Week three of the XFL season is underway, and the games from a match-up standpoint seem to be a bit underwhelming this week for the first time of the season as we are starting to grasp the better teams in the league.
This week, the DC Defenders take to the road for the first time in club history and visit Los Angeles to play the Wildcats. The Defenders are coming off of a 27-0 shutout victory over the New York Guardians. The Wildcats are coming off of a disappointing 18-25 loss to the Dallas Renegades to drop to 0-2 on the season.
Let’s get into these notes then.
Move over Nelson Spruce – Tre McBride is here
Nelson Spruce had been the unstoppable force on this team, but I’m afraid that has changed. Spruce was hardly even targetted throughout this game, and instead ex-Tennessee Titans wide receiver Tre McBride stood out as the receiver of the game. He caught 5 of his 6 targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game with a head injury. McBride’s lone miss was a drop, a play that would have been another touchdown, on a pass that deflected off of his fingertips in the end zone.
That’s not to take away from Spruce. The 6’1″ receiver from Colorado who came into the game leading the league in almost every receiving statistical category just wasn’t used as much. He would end with 3 catches for 75 yards, most of that coming in the 4th quarter.
Either way, this Wildcats offense showed us today that this passing game can be extremely explosive with Josh Johnson at the helm. It was good to see everyone on track and the offense clicking.
Martez Carter shows out with the hat trick
Ex-Grambling State running back Martez Carter had a phenomenal game, and couldn’t be held out of the end zone. I think the thing that really stood out the most about his performance is how well he moves. The Wildcats were missing their normal starter, Elijah Hood, to an injury. Hood’s explosion and athleticism had been one of the few bright spots on the Wildcats roster through the first couple of games.
However, Carter showed he was just as explosive, if not more, with his incredible athleticism and burst. He ran for two touchdowns and added another one on a pass from Josh Johnson. He’s quick, and that’s exciting for a team like Los Angeles.
- Cardale Jones, the darling of the league through the first two weeks, was completely confused by the aggressive and quick Los Angeles defense. He made some horrific decisions throughout the game, something that he hadn’t really paid for the first couple weeks of the season. Los Angeles capitalized though, and this offense couldn’t sustain anything.
- Mike Stevens had a phenomenal game. He intercepted Cardale Jones twice and was just all over the field collecting several tackles. He is so good at baiting quarterbacks to throw his way and plays zone coverage very well. NFL teams are taking notice for certain.
- One of the few bright spots for the DC Defenders was the late performance of ex-LSU running back Nick Brossette. Brossette was one of my favorite running backs from the 2019 NFL Draft class, and I was surprised that he ended up in the XFL. He got some playing time, and I’m hopeful that the Defenders will use him in their offense more next week. 8 carries for 75 yards and a 38-yard touchdown scamper should do that trick.