After five weeks in the XFL, the Houston Roughnecks are unmarked in the loss column. Lifelong fans have yet to feel the unwelcome sting of defeat as their squad continues to emerge unscathed week after week. Saturday’s game may not have been pretty, but the result has the league’s best team moving to week 6 unblemished.
It was a sluggish start at TDECU stadium for P.J. Walker and company as the Roughnecks gifted the visiting Seattle Sea Dragons a fourteen point lead early in week 5. Walker started the game like he was still in bed wearing his PJs. The Houston QB lost a fumble on a strip-sack deep in Houston territory on the second offensive drive, fixing the Dragons up with an extremely short field and a clear opportunity in a scoreless game. Newly inserted Dragon’s QB B.J. Daniels took the rock to the end-zone on a 4th and goal QB-keeper from the 1-yard line with three minutes to play in the first quarter. Daniels, a former Deshaun Watson backup as a Texan, earned the starting job for the Dragons a week prior by showcasing his athleticism as a dual-threat signal-caller.
Seattle dipped into the ground-game well early and often as hometown running back Trey Williams scampered 17 yards into the end-zone at the top of the second quarter. A successful 2-point conversion to Austin Proehl the following play put the Dragons up 14-0, a distinct surprise to this point as Seattle had come into the game 11.5 point underdogs with only one win under their belts. Surprisingly the Dragons would have a stranglehold on the lead through the first three-quarters of play.
Finally, as if he suddenly had awoken from a deep offensive slumber, P.J. Walker found running back Nick Holley for a quick strike down the seam on a 3rd and 1 from mid-field. The 50-yard score was a thing of beauty. Two defenders jumped the out route on the right side of the field, leaving Holley wide open underneath with only a Seattle safety to beat. Holley did so easily, planting hard to the inside and then shooting the opposite direction after a shuffle of his feet leaving the defender glued to the turf. Houston now trailed 14-6 with six minutes before the half.
Houston’s defense stiffened up, giving their offense the ball back at their 10-yard line with just over 2 minutes to play in the half. On the first play of that possession, Walker chucked the ball 40 yards in the air down the left sideline where it was hauled in by a streaking Sam Mobley. RB James Butler made his presence felt in the 2-minute offense, capping the drive with a rushing score and a celebratory “Houston Hop” into the crowd as the Roughnecks found themselves back in the thick of things in a tie ball game heading into half-time.
The Dragons jumped back up front after their first drive of the second half stalled and led to a field goal. The following Roughneck possession P.J. Walker had tunnel vision as he telegraphed a pass that was picked-off on the far sideline and returned inside the Houston 5-yard line by Seattle’s Marco Myers. Once again the Dragons called Daniel’s number from inside the one on seemingly the same QB keeper he had scored on in the first half. Houston had now at this point surrendered 12 points off of 2 P.J. Walker turnovers and once again found themselves trailing, this time 23-14 halfway through the 3rd quarter.
SPOILER ALERT: The Roughnecks defense wouldn’t allow another score after this point.
With just under 8 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, Walker launched a deep ball down the right sideline to Cam Phillips. Phillips was virtually nonexistent up to this point in the contest, but the 48-yard pass play set the Roughnecks up with a goal-to-go scenario at the Dragon’s 10-yard line. A few plays later James Butler found the end-zone on the ground for the second time in the afternoon and his second Houston Hop. The Roughnecks now only trailed by 3, 23-20.
After another impressive defensive stop by Houston, Walker and company methodically marched downfield. Cam Phillips postured up at the goal-line and Walker found him for a 5-yard score with 9 minutes remaining in the game. It was the first time the Roughnecks had led all afternoon, and they would not relinquish that lead.
Another defensive stop gave Walker and company the ball back, this time the drive was capped by an 11-yard catch and essential carry of defenders into the paint for Cam Phillips, his second score of the day and 9th receiving touchdown of the season (leads XFL). Phillips would finish the day with 10 receptions for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns on what will most likely be another XFL Star of the Week performance.
PJ Walker & Cam Phillips through 5 Weeks:
- 65% comp
- 1338 yards
- 16 touchdowns
- 31 catches
- 455 yards
- 9 touchdowns
Inside 2-minutes Roughnecks linebacker Demarcus Gates recovered a B.J. Daniels fumble to ultimately seal the deal for Houston and propel the team to their 5th straight victory. He was ejected on the play but continued to sign autographs for the fans on his way to the locker room.
The Roughnecks will take their perfect record on the road next week as they travel to MetLife Stadium where they will take on the (3-2) NY Guardians during the early game slate on Saturday March 14, 2020. The Guardians are enjoying a 2-game win-streak and are tied with DC and St. Louis for first place in the East.
Miles Peacock is a content writer covering the NFL’s Houston Texans and XFL’s Houston Roughnecks for the Rumboyz.net and Timeskewed.com fantasy sports websites. Follow Miles on Twitter @FF_Peacock.
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