After a promising first week, the XFL took the field again this past weekend to see if it could keep up the momentum created from the opening weekend. Although there was more competition, in the way of the Daytona 500 and the NBA All Star weekend, the second week’s ratings were still solid even with the expected drop off.
The Dallas Renegades – Los Angeles Wildcats game Sunday afternoon had the most viewers, being watched by 2.397 million viewers, which was a 29% drop off from the same time the previous weekend. The Tampa Bay Viper – Seattle Dragon game was right behind in viewership, drawing 2.324 million viewers Saturday evening, a 21% drop from last Saturday evening.
The New York Guardians – DC Defenders game Saturday afternoon had over 2 million viewers as well, coming in at 2.146 million. This was a drop of 35% however from the first week, although that was the first XFL game of the first week so it makes sense that it would have had the highest viewership from the first weekend.
The biggest drop in viewership came in the St. Louis Battlehawks – Houston Roughnecks game on Sunday evening, although it did have to compete directly against the NBA All Star game, which was probably the most exciting All Star game in North American sports since the MLB quit using their All Star game to decide home field advantage for the World Series. This time slot also switched the game from ESPN the first week to FS1 the second week, which no doubt had some effect on ratings, since ESPN is a much more popular channel.
The product on the field was again very competitive, with 3 of the 4 games within one score, and the lone blowout was a match up of two undefeated teams, as the DC Defenders, led by quarterback Cardale Jones, blanked the Guardians 27-0.
DC Defenders 27, New York Guardians 0
The Guardians had no answer for Cardale Jones or the DC defense, managing only 137 total yards on only 47 plays. For context, the Defenders had 384 yards on 65 plays.
The little success that the Guardians did have came on the ground, averaging 4.4 yards a carry, although after they got behind they were forced to abandon the run in an attempt to catch up. 3 total turnovers did not help any, with a lost fumble and 2 interceptions by quarterback Matt Mcgloin before he was replaced by Marquise Williams.
Cardale Jones was once again very good, throwing for 276 yards on 23/37 passing, with 2 touchdowns and one interception. Jones finished with a 91.7 quarterback rating, and spread the ball around, with completions to 7 different receivers, 2 of which finished with over 90 yards receiving (Rashad Ross and Deandre Thompkins).
The first double pass was executed in this game as well, with Cardale Jones hitting Deandre Thompkins for a 25 yard completion in the third quarter, taking advantage of one of the new XFL rules.
Seattle Dragons 17, Tampa Bay Vipers 9
In a much more defensive minded game, the Dragons defense led them to a hard-fought victory against the Vipers. Although the Vipers were able to complete passes to 9 different receivers, the combination of quarterbacks Quentin Flowers and Taylor Cornelius were only able to complete 19 of 34 passes for 172 yards, including 2 interceptions.
Neither team had much luck protecting the quarterback, with Seattle finishing with 4 sacks and the Vipers with two of their own. Brandon Silvers, quarterback for the Dragons, did not have a good game, but did not have to with the defense backing him up. Only completing 7 out of 18 passes for 91 yards, he did manage to throw one touchdown, which proved to be the difference in the game.
Dallas Renegades 25, Los Angeles Wildcats 18
Landry Jones made his XFL debut, after missing week 1 with a knee injury. Although there was definitely some rust, as was seen in his two interceptions thrown, there was a lot of good to take away from the game offensively. Jones completed 28 out of 40 passes, for a 70% completion rate, and 305 yards passing and a touchdown to go along with the 2 interceptions.
7 different receivers caught passes for Dallas, with 4 having over 40 yards receiving. The ability of Jones to pass the ball around also opened up lanes for running back Cameron Artis-Payne to help seal the Renegades victory, finishing with 99 yards on 14 attempts and two touchdowns.
Los Angeles did make it interesting, however, scoring the XFL’s first 3 point conversion to pull the Wildcats within one, 19-18 after the Renegades had opened up a 10 point lead late in the game. Artis-Payne finished off Los Angeles with his second touchdown with a little over a minute to go in the fourth quarter.
Houston Roughnecks 28, St. Louis Battlehawks 24
In the final game of the weekend, and the other game featuring two teams who had won opening weekend, the Houston Roughnecks were able to hold on against St Louis, after the Battlehawks battled back from a 15 point deficit at the half, and a 10 point deficit in the fourth quarter to make it a one possession game.
Both quarterbacks had excellent games, with Houston’s P.J. Walker getting his team the victory with a very efficient game, throwing 3 touchdowns, all to Cam Phillips, and no interceptions. Battlehawks quarterback Jordan Ta’amu had a spectacular game himself, throwing for 284 yards on an amazing 81% completion percentage, 30 of 37, to 9 different receivers.
He also accounted for all 4 of the Battlehwaks scores, 3 passing and one rushing touchdown, yet he had 2 interceptions which cost his team in the end.
What to look for in week 3
After 2 weeks, there are two teams undefeated, the Houston Roughnecks and the DC Defenders. There are also 2 teams without a win, the Los Angeles Wildcats and the Tampa Bay Vipers. With the remaining 4 teams sitting at 1-1, there is plenty of intrigue ahead in week 3.
Both undefeated teams face off against the win less teams this week, Houston matching up against Tampa Bay and DC taking on Los Angeles, but in this young league there are no guarantees. The 1-1 teams will be jockeying for position, as a win this week will put them at least in second place in their respective divisions and a loss dropping the to possibly a tie for the bottom.
Not surprisingly, the Seattle Dragons had the highest attendance of the young season, with 29,172 fans coming out to cheer on their team. This helped the overall attendance jump 9.5% from week 1, with 76,285 total fans coming out for the 4 games this weekend. Although the DC Defenders attendance dropped from 17,163 to 15,031, I have a suspicion that the teams early success will lead to more fans down the road.
Los Angeles finished with 14,979, while Houston had 17,103 in attendance in a very entertaining game against St. Louis. With home games in Seattle again this week, as well as St. Louis, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay, the XFL could have another week of strong attendance numbers.
What do you think of the XFL? Do you think it will make it to a second season, which would of the first such league since the USFL in the early 80s to do so? Or do you think it will fail like its predecessor and the AAF from last year. Let me know in the comments below!