Recap: Houston Roughnecks 28, St. Louis BattleHawks 24
HOUSTON -- The Houston Roughnecks (2-0) relied on their high-octane offense and a timely fourth-quarter interception to notch a 28-24 win over the St. Louis BattleHawks (1-1) in front of the home crowd at TDECU Stadium.
The Roughnecks enjoyed three touchdown pairings from quarterback P.J. Walker and wide receiver Cam Phillips, who caught seven of eight targets for 54 yards.
BattleHawks quarterback Jordan Ta'amu nearly stole the show from Walker, throwing for 284 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 32 and one score. However, a costly fourth-quarter interception proved decisive, despite a late-quarter touchdown that cut the deficit.
HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS 28, ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS 24
- Box Score
- Top Moments
- This is the XFL: Offenses show off in STL-HOU
- Garcia: Phillips ready to play his game
- Romero: BattleHawks looking forward to Dome opener
On his second TD hookup off a Walker throw, Phillips climbed the ladder along the back line of the end zone to extend Houston's second-quarter lead.
St. Louis built excitement at the end of the game with this L'Damian Washington catch-and-run for a touchdown that cut the Houston lead to four.
Roughnecks talk about the win
"They are both very hard workers, and they study the film. They buy in to what we are doing. Those two guys made some plays, and that’s what you have to do. Players make plays, and P.J. did a great job moving around and making things happen."
"That just comes from practice. From taking the practice reps serious. Understanding that come game day that we're going to need to have that connection. Just talking through everything. Watching film, seeing the tendencies of the defenses.”
STAT OF THE GAME
St. Louis dominated most categories but gave the game away, notably on the fourth-quarter pick by Houston cornerback Jeremiah Johnson.
Going toe-to-toe with the MVP candidate Walker, Ta'amu averaged a solid 7.7 yards per pass attempt for the second straight, showing his embrace of offensive coordinator Chuck Long's Air Raid system.
The slinger got a boost from two of his wideouts: Washington (six catches, eight targets, 77 yards) and De'Mornay Pierson-El (nine catches, 11 targets, 50 yards). As Ta'amu averaged 7.7 yards per pass play, the receivers slashed Houston's secondary during St. Louis' second-half rally, reminding the league that the BattleHawks aren't merely a run-first squad.
Walker failed to reach 200 aerial yards, but Phillips made most of his work count, catching eight of 10 targets for 63 yards and making his three end-zone trips. Those goal-line crossings gave him four on the season after he planted one in the season-opening victory. The 24-year-old led Houston receiving options in looks for the second straight week.
Don't forget the Roughnecks defense: linebacker DeMarquis Gates (nine solo tackles, one sack), safety Cody Brown (seven tackles, one interception, one pass defensed), linebacker Beniquez Brown (10 tackles, four solo), and cornerback Ajene Harris (nine tackles, one for a loss).
BATTLEHAWKS DISCUSS DEFEAT
"The things that kill you, too, are the penalties. We had eight penalties for 61 yards and they had three for 15. The play that probably broke our back was the interception and return.”
"I like where our team is at. Everybody fought, nobody gave up. I like where this team is at. It’s all about the team."