With two weeks in the books, we’re starting to see some separation in the quality of teams, but the two most impressive teams in the league took the road for the first time this season in Week 3.
First up was the Houston Roughnecks, who went into Tampa and survived a back-and-forth game with a Vipers team looking for its first win. P.J. Walker and Cam Phillips delivered enough big plays to give the Roughnecks a 34-27 win to move the team to 3-0.
The Dallas Renegades took care of business during their road trip as well, with Landry Jones and Cameron Artis-Payne powering an efficient offense to edge the Seattle Dragons, who now sit at 1-2 in the XFL West.
Whether you’re fired up or just curious, CBS Sports’ XFL coverage is here for you. We’ve got you covered with power rankings, stats to know from Week 2 and what to watch for in Week 3. Plus you can check out my picks, or head to SportsLine to see picks from an expert who went 7-1 against the spread in the first two weeks.
If it’s the games themselves you’re interested in, you came to the right place. Relive all the updates, highlights and analysis from Saturday’s action below.
XFL scores, Week 3
Saturday, Feb. 22
Houston Roughnecks 34, Tampa Bay Vipers 27
Dallas Renegades 24, Seattle Dragons 12
Sunday, Feb. 23
New York Guardians at St. Louis BattleHawks, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
DC Defenders at Los Angeles Wildcats, 6 p.m. ET (FS1, fuboTV)
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Officially official from CenturyLink Field: The Renegades top the Dragons, 24-12, to claim their second straight. Thanks so much for tuning in this evening, and keep it locked at CBS Sports for much more XFL coverage throughout the weekend and into next week.
It’s now officially a two-score game, with Austin MacGinnis closing another long Renegades drive with a 33-yard FG. In other words, that’s a wrap from Seattle, where the Dragons will fall to 1-2 as their division rivals improve to 2-1. A balanced offense was the key for Dallas, which completed 73 percent of its passes and got some huge runs from Cameron Artis-Payne. On the other side, Brandon Silvers gave the Dragons much of the same — some flashes here, a bunch of questionable misfires there — and Seattle’s “D” wasn’t nearly as on point as it was a week ago (though Tampa’s struggles may have aided their performance more than we realized).
Former Carolina Panthers RB Cameron Artis-Payne pretty much putting a bow on this one in Seattle. The Renegades standout cuts back and breaks free for a 31-yard pickup to burn more clock and give Dallas a new set of downs as the minutes tick away. Artis-Payne now up to 83 yards on the ground, and he’s averaging almost seven per carry.
Speaking of a Dragons rebound, we might have the ingredients for one! Just when it couldn’t have gotten worse for Seattle, with Brandon Silvers and Co. going three-and-out right after Landry Jones’ big TD to Donald Parham, Jones coughs up the football on a sack, and the Dragons’ Marcell Frazier recovers the fumble to give Seattle a chance at redemption.
Big man running! Donald Parham Jr. now has two straight TDs for the Renegades, and he might’ve just sealed Dallas a road victory. Facing a third-and-9 from their own 35, the Renegades dialed up an out pattern for their No. 1 TE, and Landry Jones hit him exactly where he needed to, setting up Parham to outrun the rest of Seattle’s secondary for a 65-yard TD. Renegades now lead 21-12 after an unsuccessful two-point try. Pressure is officially on the Dragons to rebound.
The Renegades are officially out in front. Cameron Artis-Payne breaks free off the outside for a clutch 15-yard gain on third-and-short, putting Dallas in field goal range, and then Austin MacGinnis connects from just 19 yards out to put the visitors up 15-12. Another long, steady drive from Bob Stoops’ club, this one a 10-play series. Landry Jones has at least been efficient operating this offense for much of the evening. He’s now completed 26 of 37 passes (70 percent), and his only blunder was the red-zone pick that bounced off his own receiver’s hands going toward the end zone. Time for Seattle to hope for another Brandon Silvers bomb, though there’s also no pressure to rush or force a big play at this point, especially with it still being a close game.
That’s now two straight games with a touchdown for Donald Parham Jr., by the way. He seems to be a favorite target for Landry Jones in Dallas, particularly in the red zone. Might want to keep an eye on him as this game nears the finish line. This one has the feel of a game that will go down to the wire, much like the Dragons’ tight victory over Tampa Bay in Week 2.
Scoring alert! After a slow start to the third quarter, with Seattle eating up clock before a fourth-down sack at the Renegades 35-yard line, Dallas has knotted things up at 12 thanks to Landry Jones’ 10-yard TD pass to TE Donald Parham Jr. The Renegades took almost six full minutes on their scoring drive following Seattle’s turnover on downs, and their two-point try was unsuccessful, but at least they can say for sure they’re now back in this game. A lot of similarities in this one to the Dragons’ Week 2 matchup, which was slow and defensive for much of the contest — something that ultimately worked to Seattle’s advantage at home.
Brandon Silvers, everyone! The Dragons gunslinger airs it out during the five-minute drill, and it works. A couple of big passes to Keenan Reynolds and Austin Proehl, the latter of whom is returning to Week 1 form, and then Silvers floats a beauty to a streaking Kenneth Farrow, who beats his man out of the backfield for a 19-yard go-ahead TD. Dragons now lead it 12-6 over the Renegades.
At the very least, Landry Jones has gifted us another double-forward pass, though: https://twitter.com/xfl2020/st…
If you weren’t sure whether either of these teams actually has a good QB, well, you might want to keep waiting for your answer. Seattle’s Brandon Silvers can be a nice deep-ball thrower when he’s on, but he’s also proven to be somewhat of a turnover machine early this season, and that continued about halfway through the second quarter with the Dragons driving into Renegades territory, when the QB aired out a deep ball down the left sideline only to see Dallas’ Josh Hawkins come up with the pass. Fortunately for Seattle, Landry Jones wasn’t much better, throwing his own pick five plays later. We’ve still got a 6-6 ballgame with halftime around the corner.
Just like that, the Renegades respond. After opening with a dud of a first drive, Landry Jones oversees a 15-play series that ends with a 12-yard TD pass to Flynn Nagel, who went over the middle and had no trouble sidestepping a couple of Dragons defenders. Seattle’s “D” was much firmer and more physical a week ago, but the long Dallas drive obviously could’ve helped wear them down there. We’re now tied up at 6 in Seattle as the second quarter fast approaches.
Dragons strike first in Seattle! Jim Zorn keeps it on the ground for almost the entirety of the home team’s first drive following a poor start by Landry Jones and Co., but then Brandon Silvers, the Dragons’ gunslinger, floats one deep into the end zone for a double-covered Austin Proehl, and the wideout comes down with it for a beautiful 21-yard score. Credit to Silvers for even getting the ball there while facing pressure, but even more to Proehl for winning the contested catch. It’s 6-0 Dragons early on.
Next up on the Saturday schedule: Dragons and Renegades. Can Landry Jones win his second straight under Bob Stoops? Or will Seattle’s underrated defense stand tall once again at CenturyLink Field? Should be a good one on deck.
That’s going to do it in Tampa, folks. The Vipers put up a heck of a fight to open this one, scoring first and retaking the lead on multiple occasions against maybe the best offense — and easily one of the best teams — in the XFL, and for a while, it looked like Marc Trestman’s decision to rotate QBs and then ultimately ride with Taylor Cornelius might pay off, with Quinton Flowers engineering Tampa’s first TD drive of the year and then Cornelius managing the ball well enough to set up a go-ahead fourth-quarter FG. Houston looking a little complacent on “D” helped things, too. In the end, though, the Roughnecks were predictably too much to handle, sealing their 34-27 victory to move to 3-0 with a last-minute pick of Cornelius. The stars of the game? Who else? QB P.J. Walker and WR Cam Phillips, easily the best offensive duo in the league, combined for three scores, with Phillips falling just six yards shy of the 200-yard mark.
For the second straight week, Marc Trestman’s Vipers offense sees a drive of more than 12 plays end without points. Tampa Bay chipped away with short runs and passes following P.J. Walker’s latest TD to Cam Phillips, driving all the way down to Houston’s one-yard line for a second-and-goal. QB Taylor Cornelius could never find an open target, however, throwing the ball away on second and then failing to complete two straight passes. Turnover on downs at a crucial spot in the game, and now Houston can attempt to milk the clock up seven points late in the fourth quarter. Roughnecks not too far away from opening this season 3-0, while Tampa is on the verge of falling to 0-3 despite a valiant first-half effort.
Forget complacency! Just like that, the Roughnecks are right back on top because of — guess who — P.J. Walker and Cam Phillips. Down one with just over 10 minutes to play, Walker and Co. looked as if they might be falling short on yet another second-half possession, but then Walker drifted back in the pocket long enough to find a wide-open Phillips coming across the middle of the field toward the end zone. Not sure who’s covering — or trying to cover — Phillips today, but it’s not working. The WR is now up to 180 yards and three scores. Nick Holley’s two-point catch, meanwhile, puts Houston up 34-27 in Tampa.
The Vipers have the lead. Repeat: The Vipers have the lead. Tampa Bay appears set on Taylor Cornelius at QB for the remainder of this game, and he’s done a fine job keeping them in contention here, leading another scoring drive — this time capped by a 43-yard FG from Andrew Franks to put Tampa up 27-26. Houston’s three-and-out beforehand all but set up the score, with a fourth-down delay of game ensuring the Vipers would get solid field position. Roughnecks have the firepower to strike back in a hurry, but they can’t wait too much longer to stop showing signs of complacency on the road.
While the Roughnecks can probably still win this by leaning on P.J. Walker (what’s new?), they could stand to show a little more fight on defense. Maybe the secondary is just wearing down, but it looked as if they might be lacking some energy on the Dan Williams TD to pull the Vipers within two points. Not a whole lot of full-speed sprints or tackle attempts to bring Williams down on a short screen.