ARLINGTON – In a matchup of the XFL’s top passing team in Seattle and the league’s 2nd-best defense in Arlington, it was the Sea Dragons’ offense proving to be too much for the Renegades in a 24-15 loss Friday night at Choctaw Stadium.
As a team, Arlington established season highs on the offensive side in both passing (215) and rushing (124) yards, but the Renegades gave up season highs on the defensive end in passing (256) and rushing (115) yards, in addition to equaling a season-most points allowed and not forcing Seattle into a single punt.
Arlington RB De’Veon Smith rushed for a season-high two touchdowns and a year-best 61 yards, and QB Drew Plitt threw for a season-most 213 yards on 19-of-29 completions. But, Seattle QB Ben DiNucci delivered 266 passing yards and rushed for another 52 yards in leading the Sea Dragons to their fifth-straight win after opening the season 0-2.
A pair of 1st-quarter field goals by Seattle K Dominik Eberle (44 yards at 9:27) and Arlington K Taylor Russolino (36 yards at 1:43) made it a 3-3 contest after 15 minutes. Eberle made a 33-yard field goal at 12:18 of the 2nd quarter, and following an interception by CB Qwynnterrio Cole, Seattle got the ball right back.
The Sea Dragons marched 57 yards on three plays, punching in the game’s first touchdown at the 5-minute juncture on a 3-yard rush by RB Darius Bradwell – who then delivered the one-point conversion on a 1-yard run to put Seattle in front, 13-3.
Arlington responded with a nine-play, 72-yard drive in just under four minutes that was capped by a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Smith at the 1:01 mark of the 2nd quarter to make it 13-9 (one-point conversion failed).
However, Seattle got that score right back on a 24-yard passing touchdown from DiNucci to WR Josh Gordon with 8 seconds to play in the half. A two-point conversion from 5 yards out created a 21-9 halftime lead for the Sea Dragons.
After Arlington’s drive to open the 3rd quarter stalled out on downs at the Seattle 11-yard line, the Sea Dragons appeared poised to deliver a knockout punch, but DiNucci was intercepted by DB Will Hill in the endzone and returned 31 yards with just over a minute remaining in the stanza.
The Renegades were unable to capitalize on the offensive end, however, and Eberle kicked his third field goal of the night on a 48-yarder with 6:45 left in the contest to forge ahead, 24-9. Smith added his second TD of the contest on a 2-yard rush with 2:17 to play, but a failed two-point conversion try from the 5-yard line kept it a two-possession game, 24-15, and Seattle ran out the clock.
Arlington now heads on the road for a contest at the Orlando Guardians next Saturday, Apr. 8, at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN. It will be the first of two-straight on the road for the Renegades before they conclude the regular season at home versus the Houston Roughnecks (Apr. 23 at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN).