Houston Roughnecks (4-0) vs Dallas Renegades (2-2) @Globe Life Park
In the XFL’s first ever Battle of Texas, Houston outlasted Dallas, making a stand in the final minutes as Phillip Nelsen fumbled on the goal line.
Nelsen was thrust into the game in relief of a beat up Landry Jones, who re aggravated his knee injury on Sunday. Jones led a valiant comeback effort after a rough start to the day, but ultimately 5 Dallas turnovers gave the game to Houston. PJ Walker and Co. move to 4-0 and are clearly the XFL’s team to beat while the Renegades fall to 2-2 with questions about the QB position with Jones’ knee up in the air.
PJ Walker continues to dominate this league, and put up another solid performance in Sunday’s win. Houston threw the ball 41 times, with their running backs taking only 13 carries on the ground. Walker continues to shoulder a heavy load and carry it well, and his connection with his receivers is apparent.
Cam Phillips had a slower week with just 1 reception after massive performances in the past several weeks, but Walker keyed in on WR/RB Nick Holley who continues to flex impressive versatility in the Run N Shoot.
While the Dallas offense got moving at times, Houston’s defensive unit made a huge impact in this game. DeMarquis Gates made 8 tackles and a pass defense before sealing the game with a 4th quarter fumble recovery on the goal line, while safety Deatrick Nichols marred Landry Jones opening drives with two straight picks.
Key Stat 1: 25/41 Passing, 239 Yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 17 Rush Yards (PJ Walker-QB)
Key Stat 2: 8 Receptions, 97 Yards, 1 TD (Nick Holley-RB/WR)
Key Stat 3: 3 Tackles, 2 INT, 2 PD (Deatrick Nichols-SAF)
Landry Jones struggled out the gate with 3 straight picks on his opening drives, and continued the trend of early game woes and late game stabilization. This time however, his ability to turn it on late was stunted by a knee tweak that sent him out of the game. The Renegades were driving in the game’s final minutes when he went down. It sounds like its the same knee that was bothering him early this offseason, and he’s in for an MRI today.
Phillip Nelsen’s fumble ended what could have been a game winning drive, and it’s unclear wheter he’ll have to step in as the starter next week. Dallas is still a pass-first team, and though Cameron Artis-Payne couldn’t find much ground, Lance Dunbar had a good day with 65 yards from scrimmage and a score.
Key Stat 1: 25/38 Passing, 205 Yards, 1 TD, 3 INT, 2 Rush Yards (Landry Jones-QB)
Key Stat 2: 6 Rec, 56 Yards, TD (Donald Parham-TE)
Key Stat 3: 9 Rush: 48 Yards, TD 2 Rec: 17 Yards (Lance Dunbar-RB)
Phillip Nelsen continues to be the league’s best QB option, just as Donald Parham is doing at TE. Cam Phillips had a down week while Nick Holley and Khalil Lewis saw the lion’s share of catches.
Renegades targets beyond the TE and RB groups are hard to predict, and this week it was Flynn Nagel who emerged. However, the introduction of veteran Armanti Edwards to the lineup should shake things up again.
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