The DC Defenders offense had a rough start in their game against the Vegas Vipers. By halftime, the score was just 6-0, with the Vipers in the lead. While the rain was a huge factor in this game, the 2023 Defenders offense also struggled in week one against the Seattle Sea Dragons. The Defenders defeated the Vipers 18-6, moving on to a 2-0 record. After a huge shift in the second half, have the Defenders offense finally found the spark they needed?
2023 Defenders Offense
Last weekend the Defenders did score two offensive touchdowns but had a slow start. This week it felt as though it was going to be another defense-first game until there was a shift in the second half. After going scoreless in the first half, the offense put up 16 points in the second half. A large part of the difference was the quarterback switch. Starter, Jordan Ta’amu completed 11 passes out of 23 attempts, for 93 yards before being pulled out of the game, according to the XFL’s website. D’Eriq King entered the game in the second half, and everything changed.
King’s biggest strength is his run game. With the heavy rain, the team had to rely on the run, and King took the advantage of that. King rushed the ball just four times for 32 yards and one touchdown, according to the XFL’s website. He did not pass the ball often, but when he did it was for the two-point conversion to the tight end, Ethan Wolf.
The two running backs on the Defenders offense, Abram Smith and Ryquell Armstead, also took a huge stride this week. Smith rushed the ball 11 times for 71 yards and one touchdown, while Armstead rushed the ball 15 times for 58 yards, according to the XFL Website. Considering the Vipers defense expected DC to rush the ball, the Defenders did an excellent job breaking tackles and striving for extra yards. The added aspect of the defense watching for King to rush is also an added component the team was able to use.
2023 Defenders Offense Remaining Questions
While the rushing game was figured out, the team still could not fix the passing game. It is no secret that the rain throughout the game made the passing game a lot harder. But in week three, the Defenders will face the 2-0 St. Louis Battlehawks. There will not be a lot of room to struggle with passing the ball. There will also be a debate on which quarterback will start. Ta’amu has been the one who the team relies on to pass, but King came in and got the team the win.
Expect the Defenders offense to rotate quarterbacks next weekend as they fight to remain undefeated. As for now, it seems the offense has found the spark they needed and will hope to keep that going.
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