St. Louis BattleHawks vs. Houston Roughnecks Game Grades

By Will “The XFL STL Insider” Freeman

Quarterbacks: B

Jordan Ta’amu saw a lot of improvement from the previous game with his arm and legs, most importantly his accuracy. He had a 90 percent completion percentage after the first half with that one incompletion being an interception that was caused by Jordan’s arm getting hit before the throw. That second interception was on the missed offsides call by the officials, that caused Jordan to think he had a free play and throw the ball the way he did. Though, Coach Hayes said in his post game press conference, if you don’t see the flag, you play to the whistle like any other play. Jordan can learn from this as he is becoming one of the top 3 Quarterbacks in this league. We did see more plays with Nick Fitzgerald in as Quarterback in certain packages and Hayes said this will likely increase over time. Bring on that creativity because that will help this offense as the season goes on.

photo credit: XFL

Running Backs: B

This group rushed with a combined 86 yards. This game we finally saw them use screen pass game with a combined 47 yards receiving. Including the first touchdown in the game by Matt Jones for 25 yards. Christine Michael did see some improvement in rushing from the last game, but oh my, he still has a long way to go. They’re were sacks by Houston’s defense that were solely caused by Michael’s lack of blocking, including by one defender going right by him, doing a spin while Jordan was getting sacked. One was on screen that Michael did in which he could have gotten a first down, but ran out of bounds just short. Lenard Tillery took Keith Ford’s spot as he was out because of an injury. He didn’t play a ton, but will get better with more opportunities.

photo credit: XFL

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B

The receivers caught almost every time Jordan threw to them. Accounting for 237 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns by L’Damian Washington and De’Mornay Pierson-El. Pierson-El even got involved in the passing game for 7 yards. Screens and slant routes work well in this passing game. There were a few screens that failed due to bad blocking, not as a bad as Micheal, but they can work on it and improve. I see this group getting better every week.

Offensive Line: C

There were some good things and some bad things. Let’s start with the bad. First the penalties. There were some false starts and missed blocked assignments that caused Jordan to get sacked. There were also some injuries to the O-line that did cause some problems at first, but got better over the course of the game. Overall when the protection was good, Jordan had enough time to throw or run when he needed to.

Defense: C

Tackling was a big issue in this game. There were a lot of missed sacks on Walker. Some blown coverage with D’Montre Wade getting beat most of the time. There were two interceptions that should have been made. They played better in the second half in causing 3 and outs, however. Need to work on tackling and pass catching in practice this week.

Special Teams: C

Kicking and punting was great this week. When it came to when the Battlehawks were getting the ball there was almost always a penalty to bring the ball back to worse field position for them. They need to have better discipline. There has no need to hit the other player in the back.

photo credit: XFL STL

Coaching: C

Like last week they needed to have more discipline and get less flags. Play calling was a little better on the offensive side of the ball, but when you have momentum with the passing game you don’t run the ball four straight times. And don’t run the ball on 4th and 2 when the defense knows it’s coming. Keep using the screen passes to have better success. Have tackling practice sessions in order to get better technique. Also, they need to better with conversions. They have not had a successful conversion yet this season. They’ve got to get better there. Bright side Coach Hayes said after this loss, he has to evaluate himself and tell his players like he does to his own children “Never be satisfied with a loss”. I can get behind that.

Offensive Player of the Week:

Jordan Ta’amu

Defensive Player of the Week:

Andrew Ankrah

Special Teams Player:

Marquette King

Extra Credit:

Officiating: D

This isn’t just because of the missed offsides call. There were a couple of calls the sky judge had to stop the game for the missed calls the officials did not make. First was when the Houston player was out of bounds… never called. The second was the most outrageous with the BattleHawks lone sack by Ankrah, and Walker was on his back yet wasn’t called down. How that wasn’t called down I have no idea and they wasted time for the sky judge to reverse the call. Now for that offsides missed call. How when the Houston player’s foot is right next to the ball when it’s snapped is not called, or the sky judge calling down to the officials to correct it, I have no idea. Even Greg Olsen on the broadcast said the officials missed that call.

On to the Guardians for the first home game of the season.

photo credit: XFL STL

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