, DC Defenders (five tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble)
The DC Defenders had some good moments defensively despite allowing 28 points in the game as they created four turnovers in the win over the St. Louis BattleHawks. Michael Joseph for the second time in three weeks had a pick-six for the Defenders that was a key play in the first half. In a close game like that one, teams look for others to step up and win for them. Davin Bellamy’s performance for DC should not be overlooked as he changed the complexity of the game.
With the Defenders leading 25-20 late in the third quarter, Bellamy was able to sack A.J. McCarron and force a fumbler that was recovered by DC. That led to a field goal to start the fourth quarter and all of a sudden, the Defenders had momentum for most of the game to preserve the win. Bellamy finished with five tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. He made the difference in a tough, aggressive game.
Honorable Mentions: Michael Joseph, DB, DC Defenders (five tackles, one interception for a touchdown)
Will Hill, S, Arlington Renegades (ten tackles, 0.5 sacks, one tackle for loss)
Darnell Sankey, LB, Arlington Renegades (eight tackles, 0.5 sacks, two tackles for loss)
Willie Harvey, LB, St. Louis BattleHawks (six tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble)
Ben DeLuca, DB, St. Louis BattleHawks (seven tackles, two fumble recoveries)
Special Teams Player of the Week: Darrius Shepherd, WR, St. Louis BattleHawks (five returns, 190 yards, 72 long)
The start of the second half for the BattleHawks saw DC drive down the field and score a field goal to take a 20-17 lead. St. Louis needed a big play to continue their momentum going. They got that in a big way when Darrius Shepherd took the kickoff 72 yards to the DC 25-yard line. That play would set up an A.J. McCarron touchdown pass to give them the lead.
Shepherd’s return made a significant impact on the game to ensure DC didn’t grab all the momentum to start the half. The league has seen decent returns, but this is the closest kickoff return that almost went for a touchdown. Teams will be looking at the tape to see how Shepherd broke it and use it as a sample of what can be done in the future.
Honorable Mentions: Marquette King, P, Arlington Renegades (five punts, 263 yards, 52.6 average)
Travis Jonsen, WR, San Antonio Brahmas (four returns, 120 yards, 59 long)
Matthew McCrane, K, DC Defenders (2-2 field goals, 41 long)
Daniel Whelan, P, DC Defenders (four punts, 214 yards, 53.5 average)
Dominik Eberle, K, Seattle Sea Dragons (2-2 field goals, 34 long)
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