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Battlehawks' Matchup with Brahmas Headlined by Explosive Offenses

With two of the top three scoring offenses dueling off, Sunday’s matchup between the St. Louis Battlehawks and (1-1) and the San Antonio Brahmas (2-0) should have no shortage of entertainment. 

Both the Brahmas and the Battlehawks are coming off thrilling victories that came down to the wire. The Battlehawks defeated the Arlington Renegades on a field-goal in a 27-14 win. The Brahmas completed a seven-play, 72-yard drive to score a touchdown in the final seconds to defeat the Memphis Showboats. This Saturday, the two teams will meet at the Alamodome, looking to continue their momentum from last week.

Both teams have been led by outstanding quarterback play thus far. Chase Garbers for San Antonio currently leads the league with six touchdowns, with St. Louis’ A.J McCarron right behind him with five. McCarron, a NFL veteran, currently leads the league with 464 passing yards with Garbers third with 443.

Garbers has been one of the surprises of the UFL’s inaugural season. The former Cal Bear spent the 2022 and 2023 seasons on the Las Vegas Raiders before signing with the Brahmas in January. Garbers can make just about every throw but his release is not the strongest, causing some of his throws to float in the air for an uncomfortable amount of time. In the win against Memphis last week, he showed off an impressive ability to throw on the run. The game-winning touchdown came on a shortstop-esque throw from him while being chased by a defender. 

The Brahmas as a whole have also been a surprise through two weeks of the season. San Antonio, coached by long-time NFL defensive coordinator Wade Philips, have been underdogs in both of their wins. Ahead of the season, the Brahmas had the lowest odds on DraftKings to win the league championship. The undefeated start to the season has made the Brahmas jump to third at +450.

The Brahmas finished 3-7 in 2023 but underwent serious renovations this offseason. Along with Garber, the team also signed running back Anthony McFarland. The speedy running back has only rushed for 53 yards on 14 attempts but is a constant threat in the receiving and returning game. He showed off his elusivity when he took a screen pass 35-yards to the endzone in week 1.

The Brahmas also signed one of the best receivers in the league this offseason in Marquez Stevenson. The former sixth-round NFL Draft pick to the Buffalo Bills has incredible breakaway speed. He is second in the league, behind only St. Louis’ Marcell Ateman, with 143 receiving yards. 

The Battlehawks’ offense should bring the same excitement to Sunday’s matchup. McCarron has not taken any step down from his form in 2023 that earned him XFL MVP. Coach Anthony Becht would likely prefer some more consistency from him but when the Battlehawks have needed him the most, he has risen to the occasion.

McCarron’s favorite weapon so far this season has been Ateman. Leading the league in both receiving yards and touchdowns, Ateman is a weapon over the middle of the field with his speed but also uses his 6-foot-4 length to make catches over defenders on the sideline. 

While the Battlehawks’ receiving corps also features Hakeem Butler and Darrius Shepherd, the team learned last week the offense thrives when an effective run game is mixed in. Running back Mataeo Durant rushed for 104 yards on 14 attempts and one touchdown. Despite being inactive for week 1, his performance at week 2 puts him at third in the league for rushing yards.

The St. Louis' offense struggled early on last week, failing to score on each of their first two drives where Durant only received two carries. He broke off a 16-yard carry on the Battlehawks’ third drive, which ended with a touchdown. Once Durant became more involved with the offense, the Battlehawks scored on all but one of their final seven drives.

The Battlehawks and Brahmas will both have to bring their high-scoring offensive attacks to Sunday’s matchup. Even though it's only week 3 of 10, the two have quickly established themselves as front runners for the XFL division. They will face each other again in the final week of the season in St. Louis. 

The line for this game is currently set at 42.5 with the Battlehawks as one-point favorites. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. central with the broadcast on ABC. 

Cover Image Via: Ronald Cortes / Getty Images

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