In Week 5 of the 2020 XFL season, the undefeated Houston Roughnecks, with the best offense in the league, battled back to stay unbeaten by defeating the Seattle Dragons 32 – 23.
Early in the 1st quarter, Seattle gained the upper hand when Seattle DE Jacquies Smith, on an end-around, rushed stripped the football from Roughnecks QB P.J. Walker and recovered the fumble at the 18-yd line. It set up Seattle’s first score by Dragon’s QB B.J. Daniels who scored on a quarterback keeper on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line. It put Seattle ahead 6-0 concluding a 3:18, 7-play, 18-yard drive. They attempted the two-point conversion but failed with 3:25 left on the clock.
Midway through the second quarter, Seattle scored again on a 17-yard run by Seattle RB Trey Williams putting the Dragons up 12-0. It capped off an eight-play, 54-yard drive that took 3:58. Seattle’s two-point conversion was successful with a pass play from Daniels to WR Austin Proehl putting Seattle on top 14-0. It was the largest deficit that the Roughnecks have ever had to face in the young season.
Houston’s offense finally came alive at 6:18 of the second quarter when QB P.J. Walker connected on a 50 yard touchdown pass to RB Nick Holley during a five-play, 80 yard series of plays that took 2:56 off the clock to put Houston on the board 14-6. Houston attempted a three-point conversion but failed to leave them trailing by eight points.
Following a Seattle punt late in the second quarter, Walker connected with WR Sam Mobley on a 41-yard pass play to the Seattle 47 yard line leading up to the two-minute warning. A pass play to WR Cam Phillips to the 15-yd line put the Roughnecks in position for a potential score with 1 minute and 18 seconds left in the half. A 14-yard completion to WR Blake Jackson from Walker to the one-yard line set up a touchdown run by RB James to bring the Roughnecks within two points at 14-12 in Seattle’s favor. Houston converted the two-point conversion and tied the game 14-14 concluding an eight-play, 90-yard drive before halftime.
Seattle pulled ahead 17-14 in the third quarter at 10:48 following a 10-play drive that covered 40 yards ending in a 47-yard field goal. Houston’s next series stalled after P.J. Walker was intercepted and it was returned 52 yards to the Houston one by CB Marko Myers. Daniels scored on a one-yard run increasing the Seattle lead to 23 – 14. The two-point conversion pass attempt failed, but Seattle had a nine-point lead with 8:56 on the game clock.
Houston’s dynamic duo of Walker and WR Cam Phillips got to work with 7:56 on the clock with a 48-yard pitch and catch to the Seattle 10-yard line. It was capped off by a touchdown run by Houston RB James Butler closing the score to 23-20.
A three-point conversion pass attempt to Holley to tie game failed leaving Houston trailing by three points with 6:58 remaining third quarter after a four-play, 64-yard drive.
Houston’s next series stalled once again as Walker was intercepted for the second time by safety Jordan Martin with an acrobatic catch at the 27-yard line with 1:27 left. But Seattle failed to capitalize on the turnover before the end of the third quarter.
Momentum started to swing in Houston’s favor at the beginning of the fourth quarter with Walker mixing up run and pass plays. He put together a 12-play, 64-yard scoring drive using 5:56 seconds of the game clock. It was topped off by a five-yard touchdown catch by Phillips giving him 101 yards receiving on eight catches and a 26 -23 lead for the Roughnecks with 9:03 left on the game clock. Houston took the lead for the first time in the game. The two-point conversion run attempt by Walker failed.
In typical Houston Roughnecks fashion, the defense stiffened up and rose up to shutdown the Seattle Dragons offense. They forced them to punt away the football to Houston with 7:21 left on the game clock. Roughneck QB P.J. Walker picked away at the Seattle defense completing a 25-yard pass to Mobley and a 23-yard pass to Phillips. That was followed by a 15-yard penalty on Seattle for roughing the passer giving Houston the ball at the Seattle 13-yard line. After a two-yard run play, Walker hooked up once again with WR Cam Phillips for an 11-yard score increasing Houston’s lead to 32-23. This was Phillips 10th reception on the day giving him 122 yards, averaging 12.2 per catch and two touchdowns. The one-point conversion failed but Houston had a nine-point lead.
With a one possession lead, Houston’s defense rose up once again with 1:58 left as LB DeMarquis Gates stripped the football from Daniels and recovered the fumble. During the scramble for the ball, Gates was penalized and ejected from the game for a personal foul violation. Gates was escorted off the field waving to the crowd that cheered and gave him a standing ovation. He also kept the game ball!!
The Houston Roughnecks closed out another victory defeating the Seattle Dragons 32-23 in front of the largest crowd this season at TDECU stadium.
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