XFL: DC Defenders stage 2nd half rally to stun Seattle Sea Dragons

The XFL wound up the first weekend of action as the D.C. Defenders rallied from 10 points down midway through the third quarter to defeat the Seattle Sea Dragons 22-28.

Michael Joseph picked off two passes for the Defenders (1-0) to turn around a game the Sea Dragons had been controlling, returning one for a 15-yard touchdown to bring the Defenders within 18-16, then picking off Seattle quarterback Ben DiNucci at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Joseph’s second pick set D.C. up at the Sea Dragons 14, with D’Eriq King putting the Defenders ahead two plays later on a 5-yard touchdown run. D.C. then held Seattle on the final drive, recovering a DiNucci fumble at the D.C. 4-yard line with 19 seconds left.

Defenders RB D’Eriq King celebrating TD

The Sea Dragons were rolling early, scoring on their first two drives to take a 9-0 lead. DiNucci ended the first drive with a 6-yard, backhanded flick to receiver Josh Gordon — a former All-Pro with the Cleveland Browns — for a touchdown. DiNucci threw for 282 yards on 35-of-54 passing, while Gordon hauled in six catches for 74 yards.

The Sea Dragons’ lead grew to 18-8 in the third quarter on a 13-yard touchdown run by Brenden Knox and corresponding 3-point conversion run by DiNucci. But that’s when the D.C. crowd started to make its presence felt.

The Defenders won despite gaining only 175 yards on offense. They forced three turnovers, the two interceptions by Joseph and the late fumble recovery by defensive lineman Jamal Brooks.

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