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XFL Week 2 Recap: AJ Impresses The Rock

St. Louis Battlehawks quarterback AJ McCarron passes during an XFL game against the Seattle Sea Dragons on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, at Lumen Field in Seattle.Maddy Grassy/XFL

Following an extreme week one in its 2023 return, the XFL needed to live up to its debut week hype. A former college standout led a comeback for the second consecutive weekend. A former NFL starter couldn’t finish the game for the second straight weekend. The top team in the North overcame a first half shutout to win again. And there’s only one undefeated team left in the state of Texas.


St. Louis came back for the second weekend in a row and came back twice in this one game. Seattle led the game 12-0 until AJ McCarron and the Battlehawks got cooking. St. Louis scored 17 points to take the lead. But the Sea Dragons responded with a touchdown drive to retake the lead with a little over a minute left in the game. McCarron responded by rushing twice for 11 and 12 yards respectively, before completing passes to George Campbell and Austin Proehl to set up the game winning field goal.

St. Louis is now 2-0 on the season. McCarron also got a mention from XFL owner, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who referenced the former Alabama standout’s decision to turn down a backup role in the NFL to start in the XFL, so his kids could see him play.


Loosely speaking of the Rock, the team named after one of his many WWE nicknames rebounded after being on the losing end of McCarron’s comeback in week one. The San Antonio Brahmas crushed the Orlando Guardians 30-12. Jack Coan threw for 169 yards and three touchdowns while the Brahmas continued the trend of making former NFL QB Paxton Lynch look bad.

The former Denver Bronco completed just nine of 19 passes for 79 yards and one touchdown. Lynch was also sacked twice. Deondre Francois came on in relief and fared much worse. He completed just six of 13 passes for eight yards. He also tossed a touchdown pass and an interception.

The entire Guardians team struggled to make anything happen. Orlando committed 13 penalties, missed a field goal and had a punt blocked deep in their own territory to set up a San Antonio touchdown.


There were some harsh field conditions out in Las Vegas as the Vipers hosted the DC Defenders. The rains in the normally arid Western US led to some unexpected stats. The two teams combined for four fumbles, two missed field goals and 320 yards rushing, while neither quarterback broke 100 yards passing.

The Vipers managed to kick two field goals in the first quarter to take a 6-0 lead. The wouldn’t score the rest of the game. In the second half, DC found the rhythm in its running game. The Defenders scored 18 unanswered points and joined St. Louis among the ranks of the 2-0 teams.


The battle between the two Texas teams that won in week on proved one thing: Wade Phillips still knows how to coach a defense. Houston held Arlington to just 14 points in their week two matchup. Still the Renegades led by three in the second half until Brandon Silvers found Cedric Byrd to take the lead. Houston would add an insurance touchdown, and the Roughnecks are the only unbeaten team left in the state of Texas.



  1. DC Defenders 2-0
  2. St. Louis Battlehawks 2-0
  3. Seattle Sea Dragons 0-2
  4. Vegas Vipers 0-2


  1. Houston Roughnecks 2-0
  2. Arlington Renegades 1-1
  3. San Antonio Brahmas 1-1
  4. Orlando Guardians 0-2


In week three, the North Division is likely to only have one winless team and one undefeated team left as Vegas hosts Seattle while DC hosts St. Louis. In the South, Arlington hosts Orlando while the other two Texas teams square off when San Antonio visits Houston. The Vegas-Seattle game will take place Saturday while it’s an XFL tripleheader on Sunday.

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