top of page

St. Louis Battlehawks Dominate D.C. Defenders in 33-Point Win Despite Key Offensive Injuries

The over/under for the St. Louis Battlehawks' week 5 game against the D.C. Defenders. St. Louis was two points shy of surpassing that by themselves.

The story of St. Louis' 45-12 win over the Defenders in week 5 was the defense putting the offense in a great position to score. It's the Battlehawks' fourth straight win and the largest margin of victory in the UFL season. It is the first time that the Defenders have ever lost a home game.

Coming into Sunday's game, the St. Louis defense had only caused four turnovers on the season. They doubled their season tally against the Defenders, two of which came on the first three drives of the game.

On the Defenders' first drive of the game, Ta'amu faced heavy pressure by Travis Feeney on a third down. The pressure caused Ta'amu to throw a misguided, floundering pass right into the hands of Brandon Sebastian.

The easy interception allowed the Battlehawks to score their first touchdown. Quarterback A.J. McCarron methodically led St. Louis down the field on a seven-play, 44-yard drive that ended with Hakeem Butler reeling in a 13-yard touchdown reception over the middle of the field.

Butler performed best in his two years as a Battlehawk, reeling in six receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Butler 'Mossed'a defensive back on a catch in the fourth quarter that Butler added 50 yards to after the catch to make it an 80-yard touchdown to make the St. Louis lead 32-12 with nine minutes remaining. 40 members of Butler's family made the short trip from Baltimore to watch his elite performance in person.

After Butler's first touchdown, though, the St. Louis offense slowed down, but its defense remained lights out.

The first four drives for the Defenders ended with an interception, a blocked punt, an interception, and a punt. The Defenders gained a net zero yards until the 8:03 mark in the second quarter. 

Excellent performances from their defense and special teams allowed the St. Louis offense to start each of their first drives within D.C. territory. But the Battlehawks only came away with 17 points on those five possessions, only a two-possession lead. The Defenders were able to put constant pressure on A.J. McCarron.

The offense’s struggles are partially due to multiple injuries and inactive players. Offensive tackle Teton Saltes was out with an injury, and guard Vadal Alexander suffered an injury in the first half. Alexander had to return in the fourth quarter because St. Louis ran out of healthy, active offensive linemen after guard Steven Gonzalez was injured.

Additionally, receiver and returner Darrius Shepherd was inactive for this game (no reason was provided). Running back Mataeo Durant was also placed on injured reserve this week and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

Eventually, the Defenders’ offense woke up. On their fifth drive midway through the second quarter, quarterback Jordan Ta’amu led the offense on a 10-play, 45-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown from running back Cam'Ron Harris. The next drive, Kelvin Harmon would score a 15-yard touchdown shortly before halftime.

But those quick two touchdowns were the only score the Defenders were able to find. A field goal near the end of the third quarter from the Battlehawks was the only third-quarter score. But the Battlehawks' defense and special teams played nearly flawlessly in the fourth quarter, coming away with two interceptions and a blocked punt that led to 20 points in the final quarter.

Despite D.C. running six more plays than St. Louis (56, 50), the Defenders gained 112 less yards than the Battlehawks (161, 273). Sebastian, linebacker Mike Rose, and defensive back Kameron Kelly all came away with one interception. Taumoepenu recorded two sacks and one forced fumble.

The win puts St. Louis first in the XFL division with a tiebreaker over the San Antonio Brahmas. The Battlehawks will return to The Dome in St. Louis next week to host the 1-4 Houston Roughnecks of the USFL division. Their toughest and arguably most crucial match of the season will come in week 7 when they travel to Birmingham to take on the championship-favorite Stallions.

Cover Image via: Greg Fiume/UFL/Getty Images

404 views0 comments


bottom of page