The XFL's 40-game regular season -- four games per week for 10 weeks -- ended Sunday night, and it took all 40 to decide which team got the fourth and final playoff berth.
The Seattle Sea Dragons entered their Sunday night matchup with the Vegas Vipers knowing they'd need to at least win to match the St. Louis Battlehawks' 7-3 record. The Sea Dragons got the win, 28-9, as well as the final playoff berth, with the deciding factor amazingly coming down to the fifth point in the XFL's list of playoff tiebreakers.
Ahead of its Week 10 games, the XFL is sharing its two team tiebreakers and Division Championship Game clinching scenarios. pic.twitter.com/30fvL7Y8az— XFL Communications Department (@XFL_PR) April 21, 2023
The Sea Dragons, who've gone 7-1 in their last eight after an 0-2 start, have had a difficult week. Defensive lineman Chris Smith, who also played for five different teams in eight seasons in the NFL, died last Monday at age 31. Seattle wore Smith's No. 42 on their helmets and had his jersey on the sideline.
A moment of silence for our teammate Chris Smith #XFL2023 | #BreatheFire pic.twitter.com/9uLpMGstpc— Seattle Sea Dragons (@XFLSeaDragons) April 23, 2023
Seattle's win knocked out the Battlehawks, who got an absolute monster effort from A.J. McCarron on Saturday (more on that below). First, let's dive into the playoff matchups.
XFL playoffs set
|PLAYOFF SEMIFINALS||DATE, TIME||TV|
Arlington Renegades at Houston Roughnecks
Saturday, April 29, 7 p.m. ET
Seattle Sea Dragons at D.C. Defenders
Sunday, April 30, 3 p.m. ET
The championship game will feature the winners of those two matchups, with the game kicking off at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 13, on ABC.
Here's a look at the Week 10 scores (check out the final regular-season XFL standings here).
St. Louis Battlehawks 53, Orlando Guardians 28
D.C. Defenders 29, San Antonio Brahmas 28
Houston Roughnecks 25, Arlington Renegades 9
Seattle Sea Dragons 29, Vegas Vipers 9
Sea Dragons top Vipers, knock Battlehawks out of playoff picture
Seattle led just 6-0 at half, perhaps feeling some nerves in a must-win game. But after that it was all Sea Dragons. Seattle scored a touchdown on four consecutive drives from the end of the second quarter to the start of the fourth.
Sea Dragons quarterback Ben DiNucci threw for 339 yards with 3 TDs and 2 INTs. Former NFL receiving leader Josh Gordon led Seattle with nine catches for 115 yards. Juwan Green had five catches for 88 yards.
Two of Seattle's three losses this season came against the D.C. Defenders -- 22-18 in Week 1, and 34-33 in Week 8 -- and they'll now face each other for a third time in the playoffs.
McCarron sets XFL's all-time TD record
A.J. McCarron may not have been an NFL star, but he's been an absolute beast in the XFL. The Battlehawks quarterback threw SIX touchdown passes on Saturday, going 28 of 35 for 420 yards. McCarron appears to be the frontrunner for XFL MVP. In a game with a playoff berth potentially on the line, all St. Louis did was score 53 points.
Granted, it came against the Orlando Guardians, who've won one game all season -- inexplicably handing the D.C. Defenders their one and only loss.
McCarron's six TDs gave him 24 for the year. It's the most any XFL quarterback has thrown in any of the league's three seasons -- the other two were the 2020 season that was canceled after five games due to COVID-19, and the original one way back in 2001, when Tommy Maddox threw 18 touchdown passes.
No typos. We checked. pic.twitter.com/P5FB07drgu— St. Louis Battlehawks (@XFLBattlehawks) April 22, 2023
The question for McCarron: Could he return to the NFL? The fifth-round pick of the Bengals in 2014 -- he also played briefly with four other teams, totaling 6 TD passes and 3 INTs in the NFL -- would be eligible to do so.
A look at who's in
- D.C. Defenders
- Seattle Sea Dragons
- Houston Roughnecks
- Arlington Renegades
The owners of the XFL's best record, D.C. (9-1) won another nail-biter this past weekend, beating the San Antonio Brahmas 29-28.
The Brahmas' loss knocked them out of playoff contention, which means the Arlington Renegades are in -- despite a 4-6 record and allowing more points than they'd scored after losing on Sunday. The Renegades and Roughnecks not only played in the regular-season finale for each team on Sunday (the Roughnecks won 25-9), they'll also match up again in the playoffs next Saturday in the South Division championship -- in case you'd like to watch some football as the third and final day of the NFL Draft comes to a close.
A look at who's out
- Las Vegas Vipers
- Orlando Guardians
- San Antonio Brahmas
- St. Louis Battlehawks
The Vipers couldn't play spoiler against the Sea Dragons on Sunday night, but Vegas was more competitive during the second half of the season. Rod Woodson's team picked up its second win over the season in convincing fashion over the Brahmas back in Week 7, and followed up that performance with close losses against St. Louis and Houston.
The Battlehawks led the league in attendance, showing that St. Louis certainly still wants a football team. Of their three losses this season, two came against the D.C. Defenders, and one against the Sea Dragons.