HOUSTON — The Seattle Dragons were able to do what no other team so far has been able to, give the Houston Roughnecks a legitimate run for their money. The Roughnecks looked flustered early but were able to overcome a strong Seattle defense to secure their fifth win of the season.
Roughnecks Struggle Early
After an early sack by defensive end Jacques Smith, the Dragons recovered the fumble and scored on the ensuing drive to give Seattle an early 6 point lead. The Roughnecks were unable to find the end zone and a missed field goal by Sergio Castillo kept Houston scoreless through the first quarter. Meanwhile Seattle continued to find ways to score, increasing their lead to 14.
The Roughnecks finally answered with quarterback PJ Walker finding receiver Nick Holley for a touchdown to put points on the board. This was the spark the Roughnecks needed as they were able to use the momentum shift to score again. A rush by running back James Butler and a successful 2-point attempt pass to Nick Holley tied the game 14 – 14 going into halftime.
Second Half Scramble
The Dragons came out firing in the second half with quarterback BJ Daniels utilizing a balanced attack through the air and on the ground on the Dragons’ first drive out of the locker room, setting up a 47-yard field goal by kicker Ernesto Lacayo. PJ Walker threw his second interception of the game and nearly gave up a pick six, as defensive back Marco Myers was able to return the ball to the Houston 1 yard-line. Daniels rushed around the right to score quickly and after an unsuccessful 2 point attempt, the Dragons stood tall with a 9 point lead.
With their backs against the wall, Houston did what fans have come to expect from their high powered offense, they scored and scored quickly. First came a long pass to lead receiver Cam Phillips to set up a James Butler rushing touchdown which cut the Dragons’ lead to 3. The Roughnecks’ defense answered the call with consecutive sacks of BJ Daniels. After a drive that cut 5 minutes off the clock, Walker threw a short pass to Phillips to give Houston its first lead of the day.
With three and a half minutes left, Walker threw his third touchdown of the night to Cam Phillips, who led the Houston receiving corps with 10 receptions for 112 yards. This gave the Roughnecks a 9 point lead and made the score 32 – 23.
After failing to connect for a scoring drive, the Dragons fumbled and the ball was recovered by Houston but a unnecessary roughness penalty on the Roughnecks placed the ball on the Houston 26 yard line. After securing a first down, Walker took four consecutive knees in an effort to ice the game. On his fourth and final knee, the clock was left with 3 seconds left but the officials ruled the game over and ran off the field. After much protest and confusion by Dragons’ players and coaching staff, the game was confirmed as finished, giving Houston the win.
The XFL released the statement below in response to the game. Seattle has every right to complain. If the rules of the XFL were correctly applied, they would have gotten ball back at the Houston 20 yard line with at least an outside chance of scoring a TD. That coupled with a 3 point attempt would have tied the game and sent it to overtime.
While it’s unfortunate that the game ended the way it did, the result of the game will stand, leaving Houston undefeated and the clear favorite going into to Week 6. They remain in first place in the West and the only unbeaten team in the league.
The Roughnecks will hope to keep the streak alive as they travel to face the New York Guardians on Saturday at 2 PM EDT. The game will be on ABC.
Seattle on the other hand, looks to stop a three game losing skid when they face the LA Wildcats at home. The last place Dragons will host the Wildcats on Sunday at 7:00 PM EDT. Coverage will be on ESPN 2.