The XFL was relaunched this week with four games spread between Saturday and Sunday. This weekend was the culmination of a seemingly endless two years of planning done by WWE owner Vince McMahon and XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck. With new rules, a faster tempo, and a national television deal, the league looked to make a good first impression. And it did just that, and then some. Reviews from the first games were overwhelmingly positive. The atmosphere at Audi Field in DC was electric. A lot of people seemed pumped for the new, football focused iteration of the XFL.
With the first week in the books, let’s take a look at the biggest stars of the week on offense, defense, and special teams.\
Offensive Star of the Week: Houston Roughnecks QB P.J. Walker
One of the lesser known quarterbacks headed into this season, P.J. Walker definitely stood out to fans once the dust settled on the Houston Roughnecks 37-17 victory over the Los Angeles Wildcats. Walker finished throwing 23 completions for 272 yards and four touchdown passes to one interception while also carrying the ball four times, picking up 26 yards and another touchdown.
Walker beat out former Michigan State standout Connor Cook in training camp, and showed why head coach June Jones made the correct decision. Walker and the Roughnecks offense took the game over in the second half, bullying their way to the organization’s first win. Houston will stay at home next week as the also undefeated St. Louis Battlehawks come in to town.
Defensive Star of the Week: New York Guardians DL Bunmi Rotimi
There weren’t too many players who stood out defensively this week, and that also went for New Guardians defensive lineman Bunmi Rotimi. Rotimi finished with nine tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble as the Guardians took care of the Tampa Bay Vipers 23-3. There were a couple of defensive stalwarts to choose from in this game, but Rotimi’s under-the-radar performance was enough to shine through this week.
Despite the Vipers outgaining the Guardians in this game, the New York defense seemed to be absolutely suffocating at times. This really could go to the entire New York defense as a whole, as they put pressure on Vipers QB Aaron Murray early and often, never looking back. This unit will travel to Audi Field in DC next week for what should be a very entertaining matchup against the DC Defenders.
Special Teams Star of the Week: Ty Rausa, K, DC Defenders
While the internet certainly wanted PFT Commenter out there kicking for the DC Defenders, it was Ty Rausa who came away with the job. He scored the first points in XFL history — a 34 yard field goal — and also knocked through a 55 yard field goal as time expired in the first half. His performance aided a 31-19 win for the hometown Defenders over the Seattle Dragons.
Rausa also missed a field goal from 35 yards out, but it didn’t matter at the end of the day. Rausa watched as his defense picked up two scores, one on a blocked punt in the end zone, the other being a pick 6 by Brandon Sylve in the fourth quarter to seal the deal. As previously mentioned, the Defenders will stay at home in Week Two, welcoming the also undefeated New York Guardians.
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