The combination of Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker and wide receiver Cam Phillips proved to be too much to handle for the Battlehawks on Sunday, as St. Louis’ new XFL franchise fell 28-24 to Houston at TDECU Stadium.
Walker threw for 170 yards and three touchdowns, all to Phillips, on 20-of-31 passing. James Butler also scored a 1-yard touchdown for the Roughnecks, who improved to 2-0 and are one of only two remaining unbeaten XFL teams. Phillips’ first TD gave the Roughnecks a 9-6 lead at 3:14 in the first quarter, and they didn’t trail the rest of the way.
St. Louis fell to 1-1 with its first loss in team history. L’Damian Washington caught a 36-yard touchdown pass that put the BattleHawks within a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but Houston managed to hang onto the ball for the final 1:41 and did not give St. Louis another chance to score.
QB Jordan Ta’Amu had a strong game for the BattleHawks, completing 30 of 37 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns while running eight times for 32 yards, including a 4-yard rushing TD. However, he also threw two interceptions that proved crucial in the Roughnecks’ victory.
In the second quarter, Ta’Amu threw a pick that safety Cody Brown returned 50 yards, putting Houston on the St. Louis 1-yard line and setting up an easy touchdown for Butler. With the BattleHawks down 21-18 early in the fourth quarter, Ta’Amu threw another interception that Jeremiah Johnson took back to the BattleHawks 6-yard line, creating an opportunity for Walker and Phillips to connect for their third touchdown.
Washington caught six passes for 77 yards, while D’Mornay Pierson-El had a team-high nine receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown. Matt Jones ran 16 times for 44 yards and caught a 25-yard touchdown pass.
The BattleHawks host the New York Guardians next Sunday at The Dome at America’s Center for their first home game in franchise history.