Back for more after a rousing first week of action, the XFL got Week 2 kicked off with a battle of undefeated teams in our nation’s capital. The DC Defenders stomped the New York Guardians in shutout fashion, 27-0, as drama unfolded in a big way on New York’s sideline throughout the embarrassing loss.
Later in the evening on the other side of the country, the Seattle Dragons hosted the Tampa Bay Vipers and the two worst teams in the league played like it in a defensive slug out the home team won, 17-9.
These were the biggest studs and duds from the action Saturday in XFL Week 2.
Stud: DC’s passing attack
The Defenders have quite a potent trio on offense. Quarterback Cardale Jones loves to throw to wide receivers Rashad Ross and DeAndre Thompkins, who made his debut Saturday after missing Week 1 with a foot injury. Add in Eli Rogers, who played Saturday with the heaviest of hearts, and you’re looking at a dynamic receiving corps.
That sure did come into focus during Saturday’s 27-0 win over New York. Aside from a bad decision by Jones on his first interception of the season, the passing game was humming along beautifully all game long.
Jones finished with 276 yards on 23-of-37 passing, throwing two touchdowns and one interception, while Ross and Thompkins combined on 10 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown.
Dud: Matt McGloin’s game, and his attitude, sucked
The Defenders were 1-0 coming into XFL Week 1 in part because Matt McGloin didn’t doom his team. He completed 15-of-29 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a one-yard touchdown last weekend.
Things went a bit differently on Saturday, as McGloin was absolutely brutal for New York, both in terms of his play on the field, and his comments off it. The four-year NFL veteran tossed two awful interceptions, including one of the worst pick-sixes we’ve seen in a long time, and was finally benched.
Then, after being benched in favor of Marquise Williams, McGloin went live on ABC during a sideline interview and blamed everyone but himself for his bad performance.
Stud: Anthony Johnson made an instant impact
Just one day ago, the Los Angeles Wildcats shipped disgruntled defensive end Anthony Johnson across the nation in the first XFL trade ever. Despite getting barely any sleep following his surprising cross-country move, Johnson suited up for the Defenders and had a huge game, immediately establishing himself as an impact player.
Johnson didn’t play the entire game but made every snap count. He was credited with 1.5 sacks, made two tackles behind the line and three solo tackles. He also chimed in one of the most debated discussions of our day.
Dud: New York’s defense was railroaded
The Guardians did not live up to their name on Saturday as their defense couldn’t guard anyone. Instead, the Defenders were able to move the ball at will, both in the run and passing games, and could have put up even more points if their offense had done a better job in the red zone.
All told, the New York defense gave up 5.9 yards per play and didn’t register a single sack all game. As a result, the Defenders were able to make big plays all over the field from start to finish.
Stud: Keenan Reynolds to the rescue!
The Seattle Dragons were in a deep funk after falling into a 9-0 hole in the third quarter following a brutal pick-six by quarterback Brandon Silvers. Then, former Navy star Keenan Reynolds, an NCAA record-breaker as a quarterback, showed his skill as a receiver and turned the tide.
Reynolds absolutely roasted the Vipers’ secondary, breaking wide open in the middle of the field where even Silvers could find him. The result was a 68-yard touchdown reception that gave the Dragons their first real taste of success in the game. Reynolds finished the game with three catches for 87 yard and that key touchdown — the catalyst that led to the Dragons winning the game.
Dud: Vipers’ QB situation is just sad
The Vipers announced that starting quarterback Aaron Murray would miss Saturday’s game with a foot injury. Many wondered if that might actually be a good thing considering how poorly he played in Week 1. It didn’t take long to realize that the other two quarterbacks on Tampa Bay’s roster, Taylor Cornelius and Quinton Flowers, aren’t any better.
The two backups combined to complete just 19-of-34 passes for 172 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. They were a wreck. Neither did anything to suggest they could be the long-term answer going forward. So, as bad as Murray was last weekend, if he’s healthy the Vipers will almost certainly turn back to him in Week 3.
Stud: Jacques Patrick lowered the boom
With the passing game on life support, the Vipers needed something to happen on the ground. Thankfully for them, former Florida State star Jacques Patrick brought his A-game and punished the Dragons on a regular basis.
Patrick gained more and more trust from his coaching staff as the game wore on. He ended up being the featured back in the end, toting the rock 14 times for 73 yards with a long run of 21 yards. He also put the rest of the XFL on notice that he’s going to be a problem going forward.