Drilling Down: 5 Observations from Roughnecks 23-14 victory over the Arlington Renegades

Feb 26, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Roughnecks defensive back Ajene Harris (3) celebrates his interception against the Arlington Renegades in the first quarter at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Drilling Down: 5 Observations from Roughnecks 23-14 victory over the Arlington Renegades

It was far from a masterpiece for the Houston Roughnecks, but a dominant defensive effort allowed them to overcome mistakes and a spotty offensive performance to improve to 2-0 with a 23-14 victory over the Arlington Renegades. Here are our 5 observations from the Roughnecks’ win.

Brandon Silvers had a rough game: Silvers was off-target all night long. Overthrowing open receivers, underthrowing tight window throws, and sometimes he even threw the ball to open grass. After showing a good connection with his receivers a week ago, that connection was frayed this week at best. Silvers entered the fourth quarter 9-for-22 for 104 yards and finished the game 14-for-28 for 173 yards. A solid fourth quarter made his performance look a lot better than it actually was. This offense will only go as far as he can take them; that wasn’t far tonight. Fortunately, the defense was tremendous.

Ball security was a major problem: Will Likely fumbled on two different punt returns, setting up Arlington’s first two scores. Deontay Burnett had a costly fumble late in the first half at the Renegades 11 that cost the Roughnecks a shot to at least tie the game at 14 before the half, if not take the lead. Everything the Renegades put on the board for the entire game was gift-wrapped to them by the Roughnecks. No fumbles; this is a shutout.

The Roughnecks’ pass rush is still for real: Houston generated strong pressure on Drew Plitt and found themselves in the backfield quite a bit. The Roughnecks’ offense may be touch-and-go, but the defense, especially the pressure they generate on the opposing quarterback, appears to be very real. The Roughnecks had a more balanced pass rush in this game, with six different players getting credit for their five total sacks. Houston also racked up a stunning 11 tackles for loss, with Trent Harris, Emmanuel Ellerbe, and John Daka all chipping in two apiece. The Roughnecks also forced three turnovers. Houston looks like it has the league’s best defense.

Kicking miscues must be corrected: It is really inconceivable that a kickoff wouldn’t reach the opposing 20-yard line, yet that happened for the Roughnecks Sunday night. When the kickoff fails to reach the opposing 20, the opposing team gets first-and-10 at the opposition 45-yard line. Those are critical mistakes that are just unacceptable. A couple of very short punts resulted in excellent field position for the Renegades as well. This was not a bad-weather game. These are mistakes that can’t continue.

The refs mostly let them play: If you are looking for a holding penalty, a horse-collar tackle, or an illegal hands-to-the-face call, don’t hold your breath. If you think NFL refs are too picky with ticky-tack fouls, they are exactly the opposite in the XFL. Clear holds get ignored, a clear horse-collar tackle in front of two officials means nothing. Hits that would generate defenseless receiver or personal foul penalties are perfectly acceptable in the XFL so far. The refs mostly stay out of it unless it’s really blatant.

Related Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *