The first week of the XFL season is now in the record books and Week 2 is well underway and football fans have quickly and pleasantly discovered that the XFL is “for real.” National television broadcast coverage, combined with a compelling new league and a new brand of football have fans buzzing about the XFL. From faster games to new rules (the kickoff and multiple conversion try rules stick out), many fans are starting to see the XFL as a league in their own right and not just another spring “minor” league for the NFL.
One of the interesting story lines this week is the matchup between the Run and Shoot offense of the Houston Roughnecks against the visiting St. Louis BattleHawks. The back story behind the BattleHawks lies in their victory over the heavily favored Dallas Renegades last Sunday. The BattleHawks were the only road team to earn a win last week, albeit they beat a Landry Jones-less Renegades team. This does not negate their 15-9 victory over Dallas as they held the Renegades to only 1 of 10 on third down conversions and largely stymied the Dallas offense.
The Roughnecks are coming off a great home opener win with PJ Walker earning the very first Star of the Week honors for the XFL. Walker clearly showed off the Run and Shoot mentality of head coach June Jones by going 23 for 29 on pass completions for 298 yards and 4 passing touchdowns. The Roughnecks also showed off defensive prowess by leading the league Week 1 with a stingy rush defense. This will be a critical part of the Roughnecks defensive plan this week as the BattleHawks heavily relied on a ground attack in the 15-9 win by carrying the ball 42 times for 191 yards including Matt Jones who carried 21 times for 85 yards and QB Jordan Ta’amu also carrying the ball 9 times for 77 yards as well. However, Matt Jones is listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game and fellow BattleHawks RB Keith Ford has been listed as being out as well. Houston is listed as a 7.5 point favorite and this week’s matchup should be another entertaining game as one undefeated team will suffer their first loss in this young XFL season.
Mike Gambill has joined XFLBoard.com as a reporter for the Houston Roughnecks.