Week 2: Stats that matter
Through two weeks of XFL games, players and teams have begun to separate themselves from the pack.
Using data from Pro Football Focus, we have noted specific volume or efficiency numbers where individuals or units have developed a winning identity.
Dallas averages 2.3 yards before contact per rush attempt, the best mark in the XFL.
This league-best stat is a testament to the draw-heavy Renegades' blocking design and execution. No other backfield is able to take that many yards for granted on a per rush basis.
Defenders WR Rashad Ross leads the XFL with 2.94 yards per route run (minimum: 30 routes ran).
While DC rotates its receivers frequently, "Rocket" has established himself as one of the best deep threats in the league through two weeks. Head coach and offensive play-caller Pep Hamilton was caught telling the speedster to “get on [his] horse” before being thrown a long ball that took the Defenders from mid-field to scoring range at the end of the first half against New York this weekend.
DC's defense has allowed a 54.4 passer rating, the leading mark in the XFL.
Quarterback Cardale Jones is an MVP candidate, but the DC defense is just as impactful for its 2-0 record. The pass defense will face its greatest test of the season yet in Week 3, when they face off against Los Angeles quarterback Josh Johnson.
Houston has pressured opposing quarterbacks on 41% of dropbacks, an XFL-leading number.
While quarterback P.J. Walker steals the show with highlight plays, the Roughnecks’ play in the trenches is just as big of a factor in their wins.
Not only are they generating more pressures defensively than any other team in the XFL, but tackle Terry Poole and guard Avery Gennesy have yet to allow a quarterback pressure in 166 combined pass-blocking snaps.
Wildcats QB Josh Johnson leads the XFL with an average depth of target of 13.8 yards (minimum: 20 pass attempts).
After missing Week 1 with a thigh injury, Johnson flashed as a vertical passer against the Renegades this week by throwing for nearly 14 yards beyond the line of scrimmage per pass attempt. The long-time NFL journeyman’s go-to receiver is Nelson Spruce, who has recorded four receptions of 15 or more yards through two weeks.
In total, his 103 receiving yards matched the next six Wildcats' combined, and Spruce has proven to be the XFL’s best slot receiver so far.
New York DE Bunmi Rotimi has recorded 8 total pressures from edge defender positions, the most in the XFL.
On the edge, Rotimi is persistently agitating quarterbacks, while teammate Cavon Walker has recorded six total pressures on the interior defensive line, the second-best mark in the league. The tandem is one of the best pass-rushing duos in the league, with the Guardians posting a league-leading 33% dropbacks faced resulting in hurries.
St. Louis QB Jordan Ta’amu has an adjusted completion percentage of 82%, the highest mark among active XFL starters.
The 22-year-old has flashed incredible accuracy through two weeks, though the Battlehawks were unable to make up for an interception he threw when he believed the Dallas Renegades jumped offsides in Week 2.
A key factor moving forward may be the loss of tackle Jake Campos, who was injured against Dallas. He hasn't allowed a single pressure in 47 pass blocking snaps this season.
The Dragons have allowed just 0.1 yards before contact per rush attempt, the league's best defensive mark.
Led by the likes of defensive tackle Will Sutton, linebacker Steven Johnson and defensive end Marcell Frazier, Seattle essentially makes contact with ball-carriers at the line of scrimmage on run plays. Johnson leads the league in run stops (seven) while Sutton has generated the most pressures (seven) from the interior this XFL season.
Vipers RBs De’Veon Smith (110 yards) and Jacques Patrick (94) rank first and third, respectively, in the XFL in yards after contact as ball-carriers this season.
Tampa Bay’s run game is carried by its strong backfield, where the tandem of Smith and Patrick has earned over 200 yards after contact this season. They have established themselves as the league's premier one-two punch.
Tampa Bay has a plethora of defensive standouts.
Here’s the rundown:
- Defensive end Deiontrez Mount has recorded seven total pressures from edge defender positions, the second-most in the XFL.
- Defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock is second in the XFL with six total pressures as an interior defensive lineman.
- Safety Marcelis Branch is tied for second in the XFL with six run stops.
- Cornerback Anthoula Kelly leads the XFL with four forced incompletions.
These players have been critical factors in how the Vipers have been able to outgain their opponents by over 100 yards in each game this season, despite a 0-2 record.