Sunday’s first game on the XFL schedule set the tone for what turned out to be a wild day, leaguewide. A showdown between two of the league’s three undefeated teams saw the DC Defenders host the St. Louis BattleHawks. Washington’s ‘other’ football team got a big 38-28 victory.
The win moved DC into first place in the North Division. But a big side story was the fireworks that erupted during the game.
In what was a close and sometimes chippy game, DC took over in the second half. They hit Battlehawks quarterback A.J. McCarron hard throughout the game, forcing the normally steady signal-caller to throw two interceptions.
It was tight most of the way, but the Defenders surged in the second half. Their key came late to clinch things. The Battlehawks elected to try to convert a 4th & 15 instead of attempting an onside kick as they tried to erase a six-point deficit and steal a win. St. Louis would come up short, as McCarron got sacked.
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It was by far the highest-scoring game currently in the 2023 XFL season.
As things broke down, St. Louis and D.C. players started yelling and doing some shoving. Then, a few helmets started flying. Things escalated to the point that there were three ejections representing both sides
Players and coaches spilled on the field to break up the brawl. When it was all said and done, XFL officials announced the three names whose afternoons were over: On the Defenders, No. 43 DL Francis Bernard and No. 73 OL Rod Taylor, along with No. 23 St. Louis running back Brian Hill, were all ejected over their participation in the fight.
Time ran down, and the Defenders escaped with the win, improving to 3-0. The BattleHawks fell to 2-1.
We’ll find out how much bad blood remains between the two teams in just a couple of weeks. A re-match of this battle royal will take place when the two teams face off again in Week 5, on March 18.
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