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Recap: Defenders 31, Dragons 19

Highlights from Defenders' 31-19 victory over the Dragons

WASHINGTON -- The DC Defenders (1-0) powered through the second half with three touchdowns and registered three takeaways to secure a 31-19 win over the Seattle Dragons (0-1) at Audi Field in the first game of the 2020 XFL season.

DC DEFENDERS 31, SEATTLE DRAGONS 19

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DC's defensive scoring party started with a blocked punt from cornerback Elijah Campbell that was scooped up by linebacker Jonathan Celestin in the end zone.

With the first score of the second half, the Defenders ran a double-flea-flicker pass, with quarterback Cardale Jones eventually lobbing one in to tight end Khari Lee, who clawed his way into the end zone.

Cornerback Bradley Sylve expanded the Defenders lead with his fourth-quarter pick-6.

QUOTES FROM THE VICTORS

"It sounds cliche, but it wasn't today. We owe this victory to the fans. When we got close to "bend or break: situations, they kept us upright. They were loud from start to finish and gave us the energy we needed to finish the job and get the victory."

Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton

"Coming to the team late, and try to learn the playbook, honestly, I was a bit iffy on it. I knew that not starting had to do with still learning the playbook, so coming in, I didn't know how much time I was expected to get. But last-minute coach [Pep Hamilton] pulls me aside and says 'you are a pro, I expect you to pick it up. Go out there and get it done. You're starting.' And the results speak for itself."

Defenders WR Rashad Ross on his Week 1 impact

STAT OF THE GAME

PEAK PERFORMANCES

DRAGONS

WR Austin Proehl garnered 10 targets from Silvers, catching five for 88 yards and finding the end zone twice, including a 57-yard catch-and-run.

QB Brandon Silvers' day was marred by two interceptions (including one returned for a TD), but the 25-year-old showcased spurts of brilliance in his three-TD day. 

DEFENDERS

Fueled by a second half in which he peppered the Dragons downfield, quarterback Cardale Jones directed a solid 235-yard, two-touchdown effort with a robust average of 11.2 yards per attempt. While bombs to Ross and Lee got most of the attention, experienced former NFL wideout Eli Rogers also served as a safety valve, catching all six of their intended connections.

While he didn't get to taste the glory of his teammates Sylve, Campbell or Celestin, linebacker Jameer Thurman was all over the field, recording eight tackles (six solo) with a tackle for a loss and two passes defensed.

DRAGONS IN DEFEAT

"A few errors can really affect the game, and we have to overcome those."

Dragons head coach Jim Zorn

"It's definitely different. After you score a touchdown or make a big play, it's fun to go over and celebrate with your teammates. You're not really expecting to have cameras. It's definitely a new thing. But I think it's a good addition to this league. It makes it fun. It brings everybody together too."

Dragons WR Austin Proehl on being interviewed immediately after a big play

DRAGONS-DEFENDERS PHOTOS

Up Next: Week 2

  • New York Guardians visit the Defenders: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Dragons host the Tampa Bay Vipers: Saturday, Feb. 15, 5 p.m. ET (FOX)

 

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