More late-game heroics from PJ Walker highlight XFL players in NFL week seven

PJ Walker helped to fuel a gutsy Browns victory. (Scott Galvin, Scott Galvin - USA TODAY Sports)
PJ Walker helped to fuel a gutsy Browns victory. (Scott Galvin, Scott Galvin – USA TODAY Sports)

Tryouts: Back in May, OT Sage Doxtater (Roughnecks) was invited to rookie minicamp with the New Orleans Saints as a tryout player. This was after he spent a significant amount of time with the Saints in 2022, in fact finishing the season on their practice squad. He went unsigned after minicamp weekend and hadn’t been heard from until he earned a workout with the Las Vegas Raiders last Tuesday. Doxtater was one of four offensive tackles to work out for Vegas, one of whom ended up signing to the team’s practice squad.

Transactions: It was a surprise when the Cleveland Browns placed G Michael Dunn (Dragons) on injured reserve on Tuesday. He played every snap in his start for the team in week six. Turns out, he suffered a calf injury in the game but gutted it out to the finish. Head Coach Kevin Stefanski praised Dunn’s efforts against the San Francisco 49ers. He’ll now miss at least the next four games.

On Wednesday, WR Michael Bandy (Roughnecks) continued his now-weekly bouncing on-and-off the practice squad of the Denver Broncos. He was re-signed mid-week, only to be released again on Saturday.

*QB Josh Johnson (Wildcats) remained the third, emergency quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens in week seven against the Detroit Lions.

*The Atlanta Falcons crept over .500 with their win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Backup QB Taylor Heinicke (Battlehawks) was active but did not play.

*Another Falcon backup, OT Storm Norton (Wildcats), played four special teams snaps on field goal and extra point protection, but did not play from scrimmage.

*Increasing his snap percentage from 20% in week six to 44% in week seven, DT LaCale London (Battlehawks) also saw his production increase. London made three tackles (one solo, two assisted), a tackle for loss, and he recovered a fumble. This was London’s second practice squad elevation in a row.

*After leading the Browns to an upset victory over the 49ers last weekend, QB PJ Walker (Roughnecks) was elevated from the practice squad again to back up Deshaun Watson, who was back in the starter’s role after missing a week due to injury. Walker was called upon with about three minutes remaining in the first quarter, as Watson left the game due to a suspected concussion. He did not return. Stefanski later said it was precautionary and that Watson would be a “go” for week eight.

In his stead, Walker was again part of late-game dramatics, this time leading Cleveland down the field with 2:35 to go in the game, trailing the Indianapolis Colts 38-33. With 19 seconds remaining and on 4th-and-1 from the one yard-line, Kareem Hunt plunged into the end zone to put the Browns in the lead for good. Though he didn’t get credit for the touchdown, Walker made a few big throws on that last drive, including a 3rd-and-10 conversion to Elijah Moore for 30 yards and a 17-yard completion to Donovan Peoples-Jones that took Cleveland’s offense inside the red zone. Walker finished 15-of-32 passing for 178 yards and an interception.

This was Walker’s third practice squad elevation of the season. According to the elevation rules, Walker will need to be signed to the active roster or pass through waivers in order to be active on game day again.

*It was a disappointing result for the Detroit Lions against the Baltimore Ravens, getting trounced 38-6. LS Scott Daly (Guardians) snapped on four Jack Fox punts. That was the extent of his action on the afternoon.

*After a bye week, Green Bay Packers P Daniel Whelan (Defenders) punted three times for 155 yards, a 51.7 gross average. His net was just 41.3 thanks to his fourth touchback of the year, which leads the NFL. His other two punts landed inside the 20.

*On the field for five punts, a field goal attempt and three extra points, LS Christian Kuntz (Renegades) did not register any stats for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

*Active for the first time since signing with the Steelers, RB Godwin Igwebuike (Dragons) returned one kickoff for just 15 yards. He played eight special teams snaps, none on offense.

*TE Donald Parham (Renegades) caught one pass for nine yards on three targets for the Los Angeles Chargers. His one catch was a third-down conversion. He played 40% of the snaps on offense, and for the first time this year, took a backseat to Stone Smartt, who played 44% of offensive snaps behind starter Gerald Everett.

*On special teams, S Elijah Campbell (Defenders) played 86% of the snaps for the Miami Dolphins. He committed one penalty, a false start on a punt attempt. In five defensive snaps, he made one solo tackle, on TE Dallas Goedert of the Philadelphia Eagles after Goedert caught a pass for a first down.

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