Dallas was able to make up for sloppy turnovers and lulls in the first half to defeat Seattle 24-12 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Bob Stoops and his offense started to click once the pressure was turned up, and the defense held firm throughout the second half to launch a Renegade victory.
Seattle found the endzone first, off a backfoot throw by Brandon Silvers for a 21-yard score to Austin Proehl. Silvers showed special toughness to his guys, getting drilled by three Renegade lineman after throwing the pass. Seattle had the momentum early, and with the advantage the crowd played last week, it looked like Dallas was in an unenviable position.
It did not take long for Landry Jones to respond. Firing a missile on a crossing route to Flynn Nagel, Dallas got on the board just before the first period ended. Bob Stoops and Hal Mumme were in business too.
The Renegade defense had plans to be impactful as well, picking off a Silvers pass halfway through the second period at midfield. The ensuing play, Landry Jones had his pass deflected right back into his hands, and he found his receiver floating down the middle and drifted a pass just out of the defender's reach to convert the chaotic play. The savvy play by Landry Jones exploited the new XFL rule that you can throw two forward passes, leaving Stoops in shock and awe.
The deflection luck quickly vanished for Jones, as his pass towards the endzone deflected off his receiver into the waiting arms of the Dragons, who stifled the moxie out of the Renegade side. Seattle is used to seeing turnovers, and the Dragons have embraced that moniker too.
The Dragons capitalized on that stolen momentum, finding Kenneth Farrow on a jerk route to the endzone to take the lead into halftime after another Landry Jones pick. That would be the final time the Dragons saw the endzone on the day.
A huge sack on 4th down jolted the Renegade's into focus to start the 3rd quarter. Jones then led a drive taking chunk after chunk out of the Dragon defense, picking his way through to finally find TE Donald Parham in the endzone for 6.
Another stifled offensive attempt saw Dallas chew a huge amount of clock in the 3rd and 4th quarters, ultimately culminating in a field goal for the Renegades to go up 15-12.
Minutes later, after another unfruitful attempt by the Dragons, the Renegades faced 3rd and 9 at their own 35 and faced handing the Dragons good field positioning. Jones rolled left, found Parham had just beat his man on a crossing route, and Parham sprinted upfield for a 65-yard backbreaking touchdown for the Renegades. Parham's second touchdown of the afternoon took all the wind out of the Dragon's sails.
Seattle created a Jones fumble and had a chance at the Renegade 35 to put points on the board, but failing to pick up more than 5 yards on four plays cemented Seattle's fate. Another time-consuming field goal drive permanently sealed their fate, and the Renegades took a victory on the road.
Dallas is starting to look like the favorite everyone predicted. The opening night loss is looking like an anomaly the more plays Stoops and his squad get under their belts. With Jones under center, it feels like Dallas is more lethal and potent than Week 1. The defense is making plays too, helping the Renegades case.
I'm not completely sold on Landry Jones. Last week I commented that Landry Jones needs to be better, and this week there were definite bright spots. Jones' 274 yards and 3 touchdowns are the main reason why the Air Raid offense is looking like itself, but two bad interceptions coupled with a fumble are definite signs of worry for Dallas. Jones has 6 turnovers through two weeks against mediocre defenses. If Dallas wants to compete against DC and Houston, there must be more consistent play from Jones. Hal Mumme and his Air Raid offense are starting to take shape even through his faults.
Seattle's offense is going to hold them back. The Dragon Defense is stout, and formidable. Especially with the crowd backing, Seattle can create turnovers, and has the XFL's leading tackler Steven Johnson. But weak offensive strengths or go-to players hurt the Dragons when they need them in the clutch, especially on short drives. "Three 3-and-outs did not help...." Dragon Coach Jim Zorn said after the loss. "I thought we were running the ball well, we had a pretty good plan. All of us felt frustrated, we had a plan that was capable, but you only get one shot.“
Dallas (2-1) will return home to take on Houston (3-0) in the "Battle for Texas" next Sunday, and Seattle (1-2) will hope to get back in balance against the surprisingly tough St. Louis Battlehawks (2-1) coming off a dominating showing against New York in Missouri.
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