Only two weeks remain in the regular season, and this week brought all the excitement.
The St. Louis Battlehawks and the Vegas Vipers faced off in the first overtime game of the 2023 XFL season, going wire-to-wire until the end.
The Saturday slate also ended two teams' postseason aspirations. The Vipers and Orlando Guardians were eliminated from playoff contention.
The Houston Roughnecks headed west to take on the San Antonio Brahmas, looking to bounce back after last week's loss to the Battlehawks. The Roughnecks not only left Alamo City with an overtime victory, but they also left with their ticket punched to the 2023 playoffs. However, that win did not come without a fight.
The DC Defenders just narrowly beat the Seattle Sea Dragons to claim their spot in the 2023 playoffs.
All the best highlights from Week 8 are below.
Every XFL game will be streamed live on ESPN+ and are available on the ESPN family of networks (ABC, ESPN and FX).
Recaps | Best Plays
Tweets | Quotes
This weekend's games
St. Louis Battlehawks 21, Vegas Vipers 17 (OT)
Saturday's overtime game didn't disappoint.
The Vipers struck first with running back John Lovetts' 5-yard touchdown and wide receiver Martavis Bryant's two-point conversion that gave Vegas the 8-0 lead. A back-and-forth defensive battle kept the game in Vegas' hands going into the second quarter.
After the Vipers added a field goal to their lead, St. Louis finally answered back with a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Tiano -- starting in place of an injured AJ McCarron. He would go on to finish his first start of the season going 19-for-34 with 194 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. After a silent third quarter, both teams exchanged touchdowns in the fourth quarter to draw the score to 17-14. The best play of the day came in the Battlehawks' answering touchdown. Take a look:
The Battlehawks execute a perfect trick play as Gary Jennings races home for a 64-yard touchdown.
Unlucky for the Vipers' which had looked to be on upset alert, the Battlehawks refused to back down. St. Louis tied the game with a 34-yard field with 15 seconds left to bring the game to the XFL's first overtime. Overtime consists of alternating attempts from the opponent's 5-yard line. Each team will have three attempts -- or until the winner is decided -- to score two points per score. The Battlehawks kept the momentum going, scoring twice to defeat the Vipers. Vegas was eliminated from postseason contention with the loss.
Arlington Renegades 18, Orlando Guardians 16
The Renegades snapped their two-game losing streak with the victory, while the Guardians were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
Arlington got on the board first with a field goal. Taking note, Orlando responded with one, too, to make the game 6-6. The night's first touchdown was brought to you by cornerback De'Vante Bausby's 48-yard fumble return, which marked the team's third defensive touchdown this season, tied with the Defenders for the league lead.
After the Renegades added another field goal to the score, the Guardians' first touchdown came just before halftime. Quarterback Quinten Dormady powered through Arlington's defensive line for a 2-yard rushing touchdown to close out the first half.
The next two quarters were all about the defense, as both offenses posted only two scores for the rest of the game. After the Renegades' late-third-quarter touchdown that brought their lead to 18-9, it looked like the Guardians were out of the match. But if you watched last week's showdown, you should know that Orlando never gives up.
The Guardians pulled close with Dormady taking the offense downfield again, ending the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eli Rogers. However, a costly fumble by Dormady after getting the ball back with 41 seconds left sealed the game for the Renegades.
Quinten Dormady looks to get the Guardians within field goal range on the final drive, but he coughs the ball up and the Renegades hang on 18-16.
Houston Roughnecks 17, San Antonio Brahmas 15 (OT)
This weekend brought not one but two exciting overtime games.
After losing to the Roughnecks in Week 3, the Brahmas sought revenge on their home field and almost completed the upset. Houston grabbed the early lead with quarterback Brandon Silvers' 3-yard touchdown to wide receiver Deontay Burnett to close out the 12-play, 70-yard drive. The Brahmas followed the score with a 26-yard field goal by kicker John "Mr. Automatic" Romo, bringing the score to 6-3.
The second quarter was a quiet field goal battle, with Romo tying up the game with another field goal for 42 yards. Houston kicker Austin Jones made a 41-yard field goal to give the Roughnecks the halftime lead.
After Roughneck's defensive lineman Trevon Mason grabbed an interception in the first drive, Houston added another touchdown to its lead. The game seemed over with no scores from either team through the rest of the third and most of the fourth quarter. However, something ignited the Brahmas late in the game. San Antonio scored a touchdown and field goal within the last minute to tie the game and bring on the second overtime of the weekend. However, Houston hung on for the win and bragging rights.
The Roughnecks get the only conversion in overtime and stop the Brahmas late to lock up a playoff berth.
DC Defenders 34, Seattle Sea Dragons 33
How can you not love the XFL? The final game of the weekend was yet another thriller. But this time, it was all about the quarterback play.
Defenders' quarterback Jordan Ta'amu threw four passing touchdowns, which were the most without an interception in a single game in the XFL this season. Meanwhile, Sea Dragons' signal-caller Ben DiNucci became the first player with 2,000 passing yards this season.
After punting away their first possession, the Defenders got things started on the next by scoring a 2-yard rushing touchdown by running back Abram Smith. The Sea Dragons struck back in the second quarter and scored their first touchdown of the night. However, Ta'amu was not done yet, connecting with running back Ryquell Armstead for an 11-yard touchdown to take the lead at halftime.
Both teams swapped scores until the game's final moments. Seattle went down the field and scored with just over 30 seconds left on the clock to bring DC's lead down to one, 34-33. Looking to avoid overtime, Seattle opted to go for two but missed. With one final shot to prove themselves, Seattle went for the onside kick but again failed to secure the upset. DC clinched home-field advantage in North Division Championship with the victory.
Jahcour Pearson snags the touchdown catch for the Sea Dragons, but they fall short as they can't convert on a 2-point attempt.
Hill for the win
Battlehawks running back and St. Louis native Brian Hill squeezed into the endzone for the game-sealing score in overtime.
THE HOMETOWN KID FOR THE WIN pic.twitter.com/W5QjileJvB— St. Louis Battlehawks (@XFLBattlehawks) April 8, 2023
Not on Powell's watch
Renegades safety Joe Powell snatches this interception.
POWELL WITH THE INTERCEPTION 😤 pic.twitter.com/bUjsxT7DUv— Arlington Renegades (@XFLRenegades) April 8, 2023
Did you see that?
Vipers cornerback Marwin Evans picks off the Battlehawks in the endzone.
Marwin Evans said "I'll take that." 👀 @XFLVipers | #XFL pic.twitter.com/qBnSDvXXdF— XFL (@XFL2023) April 8, 2023
Mr. Automatic is his nickname for a reason.
With this kick, Brahmas kicker Parker Romo moved to 9-of-9 on field goal attempts since Week 1.
After another automatic FG by @Romo_HKA, score is 6-6! We're tied baby! #XFL2023 | #HornsForward pic.twitter.com/RXdVcVYsVP— San Antonio Brahmas (@XFLBrahmas) April 9, 2023
The throw. The catch. The touchdown.
Juwan Green kept the Sea Dragons in it with this score.
Juwan Green takes it to the house for the 56-yard touchdown as the Sea Dragons cut it to 28-27 after the successful 3-point conversion.
You heard the Battlehawks
The St. Louis Battlehawks have now brought out the three biggest crowds in XFL history.
🗣️ ST. LOUIS IS A FOOTBALL TOWN https://t.co/BIq5tY53ve— St. Louis Battlehawks (@XFLBattlehawks) April 9, 2023
The Battlehawks take to Twitter to troll the Vipers
Wait, that shape is kind of familiar...
Finally figured it out! Thanks for the insight, dangle fangles. https://t.co/pECNHeTih8 pic.twitter.com/4pKcbPwhcE— St. Louis Battlehawks (@XFLBattlehawks) April 8, 2023
It was a party in San Antonio
Kameron Kelly was feeling all the post-interception vibes.
Post interception vibes!— San Antonio Brahmas (@XFLBrahmas) April 9, 2023
Down but not out 6-15 but we're in the redzone! #XFL2023 | #HornsForward pic.twitter.com/aSu7NSleuS
Defenders Fam here in Seattle 🤝#DefendDC | #XFL2023 pic.twitter.com/bqXt9rmJ8L— D.C. Defenders (@XFLDefenders) April 9, 2023
"We'll take a 'W' when its a 'W'."
Listen in on coach Anthony Becht's postgame speech following the Battlehawks dub.
We played for each other and we found a way to win. pic.twitter.com/RSZZLBhI7J— St. Louis Battlehawks (@XFLBattlehawks) April 8, 2023
"Love what you do, do what you love."
The Sea Dragons went into Sunday night's game full of positivity.
Pre-Game Thoughts 💭 #XFL2023 | #BreatheFire pic.twitter.com/8xUl1ZVCGB— Seattle Sea Dragons (@XFLSeaDragons) April 9, 2023