With week two of the 2023 XFL season in the books, now fans can reflect on who made the biggest impact on the field.
Week two was highlighted by the improvement of running games with teams seeing their quarterbacks use their athleticism to make plays. Defenses stepped up in their pass coverage as well as found ways of getting to the quarterbacks in the backfield. Even special teams saw their punters taking control and winning the field position game with booming punts.
XFL Players of the Week
Offensive Player of the Week: AJ McCarron, QB, St. Louis Battlehawks (22-36, 184 pass yards, one touchdown, five carries, 41 rush yards, one touchdown)
Enough can’t be said about the XFL’s rising star quarterback who is taking the league by storm. A.J. McCarron came up clutch again for the St. Louis Battlehawks leading them to a 20-18 nail-biting win over the Seattle Sea Dragons Thursday night. McCarron finished the game by completing 22 of his 36 passes for 184 yards and one touchdown. He also ran five times for 41 yards and a rushing touchdown. This is the second straight game where McCarron led a game-winning scoring drive.
What earned him his player of the week honors is his performance in the fourth quarter completing eight of his 12 passes for 112 yards and one passing touchdown. His two runs for 23 yards on the first two plays of the final drive are what would set the Battlehawks up with the game-winning field goal. While St. Louis has started slowly in their first two games, the team knows they can rely on veteran quarterback McCarron to lead them to a win at the end of the game.
Honorable Mentions: Ben DiNucci, QB, Seattle Sea Dragons (19-29, 196 pass yards, two touchdowns, eight carries, 38 rush yards)
Abram Smith, RB, DC Defenders (11 carries, 71 rush yards, one touchdown, one reception, 15 receiving yards)
Jack Coan, QB, San Antonio Brahmas (16-24, 165 pass yards, three touchdowns, three carries, 23 rush yards)
Defensive Player of the Week: Max Roberts, DL, Vegas Vipers (four tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble)
Let’s face it, not a whole lot went right for the Vegas Vipers in their 18-6 loss to the DC Defenders Saturday night. Despite scoring first in the first quarter, the offense struggled to move the ball down the field and the defense couldn’t stop the run in the second half. One player who came up big for head coach Rod Woodson’s unit was Max Roberts who made play after play.
Roberts’ biggest contribution came late in the second quarter where he forced a Jordan Ta’amu fumble that was recovered by Vic Beasley to set Vegas up with a field goal attempt before halftime.
He also added in four tackles, two sacks, and two tackles for loss in the game. Roberts was tough to block and was able to make multiple plays, especially in the first half where DC’s passing game struggled to establish anything. He made an impact on the Vipers and kept them in the game until the second half.
Honorable Mentions: Reggie Northrup, LB, DC Defenders (five tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss)
Tuzar Skipper, LB, Seattle Sea Dragons (four tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble
Mike Lee, DB, Orlando Guardians (eight tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss)
Special Teams Player of the Week: Brad Wing, P, San Antonio Brahmas (four punts, 198 yards, 49.5 average, 59 long)
Going from one team that couldn’t do anything right to a team who did everything right. San Antonio’s offense was rolling and the defense was stifling against the struggling Orlando Guardians as the Brahmas took the win 30-12. Special teams were a factor as well as they don’t get as much attention as they should with the team having one of the most experienced punters in the league.
Brad Wing had himself a game for San Antonio as he had four punts in the game, but three of those four punts were over 40 yards and two were over 50. His longest punt of the game came in the fourth quarter where his last punt would be a 59-yard boomer that pined Orlando at their own 25-yard line. He finished the game averaging just under 50 yards per punt. In a game where field positioning is everything against a struggling offense, Wing made life more difficult for the Guardians’ offense.
Honorable Mentions: Donald Hageman, K, St. Louis Battlehawks (two field goals made, game-winning field goal)
Marquette King, P, Arlington Renegades (seven punts, 324 yards, 46.3 average, 54 long)
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