The Seattle Dragons ( 1-2) were a tale of two teams in Saturdays 24-12 loss to the Dallas Renegades in an XFL West showdown at CenturyLink Field. The Dragons inability to play two strong halves cost them the chance to move up in the XFL West Standings.
The Dragons were a different team on offense over the first two quarters with quarterback Brandon Silvers making quick and crisp throws that took advantage of the Renegades zone defensive schemes.
By the time Silvers floated a touchdown to running back Kenneth Farrow, Silvers’ second of the game, over the Dallas (2-1) defense, Seattle had staked out a 12-6 lead behind their young signal caller’s improved play who entered the break with his best half to date completing 10-for-14 passes for 123 yards.
“Some of the plays last week were the first times I ran the plays, but I was more comfortable out there today,” Silvers said of his improvement. “I played better in the first half than the first half. A lot of three-and-outs. Just got to get through it and work on your progression. I think we did that today.”
Seattle coach Jim Zorn saw the improved decision-making and quick reads that Silvers lacked over the first couple of weeks of the season.
“He definitely improved. He would even say that. (He) was a lot better on third downs, of sustaining drives and making some third down plays. He managed the game pretty well,” Zorn assessed of Seattle’s young quarterback. “
The loss put Seattle into third place in the XFL West with a 1-2 overall record while Dallas (2-1) moved into second place behind Houston Roughnecks (3-0) who remained undefeated after a come from behind win over Tampa Bay in the morning game.
The turnaround in Silvers performance was a major step forward for the Dragons as they navigate through the inaugural XFL season as he finished with 219 total yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Silvers threw for 203 yards on 21-of-34 attempts (62-percent).
He did throw an interception for the third consecutive game when Renegades corner back Josh Hawkins undercut Alonzo Moore’s cutback.
Silvers only participated in Thursday’s practice after nursing an ankle injury sustained from the Tampa Bay game in the second week.
SECOND HALF STALL OUT
The first half played out every way Zorn and the Dragons could have hoped for. The third quarter a completely different Dragons team that was unable to make in-game adjustments
It wasn’t as if Dallas coach Bob Stoops had a halftime epiphany that gave the Renegades the answer to what they saw from the Dragons. It was more of executing and hoping for a slip up from the opposing side.
“I thought our run game really got going. I thought Cameron Artis-Payne started running the football better. That was huge because in the first half there was no run game,” Stoops said.
Seattle held Dallas to just nine rushing yards on four attempts in the first half. The Renegades finished with 103 yards with the big run coming from Artis-Payne’s 31-yard cutback run late in the fourth quarter.
Slip up and misplays cost Seattle chances at continuing where they left off coming out of the break, where Dallas capitalized on them to post a 18-0 shutout over the Dragons in the second half.
Seattle failed to stop Landry Jones (30-for-41, 274 passing yards) who connected on two of his three touchdowns in the second half, including on the Renegades first drive where Landry connected with dump off passes to Artis-Payne (110 total yards) who found space to pick up large chunks of yards.
Landry finished off the drive tying the game 12-12 when he connected with his big tight-end Donald Parham (101 yards on five receptions).
“They had 9-yards rushing in the first half. They were actually leading the league coming in, and we did pretty well in shutting that down,” Zorn said. “In the second half they had two big runs. That was the difference for them on offense.”
Parham found space in Seattle’s zone defense on Dallas’ third drive of the second half, where Landry found his tight-end open over the middle, and after one move, Parham put the Renegades up by two scores after a 65-yard touchdown catch and run.
The Dragons defense was its usual disruptive self as the team finished with three takeaways on a fumble recovery and two interceptions off the Landry in the loss. It was the lack of offensive production in the second half that allowed Dallas to take advantage of Seattle’s tiring defense.
“We didn’t really play well in the second half and really put our defense in a bind. … We need to maintain in the second half and make some plays,” Silvers admitted.
Seattle will go out on the road for the next two weeks with their first stop facing the St. Louis BattleHawks (1-1) next Saturday The Dome. The Dragons will travel to Houston for their second XFL West division meeting of the season the following week (Mar. 7).