Roughnecks Remain Undefeated with Win Over Seattle

P.J. Walker (left) was masterful again in the win over the Dragons.
P.J. Walker (left) was masterful again in the win over the Dragons. Photo by Jack Gorman
Down twice to the Seattle Dragons and struggling with three turnovers, Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker did what he has been doing all season. He stepped up and got the ball to Cam Philips. Walker finished with 357 yards and three touchdowns, two to Phillips who also had 10 catches for 122 yards, and the Roughnecks erased a deficit to win their fifth straight 32-28.

Walker and Phillips have become the league's most dynamic duo with nine touchdowns. Phillips leads the league with 455 yards receiving. The most important of those nine touchdowns came in the fourth quarter when the Roughnecks finally took the lead over a struggling Dragons squad.

The game was not without controversy, however. As the clock was ticking down in the fourth quarter with the Roughnecks in victory formation, it appeared that Walker kneeled down with two seconds remaining on fourth down at their own 21 yard line. Replays revealed that to be the case. Because the XFL stops the clock on change of possessions, the Dragons should have had the ball at the 21, down nine with two seconds left. Instead, the officials called the game and everyone left the field.

Because the XFL has three-point extra point plays, it is possible (though unlikely) the Dragons could have tied the game had they been given the opportunity.

Announcers in the TV booth questioned the call and even asked the booth official about it. He said the game was over even though it appeared to be the wrong call. After the game, the league admitted the mistake and said the game's supervising official had been reassigned.

By that point in the game, the Roughnecks had clearly taken hold of the momentum and that kept them undefeated halfway through their inaugural season. With Walker and Phillips, and a defense that has been rather stingy, it appears the team is well positioned for the rest of the season, blown calls notwithstanding.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke